The Hare and The Tortoise sets a really bad example for people with appetites.
For ages and ages, I’d been meaning to table-hop to Sobo in Bondi. I was especially tempted by their Breakfast Tasting Plate for Two, which dished up blueberry pancakes with eggs, corn fritters and more – a bonus when menus are so segregated along the sweet-savoury divide, forcing you to loyally choose a side (unless you’re cashed up to indulge in various picks from whatever flavour camp you like).
In my unthought-through mind, I kept putting it off because I always thought Sobo would be eternally packed (it is in popular beachfront Bondi and ranked in Good Living’s Top 10 Breakfast Joints in Sydney list) and assumed we’d be too unstylish to ever get a non-designer-shoe in the door. (Stupidly, it never occurred to me to make a booking. I guess I dumbly assumed it would be one of those ubercool places that are too snobby to save seats for anyone.)
Anyway, by the time we shrugged off our hopelessness and got our act together, we did go to Sobo and enjoyed it a lot (and the Bondi-style pricetags didn’t sting us, as we treated to the meal by a hugely kind friend).
As latecomers, the only remnant of the brekky menu left was the All Day Breakfast: Two Eggs Any Style, Bacon, Tomato, Sausage, Mushroom, Spinach, Avocado and Hash Brown ($19), which didn’t have the sweet-savoury powersharing appeal of the Tasting Plate I’d thought about so much. So I went for Field Mushroom and Herb Risotto with Bulgarian Fetta and Parmesan Crisp ($21), while everyone else riffed on the various small tasting plate choices (ranging from bruschetta to pasta to honey mustard chicken skewers with tarragon aioli). Being a spud loyalist, I couldn’t say no to the Chat Potatoes with Rosemary and Pink Murray Sea Salt ($8).
I also wished I had room for the dessert special – Raspberry and Milk Chocolate Mousse and Strawberry and Honeycomb ($12) – but carbs have a funny way of boarding up your stomach against more food.
As we left (a few of us a bit more blissed out on Peach Bellini than others!), we happily filed Sobo in some recess of our brains where we like to keep note of “Must Go Back Again” places. Which is sadly where this tale gets all moralistic in a wet-blanket fable-like way.
I read in today’s Good Living that Sobo has decided to close for winter due to a big decline in dinner bookings. “Co-owner Steve Wales says they’re taking time to decide whether Sobo will reopen,” the news item says. Wales adds, “Consumer spending is tight and rents aren’t easy on this strip… but there’s [a chance] we’ll open again”.
I guess the point is that life is short and so is the existence of restaurants. So maybe it’s not such a great idea to take a tortoise-like approach to dining out because by the time you get to the places you’d been meaning to, they might nearly be gone. (Although I’m sure I’m twisting Aesop’s intent slightly here, ‘cos the tortoise wasn’t so much a champion procrastinator or one for the delay-button – which I definitely was in this case – it just happened to be naturally slow.)
And if we’re going to continue mangling classic fables here, let’s hope Sobo comes out of this winter with ant-like promise, having prepared smartly for the bleak climate they knew they’d have to endure.
Sobo, 70a-b Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach (02) 9300 8898, www.sobo.com.au