By Jimmy Wright
I’m always a bit dubious about restaurants in shoppings centres. I rarely eat in food courts unless forced. I’m one of those that would prefer to go hungry; I live to eat rather than eat to live. So when I got my first Sydney Chic brief to review the Good Time Diner on level 1 at the Eastern Hotel inside Westfield Bondi Junction I was a little taken aback. Chic, I questioned?
Think meat, think slow cooked, think Deep South smoke and spice. “New Orleans food,” said Mark Twain, "is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin” and we sure did have a great time at Good Time.
We started with the Charcuterie Platter which is a smorgasbord of Smoked Pork Belly, Smoked Cheese, Gherkins, Smoked Nuts & Salumi. The pork belly was the stand out of the night, deliciously fatty in all the right places and so wafer thin as to appear guilt free; it’s melt in the mouth. The entree was combined with a couple of cocktails; it was Thursday night and the weekend fast approaching, I am meant to be on Dry July but it’s not been going so well; I figured I may as well enjoy it. The cocktail menu is an interesting twist on the classics, a theme park approach.. I had a Negroni Sour featuring Campari, Amaro, Cranberry, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup and Orange Bitters; it was a little sweeter that I expected or wanted especially when I compare it to the traditional Negroni which is my bitter sweet poison of choice. But at Good Time you are in the US of A where everything is sweeter that you expect. My partner in crime opted for the Smoked Apple Side Car which combined Applejack, Cointreau, Smoked Apple Compote, Apple Juice and Lemon Juice; there were no complaints there.
Every weekday there is a special at Good Time Diner and Thursday is All-you-can-eat Ribs night. We decided to go a la carte in the name of variety and ordered the Mixed Meat Platter; Pulled Pork (slow cooked for 18 hours), 12 hr Beef Short Ribs, Southern Spiced BBQ Chicken with Chunky Chips and slaw), Mac n’ Cheese, and a Juicy Lucy Burger on the side. WOW was that a lot of food, even for two hungry guys straight after the gym we were beat before we managed the last bites of the huge burger. The meat patty was stuffed with mozzarella - YUM!
Pulled Pork, an Australian epidemic it would seem. To be honest I am a little over it but when we quizzed the stick thin waitress as to which salad we should order with our meal she said “I don’t know I only eat the meat and the pulled pork is amazing” so we changed our original order intentions and went for the platter instead. The pork was indeed one of the softest most succulent executions I have experienced in the last few months, and I have been subjected to a lot of pretty average offerings. It’s best matched with lashings of the Smoked Chipotle Mayo. The beef ribs were fall apart and real man’s food (next time I’m having full serve to myself) and the Chicken was blackened appropriately on the outside and moist on the inside.
Meat like this deserves great beer and Good Time serve up the best from Melbourne’s Matilda Bay Brewing Company; we had Itchy Green Pants and Fat Yak that complimented the smoky flavours perfectly, but a Shiraz from SA would do the trick too.
I’m trying to cut of sugar, unless it’s in alcohol, so didn’t try the dessert. The house made cheesecake looked great when it arrived and for an extra $3 you can have a serve of Sydney’s finest Gelato Messina on the side - he did (jealous much…). The owner of Good Times is according to staff best mates with the owner of Messina which is why they are the only eatery with rights to serve it up; it made a change not standing in line.
We left in a pleasant meat coma, my fear of shopping centre dining cured. I am going back for more.