There’s nothing quite like the sudden jolt of euphoria you experience when you spot your meal slowly make its way from the restaurant kitchen to your table. Not only have I experienced this myself countless times, but I’ve also seen it happen to my friends. As soon as they see their meal, they sit upright in their seats. Their slightly bulging eyes lock onto that dish approaching from halfway across the room. The corners of their mouths gradually rise until they find themselves in an outright grin. This excitement can’t be helped and there’s no point fighting it. You just have to let your inner foodie take over.
Recently, during a visit to Redfern’s Pitt St Diner, I was once again hit by this feeling of pure and absolute joy. Here’s why:
The diner’s menu features what one has come to expect from some of Sydney’s best cafes: gourmet sandwiches and burgers, elaborate salads, flavourful pastas, seafood specials and, of course (for all the potato lovers out there), fries! When you factor in the cultural flair of the diner’s two French head chefs, it’s no wonder I struggled to choose my meal off the menu. Practically every dish called out to me to eat them, with some of my favourite ingredients like roast pumpkin, aioli, avocado, chorizo and gnocchi popping up across the menu.
But, unfortunately, I can only fit so much into my one stomach – it almost makes me jealous of cows and their four! So after a lot of internal debating and back-and-forth discussion with my companion, I selected Chef Manzo’s Beef Ragu with Housemade Pappardelle Pasta (weekday lunch menu, $22).
The second it was brought out for me, I knew it was love. It was just so vibrant and beautiful on the plate. That being said, I’m well aware that the phrase “you eat with your eyes” can only go so far when a dish looks impeccable but falls flat with your tastebuds. There was no such problem here though. The meat was exquisitely soft and was matched perfectly with Napoli sauce and spinach. All the ingredients complemented each other in just the right ways, with the pasta cooked to an ideal firmness – not too soft and not too hard, but the perfect balance!
The Pitt St Diner Burger Deluxe ($21) was also delicious, featuring a hearty combination of distinct flavours: beef, bacon, gherkins and tomato relish. It was packed with flavour without tasting as though it would clog my arteries (as is characteristic of some of the best, but unashamedly unhealthy, burgers). This dish also comes with fries, but it’s worth noting that Pitt St Diner also offers a separate side of Duck Fat Fries with Aioli ($10). This is great if you love a crunchy, thin fry with a richer flavour than standard fries.
If the phrase “duck fat” scares you, then the side of Broccolini and Beans ($10) might be a welcome addition to your meal, being sautéed with butter and hazelnut to give it a smooth finish and flavour that isn’t overpowering. Instead, it does what a side dish should do: it complements the main meal.
Pitt St Diner also offers a great range of drinks, with beer, cider, wine, coffee, tea, fresh juices and shakes making up the beverage menu. I had to satisfy my sweet tooth so I went for the Banana, Cinnamon and Honey Smoothie ($7), which is a classic flavour combination that the diner definitely serves up on the sweeter side.
However, fresh juices made to order are always appealing and the Citrus Zinger ($6) with orange, lemon and fresh ginger is a great lighter option for those (like myself!) who enjoy ginger-based drinks. Think ginger beer but without the fizz and with a citrus hit!
Pitt St Diner’s convenient location just a few minutes’ walk from Redfern Station makes it a wonderful option for weekday lunches, weekend brunches and weekly dinners. Its pleasant, cosy atmosphere coupled with its position alongside a quiet local street provide a relaxing setting where you can just sit back and smile as you devour your lovely meal.
But be warned, the chefs’ pretty plating skills may induce a jolt of euphoria.
Pitt St Diner
96 Pitt Street, Redfern, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 8668 5936
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Pitt St Diner