Food & Wine

“We knew Bermagui was the place for Boneless to be born” – Tenzin & Emily

Lisa Herbert4 May 2019
It's a chilli dog, and it's vegan. Photo Lisa Herbert

It’s a chilli dog, and it’s vegan. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

You’re lucky to catch Tenzin Butt and his partner Emily King, they haven’t really stopped for a breath since they opened Boneless Vegetarian Café in Bermagui on March 20.

Their eatery is a bright and colourful space where the old Corky’s stood, high on the main street looking over the beautiful sapphire sea towards Guluga mountain.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I perused the menu to find a vegan Tex-Mex Chilli Dog with all the trimmings and didn’t it turn out to be the prettiest looking plate of deliciousness!? Crunchy corn chips with salsa garnish alongside a substantial hot dog roll, with a good-looking vegan-dog, adorned with a mountain of jalapenos and pico di gallo, mustards, and micro-herbs.

My friend and co-diner was busy tucking into a vegan version of the Japanese pancake Okonomiyaki, made with gluten-free besan flour, mushrooms, and cabbage, topped with hoysin mayo and a tickle of green onion and nori. I had a dose of food envy after he shared some with me.

Filling, tasty, and good value, our meals were well presented with obvious attention to detail.

We sat up at the front bar overlooking the bay, chatting to passers-by, people from other tables asking if I’d like to photograph their meals. Everyone seems impressed by the obvious acumen of this young couple’s venture.

There is a Mexican/Aztec feel to the interior fit-out, with a great feature mural by Emily and Tenzin’s friend David Cragg from Wollongong. Colourful birds and cactus adorn the walls, and geometric fabrics soften the banquette seating, but then their Grandmother’s good green dining chairs and mismatched 60s crockery. It’s eclectic and fun.

Delicious and colourful fare at Boneless - Okonomiyaki Pancake. Photo Lisa Herbert

Delicious and colourful fare at Boneless – Okonomiyaki Pancake. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

Tenzin grew up in Central Tilba and always wanted to live in Bermagui, whilst travelling in Canada he met his soul mate Emily from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Together they undertook schooling at the legendary Veet’s Cuisine Cooking School at Mullumbimby in 2016. After completing the course they worked with Veet’s catering business for health retreats around Byron Bay. Emily also taught cookery sessions with the Veet’s Cooking School.

“We then started our own catering business up on the Gold Coast and cooking home meals for clients,” says Emily, “but we’ve always dreamt of having our own cafe. Last year was when we decided to really go for it.”

Now they are here living the dream in Bermi, serving up the good stuff. Emily in the kitchen creating healthy and tasty meals, Tenzin out the front, looking after staff and customers.

We really wanted to find a space in Bermi, down here really feels like home for us.”

One of the main features of their great menu is the clever ‘Healthy Hemp Hub’.

Loads of hemp smoothies (and a few hemp products) are available, all designed to utilise the nutritious, healing power of hemp seeds, oils, and protein. A Pinacolada Hemp Smoothie or Peanut Buttercup perhaps?

“Using hemp totally aligns with our values. We strongly believe that the world would be a better place if hemp was more available and utilised. It is the most incredible plant!”

It’s not all vegan at Boneless, the award-winning Meredith goat cheese makes an appearance, and real eggs for breakfast, but they just enhance a fundamentally vegetarian and vegan menu. And they serve Redbrick Coffee from Canberra.

Truly velvety hot beetroot chocolate, and my new favourite Snickers Bar at Boneless. Photo Lisa Herbert

Truly velvety hot beetroot chocolate, and my new favourite Snickers Bar at Boneless. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

“We love the challenge of creating full flavoured, wholesome vegetarian food, something even the keenest of meat eaters will enjoy,” Emily says.

“We love to support local businesses which includes local produce and ethically sourced coffee.

We also compost all of our green waste and take whatever steps we can to be ethical in all aspects of our business.”

And now a word of warning: do not order the Boneless Snickers Bar, unless you don’t mind becoming addicted! These are the best I’ve had. There is a secret in the biscuit layer, the caramel is thick and rich, the chocolate thin and crunchy all topped with nutty pops… be very afraid!

Overall this young couple has hit the ground running – an excellent establishment serving simple food, done well. Another great addition to the blossoming Bermagui food scene.

Tenzin Butt and Emily King adding to the Bermagui food scene. Photo Lisa Herbert

Tenzin Butt and Emily King adding to the Bermagui food scene. Photo: Lisa Herbert.

Boneless Vegetarian Café

Breakfast 8 am – 11 pm, Lunch 11 pm – 2 pm, with an all-day menu and kids Menu.
Lamont Street, Bermagui, Open 8 am to 3 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays.

Editors note: Lisa Herbert dines at her own expense. Reviews are honest and not based on a commercial relationship.

What's Your Opinion?

45 Responses to “We knew Bermagui was the place for Boneless to be born” – Tenzin & Emily

Glen Matthews Glen Matthews 7:44 am 21 May 19

Can you please put a menu up?

