R.J. Lines sets sights on Summer Hill

On the money: R.J. Lines (right), David Murphy and Nina Alidenes.
On the money: R.J. Lines (right), David Murphy and Nina Alidenes. Photo: Steven Siewert

R.J. Lines, the former chef at Neutral Bay Diner with the Hollywood name [psst, it’s really Russ], has finally settled on his next venture, a restaurant in Summer Hill.

One Penny Red will open next month. Named after a rare stamp, the moniker is a nod to the restaurant’s location in a decommissioned post office.

"I looked at the site and fell in love with it," says Lines, who has partnered in the venture with local food operators Nina Alidenes and David Murphy.

The chef maintains the light rail and new developments will build on the inroads that cafe culture has already made in Summer Hill.

He cited the recent opening of Chic Pea @ Plunge as another positive for the suburb's evolving evening trade.

Lines, who cut his teeth at Longrain before landing good reviews at Neutral Bay, came close to opening on the Balmain peninsula before settling on One Penny Red.

The talented and personable chef says a few of the critics' favourites, such as his pork belly and kingfish skewer, have made the trip across the harbour from Neutral Bay.

A new repertoire will also be unveiled, with wild rabbit, chestnut and muscatel pie, and a salad of crispy pork, fennel and cuttlefish on the opening menu.

"It’ll seat 50 downstairs in the restaurant and about the same upstairs in the wine bar where we’ve kept the old hoist they used when it was a post office," Lines says.