Sloppy joes, corn dogs and 1920s jazz. The current Sydney obsession with American diner food looks far from over, but Bayswater Diner looks to offer a swankier experience, with smart uniformed waitstaff, a refined dining room and a comprehensive menu that runs from cobb salad to gumbo. It's the latest venture by Peter Lew and Nicole Galloway (Fei Jai and Barrio Chino), bringing new life to the site below Concrete Blonde.
Mary Arribiata $17
Pork fat washed Finlandia vodka with lemon juice, olive brine, tomato and Tabasco
Root beer float $7
The drinks menu has a determined American focus, with variations on the prohibition classic Long Island Iced Tea, cocktails with cherry cola and root beer, and adult shakes like the Dirty Girl Scout ($13). The creamsicle float (soda and ice cream) makes a rare appearance, but I'm all about the Bloody Mary- named a Mary Arribiata here - that's super peppery with Tabasco but not noticeably porky despite the mention of pork fat washed vodka.
Soft shell crab po' boy with lime mayo $14
We are happy to share dishes tonight, starting with a carnival of mini corn dogs ($12) that combine soft frankfurters with the sweet fluffy crunch of deep-fried cornmeal batter.
The soft shell crab po' boy is heftier than you'd expect, a tangle of crab sandwiched with shredded red cabbage in a crusty torpedo roll. The crab isn't as strong in flavour as you'll find in Japanese restaurants, but the batter is admirably light and crisp.
Chicken wings in Bayswater hot sauce $10
The chicken wings, too, suffer a little in the seasoning department despite a promise of hot sauce, but a liberal coating of blue cheese sauce helps things along.
Smoked pulled pork served on a hoagie roll $18
Battered onion rings with honey on the side $8
The smoked pulled pork, on the other hand, offers plenty to cheer about - shreds of intensely smoky pork sauced up and slapped onto a hot dog-style bun.
Battered onion rings come with a side of honey. It's a strange concept at first, but if you exercise restraint and trail it lightly across the surface (not drowning it like I first did) you can easily trick your mind into thinking the onion is caramelised and naturally sweet.
The double Bayz cheeseburger $18
You can order the cheeseburger with a single patty ($12) but why stop there when you can double the fun? The meat patties are juicy and the cheese has that just-melted wilt to the edges. Suze is also ecstatic that the salad comes on the side - a pile of fresh tomato slices and butter lettuce leaves.
Mac and cheese with bacon $11
Burnt end beef brisket sloppy joe with slaw and potato salad $18
We'd been looking forward to the macaroni and cheese but there's a distinct shortage of cheese sauce, missing the stretchy strings of molten cheese.
There's a blanket of cheese on the sloppy joe however, oozing over a bed of savoury mince cooked in tomato sauce.
Half rack hickory smoked pork ribs with slaw and potato salad $35
I'd chosen the half rack of hickory smoked ribs, not as smoky as the pulled pork but ridiculously tender. The meat falls right off the bone as soon as I attempt to separate the ribs.
Pecan pie with JD cream $12
You can make your own sundae for dessert, with your choice of ice cream, syrup and toppings that include Oreos, mini marshmallows and Reese's pieces. There's also a New York baked cheesecake and cherry choc fudge brownies but we stick with the pecan pie, an individual tart that's crowned with a alcoholic-tinged dollop of Jack Daniels flavoured cream.
Key lime mousse with mango $13
We'd been warned that our lava cake order would take 15 minutes but the kitchen must have taken pity on us for waiting, as they send out a complimentary serve of key lime mousse from the menu. The mousse is tangy with lime, wrapped around a core of mango gelee, but on a menu of homestyle classics, I'm wondering why they don't offer the heartier and much more satisfying key lime pie instead.
Peanut butter chocolate lava cake with salted caramel ice cream $14
We can smell the sugar sweet overload of our peanut butter chocolate lava cake even before it arrives at our table. The chocolate lava cake is moist but it's the core of what tastes like pure peanut butter that threatens to stick to the roof of your mouth. Salvation comes in the form of a salted caramel ice cream that's cool and creamy.
There are some hits and misses tonight, but it's a relief to see an American menu that extends beyond the ubiquitous slider and hot dog. Now all we need is an oyster po' boy and some hush puppies. Then we can talk.
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33 Bayswater Road, Potts Point, Kings Cross, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8021 3040
Wednesday to Sunday 5pm - 12midnight
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10/22/2012 01:32:00 a.m.