Dinner at Panama House, Bondi

Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney

Moving to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney has made for interesting times, exploring the new area for local gems. I’ve found which of the many chicken shops has the best chicken and chips and also which has the best cheesecake. Although I’ve still got a lot of ground to cover, there’s been one place that has been impressive every time I’ve dropped by. Panama House.

Opened in 2012, Panama House is owned and run by the same team behind the nearby Corner house. Anthony Kaplan (The Shop & Wine Bar) and chef Brent Mills (New York’s Sweetwater Tavern).

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By night, Panama House has an intimate but trendy atmosphere

Serving Central American styled dishes, Panama House is open practically all day, every day and depending on what time of the day you arrive, you’ll have a different menu at your disposal. It can roughly be divided into three groups – breakfast (til midday), lunch (12pm – 5pm) and dinner (5pm onwards). Although there is some overlap between menus, there are some items that are only exclusive to each group such as the Corned beef hash brown (breakfast), the Panama Cheese Burger (lunch) and the Twice Cooked Ribs (dinner). This post is all about the dinner service.

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The sides

The Beetroot and carrot slaw, House cut fries and Fried Brussels sprouts can be seen above. What’s missing is the Black lentils and grilled chorizo sausage.

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I always say that putting chorizo in a dish is almost cheating because it’ll instantly make any dish taste good but sometimes you’ve just got to do it. I don’t eat legumes very often so I wasn’t overly astounded by this dish, even with the chorizo.

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House cut fries

Fries on the other hand, is something I eat a little too often and I have to say, not only are these served in generous portions, but they are also really good. Crispy and very flavourful, they almost don’t need the chipotle mayonnaise either.

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Fried Brussels sprouts, mint & mustard dressing

Brussels sprouts fall pretty low in the vegetable chain for me but these Fried Brussels Sprouts lift them high up the rankings. Rich and incredibly tasty, this recipe would make even the naughtiest of kids enjoy them.

The mains

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The King prawn and spicy chorizo “Risotto” caught our attention with the quotation marks. After the dish came out, it was evident why the punctuation was used as arborio rice was substituted with pearl cous cous to give the dish an interesting spin. The texture of the cous cous was great and it was a visually stunning dish, however, the flavours were clean and subtle.

The Patagonian scallop ceviche (pictured left) was served with avocado puree, jalapeño, pickled cucumber, dill, radish and charred corn. It was fresh but felt like it needed something punchier.

The Char grilled Kingfish collar (pictured right) was served with artichoke spice, shaved fennel, orange and coriander. It was a cut of the fish I wasn’t too familiar with but is essentially the strip of meat directly behind the fish gills up to where the fillet begins. There’s not a lot of meat in the collar but it’s regarded by some as the best part of the fish and I can see why.The meat I ate was nice and tender but personally, I prefer a boneless piece of fillet.

I’m a sucker for corn so I was always going to enjoy the Charred sweet corn. The charred flavour was great and the jalapeno & garlic butter, smoked chili salt, Manchego cheese and lime was a nice touch.

We followed this with the dry aged steak of the week which is chosen by the butcher and served medium rare with chimmi churri, lemon and watercress. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly well seasoned and was on the dry side.

Saving the best for last, this next group were the pick of the mains.

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These Southern Fried Calamari were fantastic! Tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside and served with a nice chipotle mayonnaise. If there’s one thing I seem to order every time I dine here, it’s this dish. It’s so good, I always forget to use the sauces. This time I made an effort and they’re worth a mention. Ranging from mild to super spicy, the mild pineapple & coriander is pretty great and the red and spiciest of them will set your mouth on fire.

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The Fajitas are served with flour tortillas and a plate of chilli beef, pulled chicken, beetroot & carrot slaw, spiced black beans, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Relatively simple but very tasty too.

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Twice cooked ribs served with harissa, black sesame & hazelnut dukkah

These ribs were pretty fatty but where do you think flavour comes from? The meat was so tender it practically fell off the bone. With the added crunchy texture of the dukkah and the intense flavour of the harissa made this one of the best dishes of the night.

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Fish of the day was Ocean trout served with charred lemon and smoked eggplant. It was well cooked, had a nice, crispy skin and was packed with flavour. Up there with the best dishes on the menu.

The desserts

This part of the menu isn’t so much Central American desserts but don’t let that stop you. It’ll be well worth your time and calories.

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Banoffee Pie

Biscuit base built up with layers of caramel, banana and whipped cream topped with grated chocolate. No matter how much I complain I’m too full for dessert, this annoyingly addictive pie always seems to find it’s way to my stomach. One of the tastiest Banoffee Pies in town.

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Cheese cake of the day – Caramel & Peanut Butter

Along with the Banoffee Pie, the Cheesecake is a slam dunk of a dessert! These are house made and the flavours vary but on the last couple of occasions I’ve ordered this, it has been the Caramel and Peanut Butter. The first time I tried this, arguably was one of the best cheesecakes I’ve had in my life. The second time I tried it, it was good but wasn’t the show stealer it had been the previous time. Whether there are minor deviations in consistency, the message is clear, that Panama House really knows how to make desserts.

In the handful of times I’ve dined at Panama House, I’ve managed to work my way through most of the menu and the last two times I’ve dined there, I’ve ordered the exact same thing (see recommendations below). Although there’s still a number of places I need to visit, I’m find it difficult to imagine there are going to be many local places better food than this.

Twin Discoveries recommendations: Southern fried calamari, Twice cooked ribs, Fried Brussels sprouts, House cut fries, Banoffee pie, Caramel & Peanut Butter cheesecake

 
Panama House
251 Bondi Road, Bondi, NSW

Ph: (02) 9365  0839

Mon-Wed 7am–10pm
Thur-Sat 7am–11pm
Sun 7am–1opm

 

 

 

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