A place called Eden
The plant-based oasis beside Australia’s most famous beach.
Bondi Beach is renowned the world over for its quintessential beachside culture and picture-perfect sand, surf, and scenery. You can’t help but want to feel the sand between your toes, the saltwater on your skin, or the wind in your hair as you powerwalk the stunning coastal track.
Sunkissed, sandy, and just a little weary after a day at the beach, what could possibly be better than a shady garden oasis that serves ice-cold cocktails and all your comfort food favourites? An inviting place to gather with friends and enjoy the local lifestyle? Oh, if only it were plant-based, you say.
Welcome to Eden
Eden was created by plant-based experts and Bondi locals Simon Hill and Tanya Smart out of a desire to share the lifestyle they love – relaxed, connected, healthy and plant-based. Simon says, “We wanted to create a space that people from all walks of life, who follow a range of diets, would love. Our menu draws inspiration from our travels and experiences with plant-based cooking.”
On visiting this little slice of paradise, I was impressed by the innovative menu offering beachside favourites such as Salt n Pepper Kalamari made with konjac, Popcorn Cauliflower with house-made aioli, and the choice of mouthwatering burgers served with a side of fries. There was also a selection of gourmet pizzas I found almost impossible to choose between, hearty bowls like the tasty sweet potato gnocchi I settled on in the end, and plenty of inventive delights that change with the seasons.
Tanya says, “Our forever evolving menu is filled with innovative options. We have previously used watermelon to mimic sashimi by baking it and then seasoning with nori and kelp flakes. It’s so flavoursome that you really don’t miss the fish.” This was one of the dishes I tried when I visited Eden, served on a bed of avocado, with wasabi mayonnaise, and crackers on the side. It was simply spectacular – fresh, authentic, and made from real foods.
An inclusive food philosophy
While Eden has unsurprisingly become an institution within Sydney’s vegan dining scene, Simon and Tanya say their focus is on food rather than on labels. They set out to create a space that everyone would love while serving food that anyone would enjoy. While to them, it’s just food that happens to be plant-based, it is quite intentionally scrumptious, and was an instant hit among vegans and non-vegans alike.
Tanya says that while Eden requires crazy amounts of work from both her and Simon, it’s also been fun and rewarding at the same time. “We both love talking about Eden and bouncing ideas off each other about how we can grow and improve the business. Seeing a restaurant full of people enjoying delicious plants and receiving their positive reviews is just so rewarding and worth every minute of hard work.”
It hasn’t come without its challenges of course, but Simon and Tanya take each one as an opportunity to flex and grow. Hospitality businesses were hard hit by the restrictions put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic – so Eden pivoted to a successful subscription service during this time. Tanya says, “You’ve always got to expect the unexpected and we take every experience as a learning curve, which in turn helps us grow every day.” Locals can still order takeaway for collection from a range of menu highlights, including share plates, mains, sides, and sweets.
Simon and Tanya are passionate about celebrating life through innovative plant-based cuisine. Simon says “Our main goal is to showcase how delicious plants can be and that a plant-based lifestyle can be enjoyed without having to sacrifice on flavour.” And that’s exactly what they’ve achieved.