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Monday, March 04, 2013

The Hub House Diner, Dulwich Hill

house burger at the hub house diner dulwich hill

The Hub House Diner looks like an eatery straight out of Surry Hils -- except it's actually in Dulwich Hill, and locals couldn't be happier. Booth seating, gas lamp-style lights overhead and a cheery mix of rainbow-painted metal furniture have brought a real buzz to a formerly struggling restaurant site.

outdoor tables at the hub house diner dulwich hill

Now it doesn't seem to matter when you walk past, but the restaurant is consistently filled with people. There's a bright cheery vibe to the place, with large plate glass windows creating a sense of welcoming openness.

We arrive for an early weekend dinner and can't help but notice the proliferation of kids. Families, groups and even a birthday dinner are dotted with little people, some absentmindedly picking at chips but most of them are staring at iPads, their faces illuminated.

fresh orange juice with raspberry coulis at the hub house diner dulwich hill
Cold pressed freshly squeezed orange juice with raspberry cloud $6

It's apparent that owners Dean and Daniella Papas have set about to create a family-friendly American-style diner. Head chef Joseph Sergio is behind the menu, littered with American burgers, soft shell tacos and sliders. There's also more substantial fare, including a 300gram grain-fed sirloin ($26.50), Tasmanian ocean trout ($26.50), tuna nicoise salad ($16.50) and a very hefty looking panko chicken schnitzel ($18).

Service is efficient and friendly and it doesn't take long for our drinks to arrive. We're told that a raspberry cloud is a homemade raspberry coulis, but to be honest, its splattered appearance on a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice looks more like a bloody accident. It's not particularly discernible in taste either.

peanut butter banana smoothie at the hub house diner dulwich hill
Peanut butter banana smoothie $8

The peanut butter banana smoothie, on the other hand, is much more satisfying. The smoothie is thick and creamy with a good balance of banana and peanut butter, blended with milk, ice cream and a dash of honey. In a refreshing change from many other places, it's not overly sweet either.

meatball sliders at the hub house diner dulwich hill
Meatball sliders with American Jack and BBQ aioli $15

Meatball sliders are all kinds of sexy with American Jack cheese melting every which way. The meatballs are a good size, juicy and daubed liberally with a rich tomato sauce.

southern fried chicken wings at the hub house diner dulwich hill
Bucket of Southern fried chicken wings with hot sauce $14

Southern fried chicken wings appear in a bucket as promised, but the batter has an odd sweetness that lingers on the palate. There's plenty of crunch but they remind me more of takeaway fried chicken than buttermilk marinated birds from the deep South.

We are keen on the hot sauce, served in a miniature glass milk bottle, which we slosh recklessly over everything.

popcorn chicken at the hub house diner dulwich hill
Popcorn chicken with Old Bay aioli and slaw $14

Much less of a hit is the popcorn chicken, chewy rubbery chicken bits in a mealy orange batter. It's a bewildering disappointment, especially given the fresh lively coleslaw next to it.

house beef burger at the hub house diner dulwich hill
House beef burger with fries $19

The burgers arrive on impressive wooden boards, shaped like a guitar body with one side recessed to hold a serve of fries. We've gone for the top of the line House beef burger, a sweet sesame seed bun sandwiching beef pattie, salad, bacon, egg and American Jack cheese - it's satisfying, if a little sweet, and I wish there'd been more of the promised hickory smoked barbecue sauce.

house beef burger at the hub house diner dulwich hill

It's easy to see why the Hub is such a magnet for locals. The concept is fun, there's food for the kids, a car park out back and they offer wine and BYO to suit even the most frazzled parent. We did find it a little noisy but if you're looking for a casual eat in a kid-friendly venue, the Hub House Diner has got you covered.

street frontage at the hub house diner dulwich hill

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The Hub House Diner on Urbanspoon

The Hub House Diner
410 New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9518 1887

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday 7am til late
Saturday and Sunday 7.30am til late
Closed on Mondays

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Dulwich Hill - Sideways Deli Cafe
Dulwich Hill - Strawberry Fields Patisserie

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21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/04/2013 01:56:00 am


  • At 3/04/2013 4:55 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    While some people might like a Surry Hills-like eatery in Dulwich Hill, I prefer actually going to Surry Hills if I wanted that type of restaurant.

