I’m waiting to put our name down for a table at Eathouse Diner, it’s 7pm on Friday night and the place is already packed.
Jars of brightly coloured cocktail stirrers and bowls of fruit line the 50s counter bar while waiting diners sit on chrome bar stools sipping cocktails. This place is effortlessly cool. I feel like I’ve stepped somewhere between Paul Gaugain’s ‘Tahitian Women’ and Frida Kahlo self portrait… and I love it.
The ‘sisters’ are having dinner tonight – I never had any sisters up until now – and now I have 3! My sister-in-law-to-be (sis 1), her sister (sis 2) and my old friend who also happens to be their mums sisters daughter (sis 3)… keeping up?
We sit down near a glass counter filled with kitsch kitchen memorabilia and a giant jungle bird mural. Sis 2 is wearing the most fabulous bright green vintage 70s pants – they match the candy green walls, red windows and retro decor.
The chalkboard menu th
at changes seasonally, is a mix of rustic home-style food and 70s classics. It all sounds good. The girls have ordered the wine (I can’t remember what it was? An Argentinean pinot gris I think… whatever it was it was good enough to enjoy a few bottles of!) and I’ve been put in charge of ordering the food.
We’re sharing everything, and to start it’s; Seared carpaccio of tuna with capers, ginger and grapefruit ($20) – I love the gentle kiss of the citrus and ginger and the capers are fried… little crispy flowers of briny salty goodness; Crumbed ricotta balls with tomato basil salad ($18) – the ruby red and yellow tomatoes are so full of flavour and the minute my fork pierces the ricotta balls, the crumbed crunchy shell gives way to the soft cheese centre… Sis 1 is renaming them ‘amaze balls’; Heirloom carrot slaw with buffalo mozzarella ($16) – the slaw is delicious, and buffalo mozzarella is quite possibly one of my favourite things, but the heirloom carrots look and taste a bit lost.
Every time I look around I spot something new – antique masks and a print of Tretchikoff’s ‘Chinese girl’, it’s so eclectic and comfortable in this time warp.
Our waitress, in an embroidered apron and 60s bun, brings our mains; Pan fried Mahi Mahi, zucchini, cavalonero and caper salad ($29) – lovely delicate moist fish with a soft crunchy salad; Spicy beef cheeks with plantain coconut cake & hot ‘n’ sour mango salad ($28) – falls of my fork as I try and serve myself across the table, the serious heat of the tender beef is cooled by the sweet mango salad; Pinto and black bean chile with cactus, avocado and cornbread ($22) – I’ve never had cornbread this good! I’m inspired to try and make some of my own.
Check out the loos with walls lined in 50s nudie pin-ups.
Dessert arrives and it’s like a scene from Marie Antoinette’s last supper. Long silver spoons are flying across the conversation between; Dark chocolate and prune tart ($12); Palm sugar with coconut cream & fresh pineapple ($12) and the Eathouse mess with blood orange, passionfruit and strawberry ($12). It’s all delicious and you can’t go wrong with that combo of coconut, pineapple and palm sugar – especially displayed in a tall sundae glass with an origami quill, but the chocolate tart wins the award for being so good we all actually stop speaking.
You can’t beat great food and good booze at reasonable prices but it’s the vibrant colour and buzz of this place that’s definitely bringing me back.
Eathouse Diner – 306 Chalmers Street, Redfern NSW 2010 – 02 8084 9479