A space that was once home to a restaurant called The Gourmet Viking has been transformed into the most exciting restaurant Enmore has seen for a long time. Husband and wife team Gregory Llewellyn (chef) and Naomi Hart (front of house) have worked hard to create their ‘Seed & Feed’ style eatery, complete with greenhouse for herbs and flowers, benches made from rescued Tasmanian timber and carbonated water on tap.
Having followed the Hartsyard blog (chronicling the fit-out and start-up) for a few weeks now, I’ve been eagerly awaiting their opening night. Happily coinciding with our five-year anniversary, Mr Black had no choice but to join me.
The first thing you notice when you enter is the bar – it’s beautiful; marble meets industrial. Then there’s the menu, which I would happily order EVERYTHING off, including the cocktails.
We have to start somewhere, so decide to go with a classic dish – the pork terrine with vegetable pickles, sourdough and seeded mustard, and something a bit quirky – broad beans cooked over charcoal with romesco and lemon jam.
For drinks, a Pickle Back Martini for me – dill pickle muddled into the classic mix of gin or vodka with dry vermouth – and a Gentleman’s Spritz for Mr Black. “Best cocktail I’ve ever had,” said he.
The pickled vegetables were the perfect balance to the rich pork, while the toasted bread provided a lovely smoky depth to the overall dish. YUM. I was a little sad when it was finished, but since my martini was too, it was the right time to move on.
Then the broad beans arrived...
We weren’t sure how to eat them at first; the waitress suggested treating them like edamame and using our hands, but since they were hot and we were in no mood to wait we attacked them with knives and forks. Popping out pretty easily, the beans were beautifully firm, fresh and sweet, but it was the combination of the romesco and lemon jam that made them amazing.
Time for mains, and more drinks! I tried a deliciously smooth glass of 2010 Vignerons d’Eaterargues Villages from South Rhone ($9), while Mr Black went for the Hartsyard Red Ale – which, after tasting, I nearly nicked for myself. Brewed right nearby in Newtown, I want this beer at my wedding.
There was a honey glazed duck breast and confit on the menu, so needless to say, I ordered it. Because I LOVE duck. Especially when accompanied by fennel, hazelnut praline and crackling.
Oh. My. God.
A ball of crumbed duck confit, slightly salty, very rich and deep-fried to perfection – it was heaven on a plate. Add the crispy bits of hazelnut praline interspersed with the crackling – the sweet and mellow flavour of honey, the light and creamy puree of fennel – and this may have overtaken Sugarcane’s soft shell crab salad as my favourite restaurant dish!
I was quite pleased that Mr Black chose the poutine as his main as I’ve wanted to try it for ages. It came with oxtail gravy, crispy beef threads and cheddar and beer sauce, and was appropriately rich and gorgeous. Hello, heart attack!
Both absolutely stuffed, we weren’t really thinking about dessert… until one arrived, compliments of the chef, for our anniversary! Key lime pie with dulce de leche, crumbled graham crackers, lime slivers, baby meringues and toasted marshmallow, decorated with baby pansies from the greenhouse. Isn’t it gorgeous?
It tasted every bit as good as it looked.
Next time I’m saving room for the soft chocolate cake with beetroot ganache, frozen yoghurt, mandarin and olive oil. Or maybe the rhubarb crumble with malted milk, parsnip chips, strawberry and pomegranate… Perhaps the peanut butter sundae with pretzel ice cream, banana doughnut and salted fudge…
Our macchiati were perfection and came with a little last mouthful of goodness: chocolate and orange truffles.
These people really do have it together! The food and drinks are spectacular, the staff warm and extremely helpful, and the space cool, softly lit and relaxing. And at $140 for two people, including cocktails, beer, wine and coffee, it’s incredibly good value.
We’ll be returning to Hartsyard very soon.
Just as soon as we get our appetites back…
Hartsyard is at 33 Enmore Road, Newtown, NSW
Make a reservation.
Liv Mackay blogs for the MasterChef Food Hub and at scoffandquaff.me