One of my favourite cafés in recent months has been Brown Sugar
which is similar to Panama House in many ways. They’re both in Bondi, serve great, original food & drink from morning to night and they’re licensed.
Panama House adds some spice to the way they do things. Think Cajun, New Orleans, tacos and crab & iceberg sandwiches… yeah we have a winner on our hands!
Every table has some of their signature house salsas including habanero, smoked tomato and pineapple & chilli to name a few. The tomato was my favourite and any food lover needs to do themselves a favour and come down to try these.
The pavement seating can be noisy on busy Bondi Road but it’s a perfect vantage point for people-watching. There is also seating at the counter, a cosy, vibrant interior and a compact courtyard out back.
Staff can make or break an establishment and I found those at Panama House to be faultless. They know the dishes, they’re quick and they have a sense of humour. Sarah, our waitress also remembered the entire order of our table of six which is no mean feat!
Coffee? Outstanding. $3.50 for regular, $4 for strong or large. Ours was right on the mark.
Spicy tomato juice
Spicy tomato juice ($6.50)… yes it’s like a Virgin Mary. Those who ordered this thoroughly enjoyed it. It has heat and a good kick but I prefer mine ‘bloody’!
Seasonal fruit smoothie
The seasonal fruit smoothie ($7) will obviously change depending on when you visit. Today’s version had sweet chunks of pineapple, ice and some crunchy fruit seeds I couldn’t discern. Either way, it was fantastic.
Corned beef hash brown
A typical Panama House dish. They take the normal, add some new ingredients and some spice and turn it into something outrageously good. The corned beef hash brown ($17) sits at the bottom of this stack. It has a very crunchy shell and a melting interior with shreds of fall-apart corned beef. Then there’s buttered spinach, a poached egg and chipotle hollandaise which I couldn’t get enough of. I could only fault one thing with this dish and that is it was too small. I’m not really complaining though… because that meant I could order the corn fritter as well…
Oven baked sweet corn fritter
It’s not often I have a faultless dish. I enjoy my food explorations but the hash brown and the corn fritter ($18) from Panama House are now close to the top of my list. A light, puffy fritter, crisp lettuce, crispy delicious bacon and a perfectly poached egg with one of the best condiments I’ve tried. The smoked tomato salsa was sublime – not much kick but I couldn’t help spooning on more from the jar on the table. Why do you not sell it bottled, Panama House?!
Eggs any style with sides
The more conservative tastes at the table ordered the eggs any style ($11) which comes with grilled sour bread (“otherwise known as toast” chimed in Sarah) and baked tomato. The kitchen successfully served the eggs as requested: eggs over easy. There are plenty of sides to choose from including spiced black beans, smashed avocado ($4 each), bacon, tequila-spiced gravalax salmon or black pudding ($5 each). There buttered spinach ($4) and bacon with my guests’ dishes both received rave reviews. Happy customers!
There is so much to like about Panama House. The flavours in the food blew me away and I intend to return for dinner very soon. The only let-down were the prices but having said that, I have no issue paying $17 for an outstanding dish (even if I did have to order two)!
Other breakfast offerings are the breakfast taco (scrambled egg, spicy holy trinity and coriander sour cream, $12.50)
, huevos rancheros (corn tortilla, spiced black beans, smashed avocado, smoked tomato salsa, poached egg and chipotle hollandaise, ($16)
and muesli (old school fruit salad, rhubarb & mixed berry compote with vanilla spiced yoghurt, $13)
Lunch and dinner menus are available on their website and a highly recommend you take a peek!
Overall Rating: 21/25
Website: http://www.panamahouse.com.au/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Panama-House/103490289786805
Phone: 9365 0839
Address: 251 Bondi Road, Bondi, 2026
Payment Options: CC, EFTPOS, cash