If you’re looking for a beer in Bondi then it’s hard to beat the ground floor of Ravesis: it’s located opposite the beach, has large panoramic windows for people watching and features so many attractive patrons (provided you have a fetish for fair hair, fair skin and fake tans) that you may not even want to look outside. Yet if you want cocktails and a splash of elegance then you’re better off going upstairs to Drift.
Inspired by Giorgio Armani’s luxury yacht (the Mariu), Drift’s décor involves dark wooden paneling and banquettes along the wall with beige cushioned walls, giving it a Great Gatsby-type feel that suits the jazz and lounge music playing on the sound system. There’s also a long balcony for the smokers.
All the cocktails here are $17 and despite priding myself on being a rough and ready kitten-taming man I must admit my favourite is the admittedly girly-sounding Ginger Rogers, made from ginger and orange shaken with Belvedere Pomarancza vodka, citrus marmalade and fresh lemon juice. The ginger’s sharpness goes well with the tang of the marmalade, making it the best cocktail I’ve drunk in weeks.
Both the Italiano Sour (Campari, peach liqueur, egg white, orange and pink grapefruit) and the Pear and Cinnamon Sour (muddled nashi pear, grey goose vodka, Cointreau and lemon juice) were also great and not as tart as a lot of sours often are (the Pear and Cinnamon Sour is actually quite sweet).
Those seeking a caffeine hit might like the Day of the Dead Margarita, which is made from Patron XO coffee-infused tequila shaken with Grand Marnier and espresso with a bit of sugar. Dark and rich both in colour and flavour, this doesn’t taste or look anything like a margarita but it does pack a punch (and gives me the idea of adding tequila to my morning coffee to help me ease into the day).
Ravesis has a separate formal restaurant to dine in but you can also order food in the bar. We opt for oysters served with wakame seaweed and soy olive oil (four for $16 – my seasoned companion suggests I eat the oysters in one swallow to avoid having green teeth afterwards) and the barmaid/waitress/hostess (is there a better term to use?) recommends the duck pancakes with shallot and hoi sin sauce ($18).
The duck pancakes are served so you can roll your own, with a generous amount of duck (which is succulent enough to eat on its own) along with cucumber strips to vary the taste and texture. This is large enough for two people to easily share, as is the Hiramasa Kingfish sashimi with citrus dressing ($18). This is nice but, being old fashioned, I must admit I find myself yearning for some wasabi and soy sauce to give it bite.
The menu also features gourmet pizzas, pasta, salads, and mains that include beef tenderloin, venison and spatchcock. In fact, it’s the longest menu we’ve seen in a while.
Ravesis was named Hotel Bar of the Year in 2008 by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and it’s easy to see why as it ticks all the boxes. If you want the Bondi experience without the backpackers then this is certainly worth a look.
Drift at Ravesis, Corner of Campbell Parade and Hall St, Bondi Beach. Phone 9365 4422, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see the Ravesis website Drift is open Monday to Friday 6pm to 1am; Saturday 2pm to 1am, Sunday 2pm to 12am; and for private bookings of up to 150 guests.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Drift at Ravesis?