Sydney is starting to feel a lot like Melbourne these days – bars so secret you need a password to get into them; restaurants in laneways so obscure they’ll give your GPS a meltdown.
Maybe that’s why Eathouse Diner in Redfern, with its bold and brassy ‘Eat Here’ sign and colourful, in-your-face facade is such a refreshing addition to the inner-city dining landscape.
It began as the brainchild of Lenna Boord and Selena Murray, whose vision of a fun southern American/European/whatever-they-felt-like-doing diner was enough to coax ex-chef Age Durrant (whose pedigree includes Bondi’s Sean’s Panorama and Surry Hills’ Longrain) away from a graphic design job and back into the kitchen.
And in the kitchen he should stay, with dishes like a gloriously simple panzanella salad, which is based on an olive-oil-soaked rye sourdough and stuffed full of white anchovies, tomatoes, basil, capers and roasted capsicum. Then there’s a fall-off-thebone braised lamb shoulder with fig, pomegranate and cauliflower puree, or the rib-sticking truffled mac n’ cheese.
You can’t book here – we’re still in Sydney after all – but if there’s one restaurant where you won’t mind a wait at the bar, this would be it. Thanks to Selena’s retro garage-sale approach to styling, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
A jungle mural lines one of the restaurant’s walls, while the others are jam-packed with everything from Viking horns to horseshoes. The bar itself is so stuffed with old-school toys it’s a wonder there’s any room left for the grog, but luckily they’ve found room enough to pull together a decent cocktail list, so sit back with a senorita (chilli-infused tequila with Cointreau, lime and ruby-red grapefruit) and enjoy the ride.
306 Chalmers St, Redfern
(02) 8084 9479
Open Mon–Sat 6–10pm (bar opens at 3pm)