It’s the same iconic view in a new wave for Icebergs as the famed Bondi diner reopens with theatrical iced seafood troughs, Sunday sunset parties and a brand-new private dining room.
Dec 13, 2022 8:45am
The renovations were led by Rome-based architecture firm Lazzarini Pickering Architetti, who designed the original Icebergs when owner Maurice Terzini and team opened back on 14 December, 2002.
Throughout the space, Icebergs’s signature blue hues remain. As you move from the bar to the dining room then out to the former terrace, the jewel like tones shift with the sea; cerulean accents, turquoise tones and teal tiled tabletops that bring the ocean in as if the restaurant is not just by the water but rather an extension of it. Every detail is immacutely planned.
“Icebergs is about the ocean, the beach, the sky, it’s about Sydney. We worked hard to respect that, to create a restaurant that takes a backseat to the view, with food and service that can do the same,” said Terzini in a statement. “Consequently, much work has gone into maintaining the DNA of Icebergs. The restoration is about caring for this restaurant, 20 years on.”
Much does remain the same, altough the circular chandelier-style lighting has been replaced in an Icebergs first to make way for new, sleeker light fixtures designed by Milan’s iGuzzini. While the kitchen has had a complete overhaul to evolve with the restaurant’s new chapter, boasting a more spaciously efficient fitout and induction stoves. The service stations have been redesigned, too, and are replete with wine cooler troughs that can accommodate magnums. Even the Icebergs uniforms have had a refresh by way of Lucy Hinckfuss; although the crisp white fits and old-school service live on.
But most notable is the new semi-enclosed space that’s replaced the former Icebergs Terrace. In past years, the Terrace was open to the elements and hosted collaborative bar pop-ups. Aptly renamed the Pacific Dining Room, the new-look space now has a roof and several retractable glass panes, making it more weather-friendly so those sweeping oceanic vistas can be enjoyed year-round. The Pacific Dining Room can also be booked for private functions, with its own private entrance, bathrooms and bar.
And while diners inevitably come for the beachside locale, the culinary offering doesn’t fall short. Across its impressive two-decade run, the Italian-leaning institution has seen many chefs cut their teeth in its kitchen — Karen Martini, Paul Wilson, Orazio D’Elia, Monty Koludrovic, Jaclyn Koludrovic and now head chef Alex Prichard. To say some of Sydney’s — if not Australia’s — top culinary talent have been behind the Icebergs pass is no overstatement.
Alex Prichard tells GT, “The reopening menu is a mixture of new and old. The brief for Icebergs has always been the same from Maurice [Terzini]: flavours his mother would recognise but the food she’d never cook. There’s a lot of freedom in that brief,” says Prichard.
The centre of the restaurant beholds a new iced seafood trough, from which lobsters from Kiama, yabbies, and tins of caviar are displayed in all their glory. The caviar service has been changed up to include pizzelle, which Prichard first tried at Terzini’s house, made by his mother.
“I said ‘these are incredible. We need to serve them with caviar!’ So it’s a beautiful thin wafer that has a tiny bit of sweetness. When you eat it with salty caviar and sourness from the cultured cream, it’s incredible.”
Pasta-wise, expect freshly extruded macaroni with a hunter’s ragú of squab, quail and amaro. Returning hits will include Prichard’s scarlet prawn crudo risotto with XO. “There’s not an Italian ingredient in it, but it tastes like Italy. The koshihikari rice is obviously not an Italian grain. But when you have arborio rice in Australia, it’s sat on a shipping container for 12 to 18 months. But this rice is milled to order for us up in Griffith, so you get an incredible flavour from it,” says Prichard. “The XO we make is halfway between a Chinese XO and a bagna cauda.”
As for drinks, you can expect a leaner wine list that champions Australian winermakers, coastal vineyards and Italian grape varieties. Icebergs bar director Matty Opai has created a smart, 20-strong cocktail list with a mix of old classics and new sips, too. There are on-trend cocktails like a Sbagliato and the Terzini Martini, garnished with lemon oil and pickle, alongside quaffable beverages such as the Bianco Spritz (gin, vermouth, suze, elderflower, cucumber, yuzu) and the Bondi Smash (vodka, elderflower, mint, lemon) that honour the venue’s beachside location.