What do you do when you've been working at the high end of fashion for 35 years, and you wake up one morning to find the passion has gone? If you're fashion retailer Robby Ingham, you indulge your new passion for fitness, health and preventive medicine instead. You open a gym and wellness cafe with your personal trainer, former triathlon coach Kieran Barry. You call it The Well (clever, that).
You spell out your nutritional approach on the menu: eat more plants, whole grains and legumes, minimise added sugars, choose healthy fats and quality proteins. You source much of the food from your Crooked River Surf Lodge Farm on the South Coast. You start saying things like "wellness is the new black". And you make sure you open in the heart of Bondi Beach, where all this makes perfect sense.
It's like a private beach house on Sydney's most public beach, with tables out on the sunny street and a bright, dog-leg space inside lined with high-contrast art and shelves of greenery. And it's #soBondi – everyone is wearing workout gear, carrying yoga mats, sipping "well juice" or working on laptops.
Former MoVida chef Ivalu Otaiza and head chef Chantel Pham from Surry Hills' White Taro push out busy, colourful plates of wholesome food for the post-Pilates crowd. The cafe's bestselling corn and kale fritters ($19) – nice but a bit flabby – come with haloumi, mushrooms, avocado mash and tomato relish, and sweet potato pancakes with chia coconut yoghurt ($18).
Breakfast runs all day, of course, because in Bondi, you're either up at the crack, or snoozing 'til noon. Lunch is all about the Gym Staple of zucchini noodles, fresh peas, asparagus, tomato cream and mint pesto with a soft-yolked 63-degree egg ($16), or a fresh-tasting mango and green papaya salad bowl ($16) with tangy Thai dressing. Citrus-cured king salmon and grilled lemongrass chicken are available as protein add-ons ($7).
A cute triple cacao log ($5) is both vegan and a source of magnesium: good to know, but sublimely irrelevant for something that tastes like the crunchy hedgehog biscuit of your dreams.
Excellent. Brazilian beans from Darlinghurst's high-detail Edition Coffee Roasters are all almonds and cream in a caffe latte and richly mouth-filling in a piccolo, with Nicaraguan beans for the clean and mellow filter coffee. You can choose from coconut, almond, soy, skim or full cream milk. Plus, there are turmeric lattes, Organic Tea Project teas, and seriously good smoothies that can be "enhanced" with whey protein, oats or seeds.
Yes, booze! A big win for those who believe a well-made glass of wine is better for you than a sticky chai latte. The list is as simple as one white, one rosé and one red from the Riverland's crazy-label Delinquente winery, whose promise is "small batch, hand-made, single-vineyard and vegan-friendly"; plus Young Henrys lager and cider.
The Well 78 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, 02 9057 2100, thewellbondi.com.au
Open Daily 7am to 3pm
Avo factor Available as an add-on for $4.
Caffe latte $4
Overheard "Summer is so my season. It puts me in the zone."
Loving A gym with coffee, beer and wine on the side – genius.
Not getting Why there's no train or tram to Bondi Beach.
Score Coffee 8/10; Food 3/5; Experience 4/5.