Bianca: Walking down Enmore Road towards Hartsyard this chilly Friday eve, I was struck by the sheer awkwardness of having the ‘Oompa Loompa’ song stuck in my head – “What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?”. A big honking Peanut Butter Sundae that’s what! If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Rich American style food is the perfect winter comfort food, which is why Alex, Madre and I set out for Hartsyard, we were one of those eager beavers lining out the front, we all bustled in out of the cold and were shown to our table just in front of the kitchen pass, which was cool, we could see all the goings on behind the scenes. Its pretty cosy in Hartsyard, lots of close quarters.
We perused the menus to save face, we already knew what we were getting. The menu is divided into three main sections, seed, feed and out to pasture. Put simply entrée, mains and deserts.
With no hint of a lettuce leaf in sight, we didn’t need to fool ourselves into ordering any fodder, we dove straight in. To start we shared the ‘Pulled Pork’ – with Maple bacon, yoghurt and apple. $32. I think as each of us took a bite, we all looked at each other and smiled. I haven’t eaten anything lately that has remotely evoked that level of satisfaction in a single bite. The pulled pork was shaped into a log which fell apart easily when ‘prodded’. I begrudgingly cut the maple bacon (more like a thick slice of pork belly) into three portions, it was both immensely sweet and salty with the added crunch of the crackling. But what made the dish for me was the Labne, the apples were great to offset the richness but they were left on the plate till last. We were blinded by the pork! The puffed crackling was also another great addition, adding some appreciated texture.
Second to make its appearance was the ‘Fried Chicken – with a Buttermilk biscuit and low country sausage gravy’, $29. Here’s where things get controversial. I wasn’t BLOWN away, I generally hate meat/chicken on bones. I don’t like to fight for my food. But if it tastes good, like a good sticky rib, I’ll happily get all up in there. We were lucky enough to try ‘Gus’s Fried Chicken’ in Memphis early this year and nothing has yet to hold a candle. I loved the scone like biscuit and the gravy but after a few bites of the chicken and the crispy crispy skin it became a little too rich and heavy. The chicken itself was moist and succulent and the outer skin, ear shatteringly crunchy. Great dish, wrong crowd.
And the last savoury of the night the ‘Poutine – Fried Potato, braised beef shin, beer + cheese sauce’ $26. I’m pretty sure I nodded and said “Yep, Yep” over and over when I ate this. What a dish. Rich, hearty, melt in your mouth strands of tender beef, crispy thick potato fries and THAT cheese sauce. I didn’t see any of the traditional poutine offerings, cheese curds. Which was perfectly fine with me, I wouldn’t have added anything else to this dish.
So Alex and I essentially stalk Andy Bowdy on Instagram, his cakes and soft serves are pieces of edible art. The option for Dessert wasn’t even a question so we moved straight along. Alex was intent on the soft serve, with that day’s being Belgium themed it was a ‘Chocolate and Red Ale soft serve’ – with malted Belgium waffles, Belgium chocolate ganache, choc top and fromboise Lambic beer foam’ $14. I appreciate the novelty of the soft serves, an inventive way to serve somewhat of a ‘carnival’ treat. We all loved it but agreed the beer foam was very underwhelming and odd tasting.
And the piece de resistance, our last for the night the ‘Peanut Butter + Banana Sundae’ – Pretzel ice-cream, banana doughnut and salted fudge’ $18. Anything with peanut butter in its name, will garner my full attention, I will stop talking mid-sentence if I get even the tiniest whiff of some toast slathered with PB. This really is a dish best shared with some of those you hold near and dearest because your ugly side will no doubt emerge. It’s a generous serve for $18, easily shared between four people. We had three, which worked out even better for me. It’s a pretty ingenious desert, contrasting textures (crushed biscuit pieces) and the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
Photos by Alex