The Eastern Hotel has gone through some major changes over the last few years. I could remember when there were club nights on Wednesday back when I was doing Christmas casual work in Westfields. Nowadays, the Eastern holds a few restaurants in its multi-level complex including El Topo, GoodTime Burgers and GoodTime Diner. Last month, I was invited to sample a selection of New Orleans-inspired dishes from GoodTime Diner's new The Dinner Club menu. Apart from our table, the ambiance of the restaurant wasn't too noisy and had a New Orleans/American diner feel with the lighting and the decor.
Stoney Peak Sparkling
Morgans Bay Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
Since it was a Friday night, I was more than keen to sample a couple of beverages. The Stoney Peak Sparkling was quite light and sweet. On the other hand, the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc was a perfect match with the Charcuterie Plate - especially the cheese.
GoodTime Charcuterie Plate ($15.00)
We started the night off with the Charcuterie Plate consisting of smoked pork belly, smoked cheese, gherkins, smoked nuts, salami. This might be because of my love for cured meats and cheese but I'm loving the look of everything on this Chartcuterie plate. The smoky flavour from the pork belly and the cheese complemented well together, while I personally cannot get enough of the salumi. The nuts were seasoned with various spices which added a good hit to the taste buds. Would definitely order this again.
Garlic Bread ($4.00)
When I saw this on the menu and on the table, I didn't have high expectations. However when I took a bite of this. I was amazed at the softness of the bread compared to other joints where the bread can be too hard and crust. The garlic wasn't as strong and the butter was light, which suited my tastes.
Charred Cajun Corn ($4.00)
Another dish I enjoyed was the Cajun Corn. While it was quite spicy with all the coated paprika, the corn was so juicy, buttery and saucy as you bite into it. Worth the messiness on your lips!
Mac N Cheese ($6.00)
The dish that was a hit for everyone that evening was the Mac N Cheese. So much cheesy goodness and you can't help but be amazed at how it was presented in the small pot. Despite all the creaminess and the gooey cheese, the pasta remained al dente enough. The coated breadcrumbs on top of the mac n cheese added a crispy texture to what was most a creamy and cheesy dish.
Southern Spiced Chicken, 12 Hour Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib
By the time that the generous main plates showed up, I was already feeling quite full but I gotta soldier on haha. I was instantly attracted to the 12 Hour Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib...which looked a lot like a chocolate brownie! While I was bummed that it wasn't a chocolate brownie, I was pleased by how tender this short rib really was. The meat melted in your mouth and the barbecue sauce added the extra tangy softness to the beef.
The other main dish on that meat plate was the Southern Spiced Chicken, which was rubbed with loads of seasoning and various spices. While I enjoyed digging into the juicy meat, I loved the spiced Cajun rub on the chicken skin that just brings excitement as it rolls on your tongue.
Fennel, Goats Cheese, Pear and Spinach Salad ($12.00)
Because of all that guilt from the previous dishes, it was good to see a couple of hearty and decadent salads on the table. The fennel, goats cheese, pear and spinach salad had a savoury and sweet crunch from the fennel, spinach and pear while tossed with small crumbs of cheese. Quite light and refreshing after all the dishes we've had so far.
Cous Cous, Chickpea, Pine Nuts and Roast Pumpkin Salad ($12.00)
The cous cous, chickpea, pine nuts and roast pumpkin salad was one of the final dishes I've sampled that night. This salad was more decadent than the fennel salad because of the amount of cous cous, pumpkins and chickpeas but it was nonetheless quite tasty.
I was satisfied by the dishes I've tried at GoodTime Diner. There was a casual dining kind of vibe that I've seen at most new restaurants opening up recently but not too noisy either. While Bondi Junction isn't an area I would venture to as much these days, I would certainly come back again to try some of the other New Orleans-inspired dishes on the menu. They even serve the burgers from GoodTime Burgers at this restaurant too if you keen for the Juicy Lucy burger and more. Depending which night you go, GoodTime Diner offers a range of daily specials including $10 all you can eat wings on Wednesday and $25 family feast on Sunday. With the spacious decor, this would be a great venue for groups whether it's a party or after work drinks.
The Dinner Club set menu is $39 and is currently available on Friday and Saturday night with sittings available at 7-9pm or 8-10pm.
Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined at GoodTime Diner as a guest, courtesy of Carlos of CRPR. Opinions are however, my own.
The Eastern Hotel
Level 1, 500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022
(02) 9387 7828
Mon-Sun: 6:00pm - 11:00pm