My new favourite destination-within-a-destination on the Coast is The Shed, a beautifully restored century-old railway siding shed perched alongside the train line at Palmwoods.

I liken the once-derelict shed to a grand old dame who has been given a new lease of life. It now houses a delightful vintage emporium and a relaxed dining bistro, Chew Chew.

Time seemed to stop in its tracks the Sunday afternoon I first visited this enchanting place that’s fun and interesting to explore. As soon as I set foot inside The Shed I felt a sense of calm wash over me. Here I could breathe and take my time.

It was like stepping back to a less complicated time before technology became so pervasive, a time perhaps when family entertainment meant huddling around the wireless listening to radio plays.

Every detail of the restoration tells a story as much of the original existing building materials were used because of the heritage overlay. History-imbued timber floorboards span the entire length of the building, and rusted and worn tin roofing has been repurposed as wall panels in the bistro dining area, giving it a thoroughly rustic charm.

At the far end of the bistro is the private dining room, which can comfortably seat 14 guests for a small wedding reception, Christmas party, milestone birthday, baby shower or any celebration that calls for an intimate setting, even a boardroom meeting.

The bistro can also be booked for private functions for around 80 guests.

Georgian furniture and mid-century pieces sit side-by-side, original Belle Epoque posters adorn the walls, and the imposing wall-mounted moose head and cow rug give the space a French provincial-meets-New York kind of vibe.

It’s a massive eclectic mix of eras and styles, but somehow, it all comes together beautifully; that’s the charm of this place.

My designer friend, Francesca, joined me, and I couldn’t think of a better place for two creative souls to enjoy a girls’ lunch. It’s a place to stop and let time go lightly while enjoying good, unpretentious food and a cocktail or glass of wine.

The bistro staff were friendly, attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. I started with a beautifully aromatic cocktail aptly named Young & Beautiful: gin, watermelon, rose water and lemon juice topped with rose. Each ingredient was perfectly balanced and a delicate waft of rosewater tickled my nostrils before it hit the palate. Divine.

Francesca had the Bel. Bev Co pinot grigio, which paired perfectly with the seafood marinara linguine. The dish was presented with two plump scallops in their shells, atop an impressive mound of seafood and linguine.

Everything about this dish was fresh and abundant, from the juicy king prawns to the perfectly cooked mussels. The tomato basil sugo was rich and slightly sweet to support the hero of the dish, the seafood.

I chose the traditional club sandwich because it fondly reminded me of family lunches as a kid at our local swimming club, albeit this was a more upmarket version of a ’70s classic favourite.

Thick slices of rustic white bread layered with cos lettuce, sliced tomato, Swiss Gruyère, grilled chicken and bacon topped with roast garlic aioli. I wondered how I was going to get my chops around the high sandwich stack, but I managed it and was rewarded by the crunch of crisp lettuce, fresh tomato, salty bacon and thick, juicy chicken breast. It was served with a moreish side of beer-battered chips.

Chew Chew offers wholesome country food that fills the plate in a relaxed, ambient dining setting. Owners Dianna and Geoff Ryan are big on creating a family atmosphere where people feel welcome. For them, this is the basis of what hospitality is all about — making visitors feel welcome and cared for.

This philosophy is the foundation of their business approach, from how they select every single piece of stock for the emporium down to using seasonal and local produce to create awesome meals.

It’s with this passion that they open the front doors daily to welcome customers for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cakes with a side of curios and collectables.

The alfresco dining area on the platform deck has an altogether different feel, grungy and low-key. The owners intentionally chose to keep the graffiti on the side of the old railway shed and even had a local graffiti artist do some work over the existing graffiti tags to tie it together thematically. It’s a funky alternative space to sit and watch the trains go by with a completely different look and feel to the rest of The Shed.

I was rather taken with one of the new pieces of street art, a resplendent vintage lady with this quote beneath: “She’s an old soul with young eyes and a vintage heart and a beautiful mind”. To me, this sums up the entire shed and its spellbinding effect.

There’s even a herb garden and edible flowers planted out back, which are used on the bistro’s cakes and in the kitchen.

The emporium is both a charming nod to yesteryear and a trendy, vintage arty space. It’s a haven for creatives and anyone who has an eye for good taste and décor items.

It’s little wonder set designers from Movie World are known to procure pieces from The Shed.

If you love the phenomenally popular Netflix series, Bridgerton, or even Hamptons style interior design, then you’ll love what’s on offer at The Shed. This fusion of old and new is very on-trend.

Dianna is an interior designer who masterfully designed this eclectic space brimming with pre-loved furniture, vintage curiosities, art and décor, tastefully peppered with contemporary homewares, jewellery, gifts, plants and soft furnishings.

Dianna and Geoff are particular about what passes the threshold of the emporium. Everything must be either beautiful or interesting, of high quality and condition or collectable and quirky.

Among my special finds were a vintage Dolce & Gabbana bling clutch purse, burlesque-style black vinyl thigh boots, a Louis Vuitton travel bag and suitcase and a vintage Royal Worcester china dining set from England perfectly matched with contemporary, yet vintage style, cut crystal glasses.

The business also gets a big tick for sustainability from its use of recycled building materials to its kitchen garden and recycled furniture, décor and bric-a-brac.

The emporium is all about giving pre-loved things new life. Dianna says pre-loved furniture fits perfectly in modern homes as one-of-a-kind items, and given their history, they can even be talking points.

This design approach is perfect for farmhouse, coastal Cape Cod style, Hamptons and vintage eclectic homes, right through to contemporary Australian homes.

It’s hard to leave The Shed empty-handed. Francesca made a rare find, a fashion bible titled The Label The Lady The Lifestyle featuring couture fashion by designer Keri Craig. Also tucked under her arm were vintage giftboxes by Chanel and Tiffany and a vintage French tea box.

I couldn’t go past a set of Waterford crystal champagne coupes, cut in a style as seen on Bridgerton. This place is a magnet for style queens, arty types and anyone who just loves beautiful things. I know I’ll be back.

theshedsca.com.au