Hartsyard, Newtown

He was done.

The boy’s attempt at going through the journey of life with a companion had once again come to an early end. Just like the one he had met backpacking in Barcelona, the girl he met grocery shopping (he was just buying deodorant but did an extra lap around the fresh produce section just to talk to her more) and the slightly older woman he encountered in the library; one by one they had all just left the smouldering wreckage that was the boy’s life.

Still, the journey continued and he had to keep moving. But first, he had to amend a cardiac issue that most people will encounter at least once in their lives.

He heard of a mythical location that healed heartbreak with fried chicken and ice cream.

The boy made his way to the yard of hearts, better known as Hartsyard in Newtown.

Hartsyard-Newtown

So er….that introduction’s probably why I don’t have a bestselling novel on the bookshelves of Dymock’s right now.

Let’s get back to food shall we? Newtown is a hub of fantastic dining options and Hartsyard might be one of the best ones. Winning acclaim in the Good Food guide, drawing consistent praise from Urbanspoon and a local favourite, it’s won the heart of almost everyone that has managed to visit.

Hartsyard Newtown
This lightbulb appeared over my head when I realised I needed to go to Hartsyard

Hartsyard features dude food designed to share and made with fresh local produce; it’s a wonder why it took so long to get this boy to the yard.

Sit back and enjoy this verbal movie with some popcorn:

Hartsyard school prawn popcorn
School prawn popcorn with espelette pepper, sour cream and lemon

My dining companion and I were slightly shocked when this was placed in front of us. This may sound silly but we were surprised at the presence of popcorn. I know this dish was called ‘school prawn popcorn’ but we were expecting something along the lines of popcorn chicken and not literal popped corn.

Let me talk a little bit about why I had a premeditated surge of dislike for this dish. Once upon a time, I used to work in a cinema. The job sucked but the people I worked with were awesome. Every day we went to war against dumb patrons, bad facilities and our own sense of hopelessness. Another common enemy was the ever present sight of popcorn. No matter how thoroughly we cleaned our assigned theatres, there’d always be popcorn left over. To this day, it haunts me in my sleep.

So I’m not the biggest fan of popcorn….this dish won me over a little. The popcorn was nice, crunchy and worked so well with the lemon that I might have to give my old manager a call.

What about the prawns? The idea is similar to soft shell crab in which you just eat the entire crustacean shell and all. I enjoyed it but I think I prefer shell-less shrimp.

I guess I’m shellfish for asking more from this flavour packed bowl of crunch.

Hartsyard Oyster Po Boy
Oyster Po Boy with English muffin, Old Bay mayo and coleslaw

I need to talk about why I’m not a huge fan of oysters.

Gosh, this is turning out to be more of a history of iFat post than a review. Screw the history lesson, just keep in mind that I was on a date earlier in the year and sneakily spit my half eaten oyster into a tissue without her noticing. She was probably busy planning how to escape the country after her friends found out she went out with me to notice.

Long story short: I’m not a fan of oysters. I don’t like their texture, their fishy flavour or the grotesque aftertaste.

Hartsyard told me to shove my history with oysters up my butt and to start a brand new journey of loving them with their oyster po boy. Deep frying that oyster and accompanying it with some rich mayo, slaw and a divine sour pickle made this a force to be reckoned with. The English muffin was soft, fluffy and proved to be a sturdy foundation for its delicious residents.

Once again, you can make anything tasty by deep frying it. Maybe there’s still some hope for iFat’s kitchen in the future.

Speaking of deep frying..

hartsyard fried chicken
Fried chicken with buttermilk biscuit and low country sausage gravy

Look, I’ve waxed poetical about pretty much every fried chicken place I’ve been to since I went from being Isaac to iFat (and yeah, there’s a difference). This is an entirely new type of poetry. Have you ever laughed so hard at a joke for so long that you weren’t sure if you’d ever hear something as funny again? That’s sort of what I felt as I was bodying the chicken at Hartsyard.

I’m not sure if it’ll ever be matched. It’s like my dating profile on Tinder.

Let me try and wrap your head around this.

We’ve got perfect batter offering unparalleled crunch. Ok cool, we’ve seen this before.

We’ve got steam pouring out of the succulent meat meaning the chefs have managed to deep fry this bad boy whilst maintain the chicken’s moisture. Ok, we’ve seen that before too.

We’ve got a biscuit (which is really like a scone) smothered in sausage gravy. Ok, we’ve-WAIT WHAT? No we haven’t really seen that before. Wait, you mean all of this is on the same plate? And they all work together like the kids who formed Captain Planet in the 90s? Holy moley, we’ve got ourselves the hottest chick in the game.

This is the Beyonce of fried chicken because I’m slapping multiple rings on this bird.

(Protip: Hartsyard’s hot sauce is really f*cking good. It’s got this ridiculous smoky taste that almost makes me want to endorse smoking).

hartsyard peanut butter sundae
Peanut butter and banana sundae with Pretzel ice-cream, banana doughnut, salted fudge

Full disclosure: I didn’t eat much of this but my dining companion did. I tried all components of it and it was fantastic but I was really distracted by what was to come (I’m honestly not sure if I’m referring to food or the state of my life with that line).

Ok, so my dining companion was actually  thinking about switching to a healthier lifestyle before becoming acquainted with this dessert. She downed a spoonful of donut smothered in ice cream, looked at me and said something along the lines of “nope, dessert wins.”

She was back on the dark side. You could even say she was….reborn on a sundae.

…I’m sorry.

Hartsyard x Black Star Pastry Soft Serve
Hartsyard x Black Star Pastry Soft Serve with almond dacquoise, watermelon, Strawberries, Iranian pistachios and water

This is the greatest combination of two powerhouses since I decided to write with Mike from I’m Still Hungry.

It’s hard to improve upon Black Star’s signature strawberry watermelon cake so Hartsyard just offers an alternative way to enjoy it. This is more like an audio book of a bestselling novel. It’s a different way to enjoy a classic and it’s just as good.

All the components you know and love are in attendance laced over Hartsyard’s creamy soft serve. All of the flavours were incredibly fresh (shout outs to the pistachios for providing some crunch) and this dessert proved to be an amazing palate cleanser.

Let’s just say the boy felt a lot better after this meal.

***

Here’s the TL;DR for who raised an eyebrow when I said I went on a date:

– Pop pop.

– The world is my oyster and I want my world deep fried. Man, I swear that sounded like a cooler line when I thought it up.

– Get the chicken and soft serve. It’s the iFat depression special that you can have when you’re happy or sad. Let’s just say the boy felt a lot better after this meal.

Hartsyard-Newtown (2)
In fairness, no one is really sad when they’re eating at Hartsyard

Hartsyard, Newtown

33 Enmore Road

Opening Hours:

Open Wednesday to Sunday: 5:30pm ’til late

Hartsyard on Urbanspoon

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