“I was the guy who had the cream gun explode, trying to top the iced coffee.” Monty Koludrovic‘s early days in hospitality were “pretty calamitous”, but one triumph was ending up in the kitchen of The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay. It was a meal there, at age 12 (that he can still recap with incredible accuracy), that inspired him to pursue a career in restaurants.
Since 2014, Monty Koludrovic has overseen dishes at Icebergs Dining Room and he later became executive chef of Maurice Terzini’s other venues: The Dolphin, Scout, Bondi Beach Public Bar and Ciccia Bella. Besides introducing excellent dishes (like the Tokyo 7/11 sandwich at The Dolphin), he’s also played a role in the restaurant group’s collaborative events, like Aperitivo Hour, where Luke Burgess might turn The Dolphin’s wine room into a falafel house or Ben Shewry might DJ in a safari suit as his Attica team lay down snacks from his award-winning restaurant. There was also the pizzeria pop-up by Joe Beddia (who makes the best pizza in America, according to Bon Appétit magazine) at the Bondi Beach Public Bar and, most memorably, $1000 dinners for Good Food Month featuring Hiroyuki Sato, whose Hakkoku sushi restaurant in Tokyo has a six-month waiting list. (Despite the hefty pricetag, all six sessions sold out.) The Icebergs team built two custom sushi counters for the events and the restaurant’s seafood supplier said of the beachside location: “When you’re eating fish and you look at the fish’s home, the fish tastes alive.” Monty says, “We billed it as the world’s best sushi restaurant that day.”
Monty also recaps his memorable (and hilarious) time eating at the OG Hakkoku in Tokyo, which also involved an encounter with attendees of the vampire bar nearby. We talk about why the quality of food in Japan is so exceptional (“You’ve got 70-year-old sous-chefs over there and they’ll never be head chef unless their dad retires”).
We also discuss what’s next for Monty, now that he’s leaving the Icebergs group after six years, as well as his final Aperitivo Hour at The Dolphin which is on this Sunday, December 1: it’s Monty’s Last Supper, featuring Clayton Wells, Dan Hong, O Tama Carey, Mat Lindsay and The Venezuelans (who are copywriters and baristas who were such regulars that they ended up doing their own Aperitivo Hour after the Attica guest slot). It’s on from 5-10pm, see you there!
You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or download it via RSS or directly (or just hit the ‘play’ button above)! You can also find it on Stitcher and Google Podcasts nowadays. XL-sized thanks to anyone who leaves generous about this show on Apple Podcasts, plus kudos to anyone who subscribes to this podcast and lets me know how much they like listening to it – it means a lot, especially for an episode that was mostly edited during one long 11pm-10am stint (with a quick nap in between)!
Photography courtesy of The Dolphin Hotel and Icebergs Dining Room and Bar.