  • At 3/04/2013 7:30 am, Blogger thesuzchef said…

    Food is presented really well - those meatball sliders look really good! As to taste, disappointing that it didn't entirely hit the mark but if they're full to the brim all the time I'm sure they don't particularly mind!

  • At 3/04/2013 7:58 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    OMG I want the bucket of southern fried chicken! I will have it all to myself :) all mine!

  • At 3/04/2013 8:22 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Wow, burgers have never looked so damn good at 8.20am in the morning!!! In time I hope they taste as good as they look. They really do look superb.

  • At 3/04/2013 8:27 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    I was wondering how long it'd be before you reviewed this place. I can almost see your shoulders slumping with the first bite of the popcorn chicken. What a shame! It sounds like a decent enough diner but being kid friendly may just delay a visit from me, however.

  • At 3/04/2013 8:53 am, Anonymous jess @ fushmush said…

    I'm a local and I've been up there once. I must admit I'm a little disappointed that the new restaurant in Dully is so niche. I would have preferred something with a little more variety. It's not somewhere where we will eat every week. My waistline wouldn't cope!

  • At 3/04/2013 9:51 am, Anonymous Sophie - thestickyandsweet.com said…

    "Meatball sliders are all kinds of sexy" - FACT!
    Every time I drive past Hub House it's packed so looks like Dulwich Hill is crying out for some more trendy venues. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come.

  • At 3/04/2013 10:08 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    sad to hear that the popcon chicken was disappointing, i love popcorn chicken but havent found any nice ones outside of melbourne!

  • At 3/04/2013 11:06 am, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    That's the way to go with the hot sauce! Pity about the fried chicken and popcorn chicken - I would've thought it was near impossible to make those sort of things bad!!

  • At 3/04/2013 12:09 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Helen I miss you. I meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeess you. I'm sending you a hug right..... NOW. I hope you got it. xo

  • At 3/04/2013 12:11 pm, Anonymous billy@a table for two said…

    THem meatball sliders do look good though. Dulwich Hill, who'd have thunk!?

  • At 3/04/2013 5:09 pm, Anonymous Lucas @ CoverVersions.tv said…

    Looks like just the ticket for a hungover lunch, not that I would find myself in such a condition, no sir. *looks innocent*

  • At 3/05/2013 10:46 am, Anonymous Holiday Baker Man said…

    I do love a burger. It's the thing we do when we come back from a big holiday! Great post!

  • At 3/05/2013 11:33 am, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    Shame about the popcorn chicken but that pb banana smoothie sounds divine! What a great local diner :)

  • At 3/05/2013 8:54 pm, Blogger Jeane M. said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 3/05/2013 8:55 pm, Blogger Mel said…

    This place was a dodgy chicken take-away shop when I lived in Dully...then a fruit shop (I think). Looks like a nice change for the suburb...imagine having fried chicken just a stones throw from your front door? Sigh.

  • At 3/06/2013 8:02 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Everything looks good Helen! House burger and popcorn chicken for me!

  • At 3/07/2013 7:56 pm, Anonymous Krista said…

    I'm also a local, and this place is obviously filling a hole in the market, as it's always packed. I've not been particularly impressed though. I went once for brunch, the food was fine, but the menu is seriously unexciting. Tried to go for an early lunch last Sunday. It was just before 12, when according to the menu, breakfast ends and lunch begins. But after being shown to our table, we were told we could only order off the all day breakfast menu (three items, none very interesting), as breakfast had finished and they weren't taking lunch orders till 12.30. We left.

    The coffee's pretty good though.

  • At 3/08/2013 2:21 pm, Anonymous bitemechoime said…

    yummy cummy

  • At 3/08/2013 9:43 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    All in all it looks like a great addition to Dulwich Hill, I am sure the locals are loving it. Such a shame about the popcorn chicken.

  • At 3/09/2013 4:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh no, food served on wooden boards! Hasn't that fad died out yet?



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