Bronte Rd Bistro is owned and run by husband-and-wife team Stewart and Jessica Parsons, with chef Dave Pegrum banging the pans. The food is artfully simple, the wine's cheap and interesting and if you get served by the right people (ie, the Parsonses), you'll have a great time. Sit at the bar - the sunroom doubles as the dining room and gets cramped and loud - and they'd do well to put a couple of tables in the lounge area. If it's warm, grab one of the outside tables.
For our buck, the best way to eat here is to order lots of tasting plates and drink the wine list. There's a trend in a lot of restaurants to make you feel like you're being punished by ordering a glass of wine rather than a bottle, but here they make an effort to offer interesting wines by the glass, like the grenache blanc, which at $11 a pop, is a very happy proposition indeed.
And check the specials board - it's full of goodies like deep-fried oysters with sauce gribiche (a cold sauce with capers and herbs based on mayonnaise where the egg yolk is hard boiled rather than raw) and most definitely gets a blue ribbon for dish of the month.
There again, close contender goes to the onglet and chips. Onglet is special because there's only one per beast. A French cut of beef that Aussie butchers have up until recently turned into dog food, it has an incredibly strong, whiffy flavour that's fairly offal-ish as it's located hanging just under the diaphragm. Served with chips (annoyingly, in a little dish - why not just pile on the plate?) and anchoiade (anchovy, garlic and olive oil puree), it's a stand-alone reason to visit Waverley. Steamed bass groper is delicate, with the protein just set - the way a great fish should be cooked. That said, it could do with a little salt. But the loose sauce of teeny weeny baby fennel, a dice of tomato, butter and parsley complements the white flaky fish really nicely.
The charcuterie plate is good, but better is the pork terrine with a rough chop of pork served with thick cut toast from bakery-of-the-minute, Iggy's. A smoky salad of eel is sweetened with fine matchsticks of apple and given pep with a nest of rocket. If you want something a little more substantial, try the polenta with slices of rare duck breast dotted with braised onions, cooked until incredibly sweet and soft yet still holding their shape.
The most interesting dessert is the poached pear with walnut cream scattered with candied walnuts and garnished with a toffee disc studded with fennel and caraway, though if you're a chocolate fan, the chocolate terrine with blood orange segments and caramel sauce is well worth a nudge. And hey, it's well priced (entrees are $15, mains $26) so you can get away with giving the wine list a generous tilt.
Licensed, around $70pp, including wine.