Chef and restaurateur Tom Björck is to Helsinki what George Calombaris is to Melbourne, he's worked in Michelin starred kitchens both in Finland and around the world, owns a slew of knockout restaurants (Farang is his most notable) and is a judge on MasterChef Finland. As for his food, it's inspired by uptown Chinese London diner, Hakkasan, along with stints on our sunny shores in fine diner Quay and upmarket eastern eatery Longrain: think sophisticated Asian flavours with a European twist.
As a keen surfer and chaser of the sun, opening a restaurant in picture perfect Bondi Beach seems like the inevitable next step for this Nordic chef. The menu at Blanca showcases Björck's signature mod Japanese cooking using locally sourced Aussie produce with a dash of European flavouring stylings. Mouth-watering snacks include the 'Blanca black bun' a soft black bun filled with crispy soft shell crab, XO mayo and spicy red cabbage or from the fresh/raw/cured a kingfish sashimi with horseradish crème, aojiso dressing, grilled cucumber pickle and a hit of heat via wasabi. For the mains think inventive seafood like saikyo miso salmon dashi and refined meat dishes including golden noodles with spiced lamb and pork ribs with miso caramel togarashi. But if you just can't decide, there's always the chef-selected tasting menu, so you can sample all the foodie goods in one delicious sitting.
Working the fry pans alongside Björck is ex Dinner by Heston Blumenthal chef Samuel Cole and the restaurant is a chic pared back modern space, the perfect environment to enjoy the exceptional dishes issuing forth from the kitchen.
Blanca Bar & Dining is located at Shop UG 4, The Hub, 75-79 Hall St (access also from O'Brien St), Bondi Beach NSW 2026. Open Monday-Thursday from 4pm and Friday-Sunday from 11am. Bookings blanca.com.au or 02) 9365 2998.