Chef and surfer Guy Turland chose the site of the former Eastern Hotel, uphill from Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach, for his newest restaurant venture. Opened in late 2014 in a heritage-listed art deco pub complete with original floor and wall tiles, it is on the edge of one of the city’s busiest shopping malls. But inside, the restaurant is a world away from the harried, shopping-bag touting masses.
The long room features booths tucked beneath tall windows that let in the dappled Sydneyside sun through a row of plane trees. When MONOCLE visits, Turland is in the kitchen turning out colourful, healthy plates that include apple-and-kombucha (fermented tea) Bircher muesli. Regulars are ordering the popular breakfast smoothies: the Yollo – with yellow beets, turmeric, ginger, honey and apple – or the First Date, made on a base of coconut water to which avocado, frozen bananas and dates are added.
The restaurant grew from a series of online videos produced by Turland and business partner Mark Alston (pictured, Alston on left) under the name Bondi Harvest. A filmmaker by trade, Alston cooked up the project as an idea for a new food programme. “I was looking for a chef for a TV pilot; a chef who could really cook and who surfed,” he says. Turland certainly had the beach credentials; he swims, surfs, skindives, runs and competes in the odd triathlon. On the culinary side his apprenticeships at leading Sydney restaurants Est and Bondi Icebergs rounded off the bill.
Two and a half years on, the pair have honed Alston’s initial concept. By eschewing TV in favour of publishing videos online, the pair has produced more than 100 films to date while maintaining complete editorial control of their output. “We were really keen to keep the energy in the project,” says Alston, who produces, shoots and edits one video a week with Turland. Their weekly postings entice some 30,000 viewers, lured by lip-smacking recipes and the enviable beachside backdrop.
Between shooting and surfing, Turland runs the kitchen at Bondi Harvest as well as cooking for his mother, former Olympic sprinter Heather Turland, at her café Jo & Willy’s Depot in nearby North Bondi. “We opened it four and a half years ago with my family,” says Turland. “Mum is on the floor and my brother and sister are involved – but they mainly sit in the sun and drink lattes.”
Turland also spends time honing his recipes. With his background growing up on a farm outside Bowral, 117km from Sydney, his cooking is focused on traceable produce and he has built up valuable relationships with suppliers in and around his hometown.
Since arriving in Bondi, Turland has been exposed to fads ranging from raw foods to the Palaeo diet and cutting out sugar. He takes it all with a pinch of salt (if that’s allowed) but his cooking has evolved to be lower on heavy grains with a focus on fresh fruit and vegetables. “A surfing mate and I were talking one day about what food we’d happily eat every day of our lives,” he says. “We both came up with Nasi Goreng, a dish we eat a lot on surf trips to Indonesia.” Turland’s version replaces the traditional rice base with quinoa. “Prawns, chicken, egg and quinoa make it filling; protein is what you need for a long day in the surf.” bondiharvest.com