PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Californian roadside diner-meets-pawn shop is the only appropriate way to describe the Eathouse Diner. The interiors are big and bold – the colour palette mixes bright turquoise and red, mismatched jars of preserves cover rows of shelves behind the bar, and a giant parrot forms a colourful mural on the largest inside wall. Vintage knick knacks adorn each and every bench space, from Mexican wrestling masks looming over the window to the curved, retro display case and nude newspaper bombshells-cum-wallpaper in the toilets. The restaurant's only been around a few months, but the handpicked décor seems surprisingly at home in an effortlessly cool kind of way.
Unfortunately, the Diner seems to have backtracked on its initial zeal for North American cuisine. Alas, the Philly cheesesteaks, fried chicken with coleslaw and vegetarian chilli with corn chips we'd heard about were nowhere to be found. Instead, the menu seems decidedly modern European – our party dined on melt-in-your-mouth, slow-cooked beef cheeks with cauliflower purée, pan-fried barramundi fillet with a Tuscan salad of shredded cabbage and cucumber, and a beetroot salad with gorgonzola and walnuts.
Cocktails scrawled across a blackboard beside the bar are a mixed bag. The Mojito is zesty, sweet and strong, but the Pimms Punch lacks any of its namesake gusto. No matter, because the service is friendly and the dessert of banana split – served with banana ice cream ribboned with soft chunks of fruit flesh, roasted hazelnuts, and both thick caramel and chocolate fudge – is worth the visit alone.
The restaurant packs out quickly, even on this rainy Monday evening, and it's easy to see why. The quality of meals may be inconsistent, but serving portions are more than generous and the fun, unpretentious atmosphere makes for a worthwhile night out.