Dean's Diner - Newtown, Sydney
On first impressions, it can be one of the ubiquitous takeaways seen in each conurbation across the Australian sub-continent. Deep fried stuff, burger buns and the quick takeaway coffee. After my first visit, I found Dean's Diner to be more of a budding Hard Rock Cafe, without the frills, but with the friendly service, framed pictures that defer to the Age of Rock and Roll and a practical neighbourliness of its own. I had a bacon and egg wrap for a late breakfast on my recent drop by there, together with the usual cuppa of cappuccino. A poster under the counter for a concert by the Flight of the Conchords caught my eye (image above). Most customers that morning seem to know the place well and just had takeaway. Great 1980s music was blaring away.
Spanish Harlem, Australian Crawl, Love Shack, Dixie Chicks. If the clientele are fans of such tracks, then their average age must be getting up there - baby boomers! However, as you can figure out above, the food is ever ready teenage like or for the twenty somethings, nutrition and sustenance for people in a hurry, perhaps wanting instant gratification, but also providing the suburban comfy food feel. Fast food, street food. Perfect for the Newtown crowd, who contrary to perceptions, may not all want fancy and exotic cuisine everyday of their lives living there.
The diner is not far off from the corner of King Street, Newtown's main strip, and Goddard Street, where bright and captivating murals have been etched on the brick, for passer-bys to ponder and for residents to have a kind of landmark. The image below reminds me of Balinese or southern Chinese lions.
It can be fun going through in detail their varied and numerous menu items. The names of such items recall rock bands, great hits and the feel of another era. Why the Beach Boys are actually buttered fish can be debatable, but they make selection of the burgers, wraps and seafood combos interesting and delightful. Critics may say the diner is just an ordinary takeaway and milk bar, but little touches like even in the labels of the food items help to make us think otherwise. The food is reasonably priced. There are many details to appreciate in the surroundings of the diner, from the clock to the framed photographs on the walls. There is even a tray of Turkish balaclava available, apart from a diverse offering of canned and bottled drinks inside the fridges. No Ben and Jerry ice cream flavours though at this stage, but you never know. Speak to Marie and Steve? Maybe not, as B & J's could jar the perception and reality of an old fashioned milk dairy burger joint that Dean's Diner has - and value - in many circles.
Open late most evenings (including till the very late 230am from Thursday to Saturday nights), Dean's Diner can be said to both contribute to and incorporate the lifestyle in one of inner Sydney city's cosmopolitan and buzzing suburbs. My impressions of Dean's Diner on my most recent visit are:
Atmosphere: Classic Aussie burger joint.
Location: Cosmopolitan and with easy access.
Taste: Good enough.
People Engagement: Neighbourhood feel.
Service: With a smile.
Fav Dish Experienced: Got to go back more to try more selections.
Best Time to Visit: Any time
Would I Return?: Yes