It only takes one Saturday walking around Bondi Beach to realise there really is no place as good for a coffee, or breakfast. Seems a bit odd doesn’t it? Bondi has at least half a dozen Cafes side by side in any one spot – countless cafe options – strangely though, they’re all irritatingly similar and lacking individuality. There’s just one that sits apart from the crowd.
Birichina defies the odds. Essentially just a small space in a wall, but from where you’ll be greeted by two relaxed, friendly, faces every time you order. That’s the first difference, and you only need to feel it first hand to realise it’s special.
Walking up to the more frequented spots in Bondi Beach it’s clear their trade is made up of servicing transient tourists; you’re nothing but a number that gets tapped into the system, ready to spit out a thoughtless latte. At Birichina, you’re a local who is treated like a friend. Your name remembered, your usual order remembered, and your business noticeably appreciated. Isn’t that a rare sensation these days?
Stand outs don’t stop there though; seating is a huge factor in selecting where I choose to dine or drink. Perhaps it’s from years as a single person, committed to enjoying outings without feeling self conscious about being a weirdo alone at a table.
I’m not sure why cafes in Bondi insist on sterile round tables with chairs you can’t wait to stand up from, positioned in proximity to one another than only exacerbates the ill fitting acoustics, and poor choice of sound system. Birichina has hit the jackpot with seating.
Two beautifully natural, wooden tables large enough that if you’re alone, you’ll neither nervously stand out, nor feel isolated, and similarly if you’re dining as a group, conversation somehow isn’t at the liberty of those around you.
Adding to the relaxed ambience, Birichina’s location is slightly off the Main Street (Campbell Parade) which can often be imposingly loud from noisy traffic, and a cooler temperature, catching the sea breeze. Lamrock Ave is a single lane, quiet street, enhancing Birichina’s intimate, neighbourhood vibe, while retaining spectacular sunrise views over Bondi Beach.
As if all that goodness jammed into one tiny cafe wasn’t enough; I’m not much of a foody, but when I do allow myself life’s little luxury I don’t want to spend $19 on a burnt piece of toast (that has been the case more than once elsewhere in Bondi). Birichina has steered clear of arrogant menu prices, and serve filling portions, packed with flavour. I recommend their avocado on toast served with a chai latte; both of these are by far the best in Bondi.
The only cafe I will miss from Bondi, and an exemplary example of what customers want, rather than what they are forced to accept.