At Bayswater Diner you can build your own sundae. No longer will you look on helplessly as your pre-built sundae arrives at the table, shiny glacé cherry mocking you from high up on that pile of whipped cream. This time, you’ll call the shots. Maybe it’ll be salted-caramel ice cream showered in tiny marshmallow bits and Reese’s Pieces. Or you might be more of the strawberry ice cream and hot fudge and nuts type. That’s OK too.
The new restaurant from Nicole Galloway and Peter Lew (they of Fei Jai
and Barrio Chino
) is an ode to American diner food. Such is the pair’s love for Americana, they even flew in a shipment of cult burger phenomenon In’n’Out (famous for refusing to open branches of their burger chain away from the southwestern coast of America, let alone Australia) as a one-off publicity stunt at Barrio Chino a little while back. They sold out in seconds.
It may not surprise you then to learn they’re serving single and double-decker cheeseburgers here. They’re pretty good, too: soft white bun, thin beef patty, melted yellow cheese, pickles, lettuce and tomato on the side if you must. Take yours with a Pabst Blue Ribbon ($12 a bottle, including hipster tax) beer and a squeeze of French’s mustard (free!)
It’s a tour across the barbecue belt at Bayswater Diner. There’s brisket on a long roll (described on the menu as a ‘burnt end brisket sloppy Joe’), toasted with melted cheese. It’s sort of a mix between barbecued-and-braised. The burnt ends (those firmer, stringy rough ends you get on a piece of meat that’s been barbecued slow and low) aren’t immediately obvious, but maybe they just get lost – there’s a lot of meat on that sandwich. Then there are the pork ribs (a fairly exxy $35 for a half-rack), doused in sweet, sticky barbecue sauce and served with an underwhelming, slightly watery coleslaw and a potato salad fragrant with dried herbs. Go for some grilled corn instead.
Either dine at the long bar (set up very sweetly like an old-school milk bar, with black-and-white striped paper straws) or take a seat in the large dining room. Designed by Ian Nessick, it’s all about mismatched Deco-style lights bathing the room in a soft golden glow, etched mirrors and nude, soft leather banquettes. It’s an interesting choice for such a swing-from-the-hip menu, as is the music, which is more Glenn Miller than American Grafitti.
It’s hard to see Bayswater Diner not doing well. It’s right in the heart of the ’Cross, they serve a decent burger and some interesting American beers. Hey – you could even just drop by the bar for a milkshake. Any bar that lets us pimp up a shake with a slug of bourbon is alright by us.