Thursday, September 1, 2011

Darlinghurst Blog: Food: Jazz City Diner

The things I do for this blog. The sacrifices I make. For you, dear reader, I went to the 50s themed Jazz City Diner on Crown Street and ordered possibly the most fattening concoction I have ever consumed. The things we do for love. 

It was an ominous evening: the night when school student Madeleine Pulver, from Mosman, in Sydney's north, had a fake bomb clamped to her neck. 
I was desperate for news and spent most of the evening checking Twitter for updates to see if the NSW Police bomb disposal unit had managed to remove the suspected explosive device. 
Sitting with me in the booth at the shiny laminex-topped table were my old chum, Ruby Molteno, writer Peter Pigeon and a filmmaker who I like to call Double-O-7.
They were talking film, I was checking my Twitter account, and at some point I ordered the craziest thing on the menu.

The Jazz City Diner opened earlier this year and is just like a set from that old American TV show, Happy Days. Except there was no Fonz. There's just chefs in 50s style peaked caps and waitresses in pink diner-dresses with cutesy aprons and name badges. 
The room is kitted out with chrome trimmed tables and chairs and Cab Calloway's 1947 film track, Hi-De-Ho, was streamed through speakers and broadcast on small, retro-looking screens mounted on the walls. 

The menu is as American as apple pie, except there is no apple pie. Instead there is Banana Cream Pie with caramel drizzle ($12) or Pecan Pie with butter pecan ice cream ($10). 
On the savoury side are burgers, such as The Ultimate Texas Chili Cheese Burger with Texas-style spicy beef chili, guacamole, jalapeno, fried tortilla chips and cumin cream ($20) or Specialties, including Seafood Jambalaya, a spicy rice dish with an assortment of seafood, New Orleans andouille sausage and a sauce piquant ($28). 
The menu also has a Soups, Salads and Sides section that features Macaroni and Cheese ($12) and a Fried Green Tomato Salad with mixed greens and herbs and the choice of a buttermilk, green goddess or blue cheese dressing ($16). 

I would have loved to order a beer, but the diner isn't licensed, so I could only have an A&W-brand root beer ($5), while Ruby had a Jarritos-brand lime soda ($4.50). There are also milkshakes for a whopping $10 and ice cream sodas or spiders for $8. 

Double-O-7's meal was the first to come out of the kitchen and didn't look all that healthy. He only ordered the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings with onion rings and a citrus dipping sauce ($20; below) because he is obsessed with James Bond, and author Ian Fleming had a home in Jamaica called GoldenEye, which Double-O-7 made a pilgrimage to last year.

The dipping sauce for the wings came in a weird little toothpaste-style tube:

Ruby and Pigeon both ordered burgers ($15-$20), which they were very happy with. The burgers came with sweet potato fries, which was one of the few nods to healthy eating on the menu. Although I don't think they are that healthy, but possibly better for you than regular potato chips. Ruby's burger had a ground beef patty as well as Swiss brown mushrooms sauteed with caramelised onions and a ''blue cheese foam''.

But what you really want to know is what I ate. 
I had the Chicken and Waffles dish, which included a Belgian waffle, southern fried chicken pieces, spinach, chicken stock reduction and maple syrup ($18; below). 

It was quite bizarre and I wasn't really convinced about eating mouthfuls of chicken and waffle, so instead ate it as if it were two meals. First course: savoury chicken. Second course: sweet waffles. In that sense, it was quite well priced because I didn't have to bother with dessert. I don't recall the chicken stock reduction at all and the ''spinach'' was just the tiniest mound:

It's not something I would ever eat again, but I thought you, dear reader, would want to see what such a dish looked like - as I did. As for Madeleine Pulver, the bomb was declared a fake around midnight.

Jazz City Diner
238 Crown Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9332 2903

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