For a spot of sunshine on this rainy day, check out Benjamin Varela’s Sunset Diner in Avalon.
It’s just so… pink, millennial pink - you know, that trend that won’t go away. Except here it actually works against shades of peach and Art Deco-inspired curves.
Just like the pink, rounded edges are everywhere, from shiny stainless-steel tables surrounded by (pink) chairs to three rows of curved pink neon uniting bar and kitchen. Separating the service areas from the long, narrow dining space is an eat-at counter created with glass bricks that themselves have a faint pink tinge.
Throw in leafy green tropical plants breaking things up and a backyard full of shaggy umbrellas, pink street-art and more living greenery, and a very well chosen font, Sunset Diner screams Miami. This city (and financial hub) of Florida has a very high concentration of well-preserved Art Deco buildings in its South Beach area.
With the popular griddle dogs and the onion rings both unavailable on the day I dined, we settled for burgers and Broccoli Bites ($8). Sounding way too healthy for a American-inspired diner snack, these well-seasoned, crunchy green balls are actually a surprising win, mostly because they’re cooked so quickly their interiors stay crisp and green.
While I stay faithful to the 'Shake Shack' vibe with a Vanilla Malt Shake ($6) that's creamy, enjoyable, and not stingy on the malt, my dining companion hits up the on-tap craft beer range (from $8) finding something light and quaffable by local guys, 4 Pines. Our food arrives quickly on a metal tray, and is presented with a warm and friendly smile.
Tightly-wrapped burgers, like the Truffle Cheese Burger ($16) combining a tasty beef patty and truffle-dusted French fries with pickles, chipotle ketchup, aioli and American mustard, are generously proportioned and pleasantly saucy.
The paper-wrapping makes Sunset Diner burgers much easier to eat than I expected, even with a good amount of juicy, well-seasoned buttermilk chicken protruding from the Crispy Chicken Burger ($15). This baby is so thick I find it hard to wrap my laughing gear around the full collection of fried chook, herb and cabbage ‘slaw, pickles and lightly spicy chipotle mayo. but I give it a red-hot go, mostly because it’s pretty delicious, even if it is bested by the beef.
Watching a Newfoundland walk past my table without anybody batting an eyelid clues me in Sunset Diner is dog-friendly, making it a perfect spot to break up a family day at the beach, well if Sydney's summer sun decides to cooperate.
41 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach
Ph: (02) 9918 8776