I feel the need to let you all know that we survived Big Day Out.
I realise that in social media, (where a second after an event happens, it’s no longer called news) talking about BDO is like talking about Woodstock, but – as usual – it’s been a tad hectic about these parts and I’m only just getting to writing a blog now.
We served plenty of poutine (hot cheese in 46 degree heat? Go figure) and plenty more Fried Chicken, mostly to 16 year old girls wearing what barely passed as denim underwear, midriff exposed in their fluorescent lycra, wearing no hats but oversize sunnies.
Speaking of…somebody pinched mine! What kind of karma do you get for stealing sunnies from someone serving you HOT FRIED CHICKEN during the hottest day on record? I took them off for but a moment, while the sun dipped briefly behind a merciful cloud and when I looked back they were gone. Pilfered by some punk who (if they’re a Buddhist) will be coming back in the next life as a slug.
We did our best to keep cool, taking it in turns to walk to the misting areas, but they were largely ineffectual, as the mist seemed to boil during its fall. So we resorted to the cool room. Five minutes per person, the outside air so steamy that the cool room just seemed normal.
In a more personal example of just how toasty it was, I drank nearly 4 litres of water and felt no need to visit the restroom until late, late that night.
Still, we had a blast. Genuinely had a great time. There was a fantastic camaraderie amongst the Chow Town Restaurants (Darren from Three Blue Ducks popped over with several glasses of their delicious ginger and mint tea), everyone sold out of their food and ended the night by rocking to The Killers and the Chili Peppers.
Everyone except me that is, because I am a hundred and fifty and was rather tired by this point, and also because the early start had meant a sleep-over for Miss Q at my parents’ place and I was pretty keen to catch a cuddle before she retired for the evening.
(Just quietly I’m pretty sure the staff were rather annoyed I didn’t reap the rewards of my efforts and at least see one band, but I’ve assured them that if we’re asked back again next year, they can all fight over my spot).
Back on the home front, Hartsyard has had a couple of makeovers since we opened again for 2013. The biggest being that after putting up with a cool room not even sufficient for a school tuck-shop, the boys now have a brand spanking new one and can often be found standing in there, admiring their new digs.
The garage (originally intended to be the on-site herb garden) has been partially converted to provide more dry storage and compensate for the space lost with the new cool room. The beer kegs now sit out the back and are encased in a lovely chicken wire and reclaimed wood hutch, and there are plans afoot to install some more prep stations.
The garden is now being regularly tended to (it morphed into something out of Day of the Triffids last year as it became impossible for Gregory to work 16 hours in the kitchen and also plant vegetables. Slacker) and turns out odd things like carrot pollen, flowers for the Peachy Keen cocktail, sorrel, purple basil and chocolate mint. We’ve also changed the way we present our teas. Rather than herbs fresh from the garden, they’re now herbs that were fresh and are then dehydrated and dried so they present in the more traditional form of herbal teas. It’s a family affair here at Hartsyard, so the garden responsibilities have fallen to the youngest of my brothers who also moonlights as a bar tender.
Next up for Gregory, is the great OzHarvest CEO Cook-off on Monday 11th of February. Gregory runs his kitchen with more precision than Lance Armstrong’s doping program, so we don’t actually give any food to OzHarvest, but they’re a brilliant organisation and we’re thrilled to be able to contribute this way. For further information, or to make a donation, please venture here.
We’ve also finally made a decision about Easter and will be open the entire long weekend. Good Friday has the same restrictions as our Sunday licence (liquor sales only till 10) and I promise to hide easter eggs amongst your seats.
We are also – and I’m having palpitations even putting this in print – heading towards an opening date for brunch. I won’t print it yet, as Gregory’s mind is more troubling to negotiate than a minefield, but I can tell you that it will definitely be on by Easter, that we won’t be taking reservations and there will most definitely be some delicious boozy cocktails on the menu.
New dishes are constantly appearing on the menu, Andy’s Pie Of The Night happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Cassie’s wine list is rather lovely this year if I do say so myself.
Looking forward to seeing you all sometime soon,