American chef Gregory Llewellyn and Australian wife Naomi Hart had their first date in New York. When they moved back to Australia, Newtown seemed the best fit for their first restaurant. They liked its mix of Venice Beach and NYC vibes.

You get the feeling that community was a strong source of inspiration. The lovely hardwood the makes up part of the fit-out by architect Ashley Couch was salvaged from a nearby demolition site. Hart, a former musical theatre performer who now runs the front-of-house, foregoes the no bookings trend in respect for the many local families and nearby theatre goers.

In the 36-seater restaurant you’ll dine under hanging industrial lamps, but it’s in the spacious front bar that the couple’s time in New York becomes most obvious. The simple New York Sour contains Bulleit rye bourbon, lemon, sugar and a cabernet float. For more cocktails, head down the road to sister venue The Gretz.

The menu is split into “seed” (lighter options) and “feed” (more substantial dishes), all meant for sharing. Llewellyn uses a global mix of ingredients such as wombok, kaffir lime and foie gras, but always slots the finished product into some variation of American-influenced comfort food.

The fancy poutine remains a crowd favourite alongside dishes such as fried chicken, pulled pork and sweet potato with smoked honey.

All the venue’s herbs and greens come from the greenhouse out back; and veggies are harvested from a garden not far away.