I’m generally not a very beachy guy, and though I’ve lived in Sydney almost all my life, my visit to Costas Arepa Bar also marked my first visit to Bondi in over a decade. Bondi, as some may know and many are about to learn, is home to a population mostly consisting of well off Caucasian youths, who have the benefit of their family having lived in Australia since the First Fleet. One outcome of this very well off population is the incredibly boomy corner store industry, with the mini-grocer next door to Costas Arepas Bar seeing plenty of egg-and-or-milk runs from the above mentioned cohort during our brief visit.
The arepas at Costa Arepa Bar are essentially little, corn based toasted sandwiches filled with an imaginative and plentiful range of fillings. The arrangement is similar to what you would find if you toasted a crumpet, cut it in half and filled it to the brim with proteins, salad, and sauces, though the arepa itself is a bit more grainy, thinner, yet somehow still more substantial feeling.
Though the displayed menu confusingly offers its arepas in pairs for $14, the chef was quick to point out that any combination of arepas could be had.
The Mama Chang featured a crumbed hoki fillet, kimchi, slaw, and a mixture of mayonnaise and “Korean BBQ Sauce”. Whilst the flavours were OK, I wasn’t a big fan of the sesame crumbing that they used on the fish, which I found gave it a bit of a harder bite than it really had to (no doubt designed to suit Bondi’s anti-gluten cultists).
The Yankee, was advertised as featuring beef short rib in BBQ sauce with coleslaw and jalapenos, though what we actually got was a pulled meat, not at all comparable to the juicy piece of short rib as we were expecting. The blandness of the meat and boring BBQ sauce made this the weakest arepa of the bunch. Not even the jalapenos could save it.
The Pepiada arepa was the strongest of the bunch. The shredded chicken was coated in a rich sauce of lemon mayonnaise, coriander, and avocado. Unlike the other arepas, the filling in this one was homogenous, with no unexpected surprises or difference in ingredients eaten bite to bite. If you find yourself here and only have room for one arepa, this would be the one to go for.
The DownUnder arepa of the same shredded chicken but in peri peri sauce with a side filling of bacon and avocado just wasn’t executed as well as the Pepiada. The spicy filling wasn’t quite spicy (though the additional hot sauce for $1 made up for that), and the differing elements made it difficult to eat.
Costa Arepas Bar’s soy cap is essentially the same as any other soy cap, made with Little Marionette beans. What’s worth mentioning is the cup from Huskee, which is made from coffee husks and has a nice handfeel. I’d think about getting one of my own were I able to keep a keepcup longer than a few days.
3.5 NOT BAD.
Costa Arepas Bar
112A O’Brien St, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
0480 276 880