Americana bar, Fat Rupert's, is now open for lunch. But if we thought we’d have the first taste of its smokey American sandwiches by arriving early on launch day, we were sorely mistaken...
Because Fat Rupert’s head chef, Eli Challenger, pipped us to the post. He tells us he was gleefully scoffing down one of everything (purely for his own pleasure) in the lead up to their 11am opening hour.
Which is a little hard to believe when you look at the man.
Tall and lanky, the old saying, “you should never trust a skinny chef,” runs through our minds as we size him up and flip him the line in casual jest.
He laughs back, saying: “I say you should never trust a fat chef. They’re clearly not doing enough work.”
Eli obviously lives on his feet. He moves between kitchen and table, plating up lunch meals and scribbling out a grocery list to keep his kitchen well-stocked for the days to come. His days are long. And that’s not just because Fat Rupert’s is now open for lunch. He’ll be here at 10am every morning either way to smoke the pastrami (up to 22 hours), ferment the sauerkraut and cure the salmon, all for today’s lunchtime offerings.
Lunch, happy hour or dinner - Fat Rupert’s now does it all.
The vibe: Cruisy and casual by day, buzzing by night.
Ideal for: Mums and bubs, family catch-ups, those who love to share.
Bartender’s choice: Rupert’s Margarita, $17
Try the...Reuben, $13
By the way...They’ve also the guys behind pop-up called Ruby’s BBQ.
Find Fat Rupert’s on Facebook: Fat Rupert’s
Southern-style smoking, curing and barbecuing are his specialty and you’ll see it in all its glory when he and his wife Ruby open their pop-up Ruby’s BBQ on May 1. But that’s another venture. For now, we’re here for lunch.
It’s a short, sweet and succinct menu and one that’s been on Eli and his business partner, Aaron Pearce’s mind since day one of Fat Rupert’s. “We’ve always wanted to do lunch,” says Aaron. “I’ve always wanted to do sandwiches and for Eli, it was perfect for what he wanted to do as well. All the flavours, the meats, the sauces and the salads – it’s like a lunchtime version of what he has on the dinner menu.”
We weren’t kidding when we said short and sweet. In total you’ve got five sangas and one bagel to whet your appetite. Sure, it might not look like much at face value, but when you consider how much time and effort goes into every ingredient, it’s undeniable what kind of quality over quantity, labour of love this menu truly is.
“You’ve got the pastrami that takes hours and hours to make,” says Aaron. Not to mention the chicken and the salmon, which Eli smokes on the premises. And let’s not forget the house-made mustard, pickles, aioli… yeah, pretty much every ingredient is made from scratch here. Oh, except the bread and bagels. Eli tells us it’d be a dream if they could bake their own bread, but they just don’t have the space in their already bursting kitchen.
So here we are, eyeing up the menu. There’s a pastrami and rye, a Philly cheesesteak, a smoked chicken clubhouse, sloppy Joe and a Brooklyn Boys bagel and lox... Alright, let’s face it, when the chef himself can’t keep his hands off any of his offerings, you know whatever you choose is going to be good.
They’re all so tempting, but our order has to be the all-round American fave: the Reuben.
There’s sourdough, white, rye or gluten free to smash through, but ultimately, it’s the fillings your taste buds have journeyed all the way to Bondi for. That’s Eli’s long-smoked pastrami, sauerkraut, horseradish aioli and coleslaw packed neat and tidily into a glorious one-hander.
So you can use your other hand to scoff down the bagel and lox, Eli Challenger-style, obviously.
Address: 249 Bondi Rd, Bondi
Opening Hours: Friday to Sunday 11am-3pm (lunch), 3pm-6pm (happy hour), Tuesday to Sunday 6pm-late (dinner)