Nicky Harris Nicky Harris 5:45 am 10 May 19

This is our new favourite cafe in Bermagui. Coffee is excellent and the Okonomiyaki is so delicious, especially for breakfast with poached eggs. 😋😋😋😋😋😋😋

    Rachelle Vine Rachelle Vine 5:46 am 10 May 19

    Nicky Harris can’t wait to check it out.

    Nell Holdsworth - is this another option for us xox 💚

Janice Gibbons Janice Gibbons 4:53 pm 09 May 19

Had lunch there yesterday…my second time…delicious! A great atmosphere and view. Love it.

Amy Ryan-Dorman Amy Ryan-Dorman 7:33 pm 05 May 19

Sue, you could look at the menu here and order more than one item!

Lilly Healy Lilly Healy 7:03 pm 05 May 19

Nick Banhidi may have to try it out

Lisa Ashurst Lisa Ashurst 11:45 pm 04 May 19

My partner and I thought we'd try the place, support a local business etc (shame about Corkies closing) and we waited and waited...aaaand waited... at the counter while the staff fluffed around, not tending to anything or anyone. Not sure what they were doing really. Eventually, when the wait reached the ridiculous stage, we gave up and went somewhere else. Sorry, but it was not a positive experience.

    Tenzin Butt Tenzin Butt 6:43 pm 06 May 19

    Lisa Ashurst I'm very sorry for your bad experience at Boneless Cafe.

    Thank you for your comment, all of us at Boneless truely do appreciate all the feedback we get (good and bad).

    We are very new to this and have much to learn and this pushes us to keep on improving in all areas.

    Lisa Ashurst Lisa Ashurst 7:47 pm 06 May 19

    Thanks for getting back to me, Tenzin, perhaps we can call in again some time

    Dean Turner Dean Turner 5:28 am 10 May 19

    good onya Tenzin

Mark Wharton Mark Wharton 9:32 pm 04 May 19

This couple was tilba for a while? If so the hemp smoothies were awesome

Sharon Smith Sharon Smith 9:31 pm 04 May 19

Terrible rude and slow service. Shame as there are no other vego restaurants within cooee

Heather De Munck Heather De Munck 8:23 pm 04 May 19

Rebekah Bailey this place sounds amazing, we’ll have to go!

Anne Foster Anne Foster 8:10 pm 04 May 19

This looks fantastic.


Xx 🙂

Shanti Ramana Shanti Ramana 7:43 pm 04 May 19

This place is next level in so may ways … mostly it is all about connecting the heart to the food, the drinks, the atmosphere, the staff, the view, the intention to be there & be of service ….. no wonder it all just feels & tastes so good xxx

David Rogers David Rogers 4:39 pm 04 May 19

About Regional is always on the pulse 👊🏼 Vegan Breakfast Tacos are seriously good...oh and the Pina Colada Hemp Smoothies. Drool.

    Susan Hill Susan Hill 5:29 pm 04 May 19

    David Rogers yep the Pina Colada smoothie is our fave too

Marion Da Costa Marion Da Costa 3:02 pm 04 May 19

Not on my list but will be next trip.

Brodie Smith Brodie Smith 10:48 am 04 May 19

Legends 🙏 well done guys

Nancy Northrop Nancy Northrop 10:34 am 04 May 19

That mural looks familiar. Did David paint this one in Newtown? It was the perfect backdrop for a portrait of my 6yo grand daughter. We loved it!

    Tenzin Butt Tenzin Butt 10:51 am 04 May 19

    Nancy Northrop I believe he did.

    David Cragg is amazing!

    Nancy Northrop Nancy Northrop 11:16 am 04 May 19

    Tenzin Butt His use of colour is so vibrant and uplifting. Makes me happy just looking at it.

Jenny Robb Jenny Robb 10:20 am 04 May 19

We need a full weekend in Bermi to taste all the goodies Fiona Campbell!

    Fiona Campbell Fiona Campbell 12:05 pm 04 May 19

    Jenny Robb you should of come today, football in Betmi. My travelling companion whinged, not mentioning names, David Kelly.

    Jenny Robb Jenny Robb 12:51 pm 04 May 19

    Fiona Campbell oh come on, Dave? Whinge? haha.

Nancy Northrop Nancy Northrop 10:20 am 04 May 19

Thanks for the heads up. The food looks lovely. Must check this out when next in Bermi. (Robert Campbell)

Sarah Ruberto Sarah Ruberto 9:38 am 04 May 19

Sean - add this one to you list

    Sean Haylan Sean Haylan 9:50 am 04 May 19

    Sarah Ruberto staying there Monday night. I’ll be sure to check it out for brekkie Tuesday 👍🏼😁

    Sarah Ruberto Sarah Ruberto 10:53 am 04 May 19

    Sean perfect timing

Carmen Risby Carmen Risby 9:27 am 04 May 19

Tim Risby look 👀 another great place for us to eat out with Sunny.

Jennie Crowe Robens Jennie Crowe Robens 9:24 am 04 May 19

Is this on your list Marion 🍽