Head to The Eastern at Bondi Junction Westfield and escape for an evening of vintage New Orleans-inspired hospitality.
We sampled the new GoodTime Diner and found the only thing missing was the authentic Southern Drawl from behind the bar. This said, after a few of their smokey cocktails you could easily pick it up yourself...
The Eastern has long been a Bondi Junction staple. Good Time Burger bar on the ground floor serves the ever popular gourmet-style burger in a casual setting (you may have previously passed their attention-seeking red Kombi van). Now the Good Time brand has extended upstairs to a more carefully thought-out venue, replacing the space previously occupied by Greek restaurant Anatoli. The Diner’s welcoming guests after 6pm with a hearty serving of Southern charm, so we paid a visit to sample the offerings.
The vibe is clean, classic vintage New Orleans. A mix of Art Nouveau styling has been deployed across the restaurant: black, blue and white geometric patterns spread across the floor. A fine marble bar sits central to the diner, and is surrounded by low-hanging globes, vintage festival posters, and old school booths (ideal if you’re in a group). Hanging plants mask the thoroughly modern Bondi Junction exterior so you can pretend that you may actually be on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.
Sink your teeth into some Southern Charm at GoodTime Diner
The vibe: Classic art nouveau with some gritty New Orleans charm.
Cuisine: Southern, cajun, smoked meats.
Ideal for: Date night or catching up with a group of friends over cocktails.
Bartender’s choice: Von Tease: Apple Liqueur, Vodka, Pineapple and Basil. The basil is the reason to try this cocktail.
Try the… Mac'N’Cheese. It's 5-star Mac'N'Cheese.
By the way...The Negroni Sour cocktail is served with actual bacon strips.
Speaking of Bourbon, let’s head to the bar. The wine list is succinct and easy to navigate – but do grab a cocktail. Anytime is cocktail time, and Good Time Diner offers something new: go for the ‘Smoked Apple Side Car’ if you're a Bright Young Thing looking to sneak a Prohibition drink. Featuring smoked apple that's made in-house by the expert hands in the kitchen, this variation on the classic Sidecar is fruity, mature and smoky, and a great food match with their meat platter. It's what we imagine the Great Gatsby kids were sipping on their chaise-lounges.
The menu focus is on classic slow-cooked meat, typical of the Cajun cuisine of Louisiana and the American South. The Diner's point of difference is the use of their Yoder – a kind of slow-cooking American barbeque that gently cooks the cuts for over 12 hours. As you arrive, grab some of the nachos to share (the salsa is to die for) then move on to a share-platter. Even though there's a few tempting dishes on offer, don't over-do the sides. The 'Smoked Meat Platter' ($55) labelled for 'two' could easily feed three or four people, as our waitress kindly pointed out before we made the mistake of over-ordering. The platter is heaped with rich and creamy barbecue pulled-pork, a perfect barbecue spiced chicken, Cajun charred corn and a juicy 12-hour Beef Short Rib . It feels like a festival of meat. Given the use of the Yoder, the premium cuts are slow-cooked to an outstanding consistency and infused with a delicious smoked flavour. This Yoder is definitely Good Time Diner’s power-source – and the salsa is their power-sauce.
The Diner is not ideal for your #cleaneating vegetarian or vegan friends who will be, quite frankly, horrified, and should better head further down the road to Bondi beach. However, if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere to lose yourself in for an evening, Good Time Diner is definitely one to try. We left feeling more than satisfied. It’s easily accessible via the Bondi Transport hub and if the mood takes you, on the weekend, head upstairs at the newly opened El Topo Basement to continue on the night.
Address: The Eastern, 500 Oxford St, Bondi Junction
Opening hours: Daily 6pm onwards
Phone number: (02) 9387 7828