You could be in a tattoo parlour, you could be in a bordello. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised to see the incredibly attractive waitstaff speeding by on rollerskates.
The Redfern gentry and their offspring are already packing it out, clamouring for space in the violently turquoise room. And in case the pram blight gets to be a little much, find a spot at the long, red Formica bar overhung by a tilted mirror – you can see what everyone else is eating. Or look down their tops.
As to what's on the plate, that's where the operation falls down a little. You can partially forgive it, given the place is more of a scene than an eating destination. Age Durrant and Selena Murray are banging the pans and we've heard rumblings that someone in the kitchen has spent time working at Sean's Panaroma. Indeed, there are a few dishes on the menu you might recognise from the popular beachside restaurant, such as the borscht, which they're calling beetroot and smoked paprika soup with kipflers. The version here is a lot more potato than beetroot, garnished with a whole boiled kipfler and sour cream. And unlike the Sean's version, it's served warm. Still, it's a bargain for $13. We're hearing good things about their Philly cheesesteak, too.
Lamb shanks are definitely worth ordering: tender hunks of meat fall off the bone after a long, gentle braise tempered with the salty pop of capers, a fine sprinkling of fresh mint, all on a bed of pea mash. Beef cheeks are as you'd expect: dark, glossy and extremely rich. They're given a spruce up with a scattering of rainbow chard pieces, served on fennel puree. There's also a vego chilli (sans carne) on the menu, which is basically a bowl of bean mix with a separate bowl of sour cream and a big pile of corn chips with lime halves. It's great party food for the middle of the table and a foil for the beers, including Time Out fave, Whale Ale.
Speaking of party food, make sure to order dessert. Consider the good old-fashioned banana split complete with a gold cocktail umbrella, or the dulce de leche and strawberry sundae with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, fresh strawberries and a wafer, all topped with shavings of toasted coconut.
Eathouse Diner might not be pushing boundaries when it comes to the food but it's definitely one of the best designed rooms in town. Mark it up as another win for Redfern.