The space which was once The Gourmet Viking has been transformed into the most exciting restaurant Enmore Road 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 and feed’ style eatery, complete with greenhouse for herbs and flowers, benches made from rescued extinct Tasmanian timber, and carbonated water on tap.
I’ve been following the Hartsyard blog for a few weeks now, and have been eagerly awaiting their opening night. It happily coincided with our five-year anniversary, so Mr Black had no choice but to join me.
The first thing you notice when you walk in is the bar. It’s beautiful. The waitress tells me it took a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. (The photo doesn’t really do it justice.)
The next things that grabs us is the menu. I would happily order EVERYTHING on this menu. Including the cocktails. These people have good taste!
We have to start somewhere, so we 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). No doubt when we return with The Pork Man, the crispy pig tails will be tried.
And for drinks, a Pickle Back Martini for me and a Gentleman’s Spritz for Steve. “Best cocktail I’ve ever had”, said he.
Ok, so the martini was an odd choice for me, considering I don’t really like dill. However, it must have been fate because it was the perfect match for the pork terrine – absolutely gorgeous.
The pickled vegetables reminded me of Vietnamese pickles, which I adore, and were the perfect balance to the rich pork. The toasted bread was slightly charred, which may have been deliberate because it provided a really lovely smokey depth to the overall dish. YUM. I was a little sad when this was finished, but my martini was finished too, so 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 to use our hands and treat them like edamame, but they were a little too hot to do this comfortably at first. But we weren’t going to wait so attacked them with knives and forks instead, and found that the beans popped out pretty easily. They were beautifully firm, fresh and sweet, but it was the combination of the romesco and lemon jam that made them amazing. Really, really beautiful.
Time for mains, and more drinks! I tried a glass of 2010 Vignerons d’Eaterargues Villages, from South Rhone ($9) which was deliciously smooth, while Mr Black went for the Hartsyard red ale – which, once I’d tasted, I nearly nicked for myself.
Brewed right nearby in Newtown by a lovely bunch of guys, apparently. Just when you thought Newtown couldn’t get any cooler. 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.
Heaven on a plate. That there above is a ball of duck confit, crumbed and deep-fried. Slightly salty, very rich, and fried to perfection. The little crispy bits of hazelnut praline, interspersed with little crispy bits of crackling, the sweet and mellow flavour of honey, the light and creamy puree of fennel. This may have overtaken the soft shell crab salad at Sugarcane as my favourite restaurant dish!
I said recently that poutine is the new pork belly – everyone’s talking about it. I was quite pleased that Mr Black chose the poutine as a 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!
By this point of the meal, Mr Black said “Wow. These people have really got their sh*t together.”
We were absolutely stuffed, and not 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 as good as it looked, and the graham cracker crumble was a real surprise.
Next time I’m going to save room for the soft chocolate cake with beetroot ganache, frozen yoghurt, mandarin and olive oil. Or maybe the rhubarb crumble with malted milk (arghlghllll), parsnip chips, strawberry and pomegranate. Or maybe the peanut butter sundae with pretzel ice cream (!), banana doughnut and salted fudge…
Our macchiati were perfection (correction: actually from The Little Marionette, not Campos as printed) and came with a little last mouthful of goodness: chocolate and orange truffles.
These people really do have their sh*t together. The food and drinks are spectacular, the staff are warm and extremely helpful, and the space is cool and relaxing. The lighting is soft and gentle, great for photography (good news for bloggers!). And $140 for two people, including cocktails, beer, wine and coffee is incredibly good value. Super cute handmade napkins too!
Did I mention they have carbonated water on tap? $4 per person gets you unlimited water whether sparkling or still. But don’t drink too much water, you’ll need the stomach room!
We’ll be returning to Hartsyard very soon.
Just as soon as we get our appetites back…