By S Haslam
It’s been 11 months since front-of-house Lara Brauer and chef Adam James saw the opportunity to sell their Mullumbimby cafe Punch and Daisy and take over the Poinciana in Mullumbimby shortly before Christmas 2017. They have turned it into Diner 55, a bar and casual diner-style restaurant right at the entrance to the town centre.
Since then, while retaining the low-key and relaxed vibe of the venue, they have given a light, modern feel to the bar and deck overlooking the spacious, outdoor, treed garden area. And, although the blues artefacts gathered by Bluesfest co-founder Keven Oxford have long gone, the venue retains its strong connection to music, being one of the venues for the iconic Mullumbimby Music Festival, as well as being a wonderful place to have a drink and listen to live music on any given night.
The space is generous for large groups and events, and there are monthly musical treats like the Barefoot Beats event and Diner 55’s new monthly event, Boogie Train.
Mullumbimby has remained relatively immune from the worst pretentiousness of Byron, but don’t be deceived by its low-key dress code. This is a relaxed joint that does it right; bartenders will whip you up a handmade cocktail, or if it’s not too busy they’ll even whip up one from a previous cocktail menu.
The excellent cocktails combined with American-style eats and bar snacks produced by chef Adam (who has worked in a range of Michelin-starred restaurants) make it easy to slip into a pleasant other-worldly atmosphere of drinks and conversation in this venue where the covered areas open up easily into the warm evenings.
‘As the name and style suggest, we wanted to bring an element of fun to the town,’ says Lara, ‘and provide another watering hole apart from our beloved Australian pubs. We wanted to create a space where locals and families could dine at ease with their children, and have access to great quality food, great, wine and cocktails.’
Personally, I love the cocktails on the deck, and for me the vegetarian omelette and sourdough, and the mushroom burger with slaw, are both standout dishes (and of course burgers taste pretty good with cold beer on a warm day). ‘Our food was always designed to be simple and accessible, with a combination of vegan, vegetarian and meat-lover favourites,’ says Adam.
Diner 55 offers a tasty choice of American-style dishes in smaller plates, larger plates and sides, so you can order a single dish and be done or share a large dish, add some fresh, pickled or fried sides or order anywhere in between. The menu includes roasted turmeric cauliflower, charred corncob, blackened broccolini, slow-cooked lamb ribs and truffled mac ’n’ cheese.
Diner 55. 55 Station St, Mullumbimby
6684 6515 or diner55.com