A lot of places in Sydney claim to be both dining rooms and bars, but often only do one of the two well. Topikós nails the brief of letting you choose your own adventure. The two-pronged Bondi Beach newbie is by the Point Group, the team behind the Sydney CBD's Shell House, and no expense has been spared here towards creating a multi-faceted venue.
Head to the long and bright dining room; or kick back at the bar next door, with a smaller menu from the same kitchen and a more casual setting. A large interior window cleverly adjoins the dining room and bar reveals the action of each, while also keeping them separate.
In the dining room, calming Aegean blues, more linen than a Venroy store, polished concrete, Cesca chairs and a soundtrack of Tame Impala and Parcels do an ace job of nailing an aspirational feel. The cheerful service warms up the cool blue room, as does the sizzling saganaki. The hot, sticky cheese plays it traditional – a fine example of why you don't need to reinvent a classic. This dish, alongside other snack-y meze, are best enjoyed with a round or two of pita bread. The disc of pita looks petite, but it's dense and puffy, charred and soft, ideal for swiping up hot honey in the saganaki pan.
Then there are parts of the menu where Greek dishes get a remix. A deconstructed DIY dolmade sees soft rice, subtle shreds of spanner crab and zesty chilli ready to be spooned and self-wrapped in wasabi and radicchio leaves. It's a clever take on the humble deli staple, reimagined for Topikós' beachside locale. Same goes for the Greek salad: it's the antithesis of every hunky, flavourless iteration you've had prior, zhuzhed up care of a mandolin, with card-thin slices of tomato, red onion, capsicum, a microplane shave of feta (so every bite gets imbued with the semi-firm cheese) and a sprinkle of oregano.
Some dishes are taken care of over coals (like a soft, just-warmed squid; or a half chook) and others are slow cooked, like the unctuous lamb served with tirokafteri (a citrus and feta powered thick sauce). To make the most of this range it's best to come with a group, so you can ensure you lean into the meze and share plates with equal vigour.
Tradition re-enters at the end of the meal, with a melopita – a honey-doused cheesecake. The light and airy whole mini cake tastes like a just-dusted sugar and cinnamon doughnut, served alongside salty-sweet honey.
It's easy to see that this buzzy Bondi bolthole will please a lot of people – locals looking for something different, those keen for long lunches with phones always at the reach and folks with an eye for bright and well-done interiors. With countless Italian restaurants in the area, Topikós Dining Room and Bar delivers a solid and different play-your-own-way Greek party.