PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Newtown is at a half-way stage of the gentrification process. Stores that sell second hand books and eclectic knick-knacks now neighbour hipster cafes and bars. With a beauty salon on one side and an adult costume shop on the other, Hartsyard is the perfect fit. The restaurant is run by husband and wife team Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart, who met at a restaurant in New York. Llewellyn was the chef, and Hart the hostess, and they've maintained this set-up at Hartsyard.
Inspired by the couple's early years spent living in the countryside, decor is a seemingly effortless blend of urban grunge and barnyard chic, evoked by recycled wood, shelves made of iron plumbing pipes and frayed tea cloths used as napkins. The marble topped bar is a focal point of the intimate space, moodily lit by single, caged lightbulbs.
Hart is from Sydney, but runs front of house with an air of charming, homely hospitality that is echoed by all waitstaff. In fact, we think this is some of the best service Sydney has seen in a long time. The country vibe continues through the menu, with dishes broken into ‘seed' for entree and ‘feed' for mains, all designed to share. Everything is made in house, from breads and pastries to syrups used for ginger beer and creaming soda (the non-pink, authentic American kind). The wine list is updated seasonally, always from artisan, biodynamic, organic sources. Ale and cider is from The Rocks Brewing Co, and if you're feeling adventurous, bacon-infused Jack Daniels features on the cocktail list. New York born ex-Wildfire chef Llewellyn champions seasonal cooking, and has a knack for elevating Americana classics with newfangled flare and technique. So, deep fried chicken is cold smoked, and beef short ribs come with bone marrow and kimchi. Though Llewellyn wears a baseball cap in the kitchen, there are more outwardly elegant dishes that differentiate Hartsyard from the ‘dude-food' bandwagon. A notable dish is the pecorino tartufo fondue, boasting the consistency of pouring cream, paired with a tangy raw salad of mushrooms, artichoke and celery with crisp cavolo nero and a brushstroke of buttery parmesan custard.
Saving room for dessert is imperative, as you can't leave without trying the infamous peanut butter and banana sundae, with pretzel ice cream, banana doughnuts and salted fudge - your days worth of calories in a retro glass bowl, complete with cherry on top. It's that old meets new that Hartsyard does so well, and it is so very Newtown.