Nestled in the established Newtown neighborhood – which includes Bloodwood, Spencer Guthrie, Midnight Special – is Hartsyard, a ‘seed and feed’ restaurant featuring produce-led, comfort food.
For American owner and chef Gregory Llewellyn, Newtown was the ideal location for his first restaurant with Australian wife and business partner Naomi Hart because of its excellent mix of Venice Beach, California and New York vibes.
You get the feeling the sense of community is a strong source of inspiration for Hartsyard. The lovely hardwood the makes up part of the fit-out (designed by architect Ashley Couch) was salvaged from a nearby demolition site and Hart, a former musical theatre performer, has foregone the no bookings trend in respect for the many local families and nearby theatre goers.
Not only that; herbs and greens come from the greenhouse out back, while veggies are harvested from a garden not far away. And you might catch a glimpse of Hart collecting some radishes and veggies for the night’s special.
Guests can dine in the 36-seater restaurant, or at the front bar area (surprisingly wide and spacious for Newtown), where the couple’s time living in New York becomes bleatingly obvious. Think Manhattans, Pickle Back Martinis, Jamaican Mules.
The menu, which is split into ‘seed’ (lighter options) and ‘feed’ (more substantial dishes), is meant for sharing.
According to Llewellyn, the menu is his take on modern-day comfort food, and the pork terrine with pickled vegetables, crispy pig-tails with buttermilk dressing and cold-smoked fried chicken with gravy would tend to substantiate his claims.
The dish that has everyone talking is the poutine: a Canadian-style kebab with oxtail gravy, fried potatoes, crispy beef threads, cheddar and beer sauce.