September 2024

Eat Here

eathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinereathouse dinerText: Gabriel Knowles Images: Eathouse Diner

Opening a restaurant probably isn’t the best way to make a buck. Or get a good nights sleep. As Bryan Brown says in one of those films where he plays a laconic character: “Why would you want to do that? You’re until midnight washing dishes and back up at dawn buying produce.” Lenna Boord, along with Age Durrant and Selena Murray, has just opened the Eathouse Diner in Sydney’s Redfern, an inner-city suburb on the cusp of full blown gentrification. Boord is on four hours a night sleep since the diner opened a little over two weeks ago, and it can’t have been much more in the weeks leading up to its launch either.

“To be honest if someone had sat us down at the beginning and said it’s going to cost this much and take this long we probably wouldn’t have done it. We probably would have looked for another site that had a set up kitchen or at least set up electrics,” she admits cheerily. That’s the thing about hospitality, it is, like so many of the best things that we do for each other, a task that can seem utterly thankless in its darkest moments but more often than not is the most rewarding we’ll ever do.

“We decided to do a diner because it felt more casual. It’s not precious. We want people to come in and relax so a diner seemed perfect for that. If we’d gone for white table cloths it would have felt fraudelent. We wanted to create an environment where people feel like they’re eating at a friends house and are relaxed,” Boord continues before explaining how her time spent in American diners has shaped her hospitality philosophy.

“The diner experience for me in America, was very humble so I wanted to bring that back here.”

While the title and counter may be straight out of an American diner there’s a multicultural feel to Eathouse, both aesthetically and in the kitchen. From the South American brunch items to the tapas bar decor and the angled-just-so-you-can-see-in-the-kitchen mirror there’s a little bit of everything from where the three friends have travelled. In Murray’s case, the former produce specialist has brought nearly all of the knick-knacks that adorn the diner back from her travels.

With a chef in Durrant who spent five years working in graphic design along with stints at Sydney institutions Sean’s Panorama and Longrain, the aesthetic is maintained. Generous servings are kept in check by large, stark white plates that ensure the nourishment on offer remains foremost in mind.

“We wouldn’t even try to have a restaurant if the food wasn’t the type of food we like to eat,” Boord says, “it’s a reflection of our collective personalities.”

“There’s talk of another bar but we’ll see. To be honest when we opened we were so behind schedule that we had to set a date to open on because we were losing so much money on rent. So we did and we’ve been so busy ever since we haven’t had time to catch up on things like putting tags on jars, getting a business card or finalising our website!”

Eathouse Diner

Next story: First Shot – Josh Robenstone