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Hartsyard's Blog


By August 4, 2012 11 Comments

When I played one of the silly sisters in Beauty and The Beast back in the US, I got a review that said I ‘made the most of my limited role.’

Is that a compliment? It’s hard to tell.

I got another review in a production of Chicago where the reviewer said she’d walked out on Barbra Streisand but she’d never walk out on me. Which I think is less to do with my performance ability and more to do with the size of my nose unfortunately.

Sometimes you’d read a review and you’d want to scream at them and say; ‘you missed the whole point. Didn’t you see the bold acting choice I made at the end of Act I? Can’t you see how I exposed my character’s main flaw and set up the conflict for the second act!’

We actors can be a precious lot. But I doubt I’m telling you anything new by saying there is a certain amount of ego in all acting. And actors.

And chefs…

Noooooooooo. Who knew?

But why?

Because you can’t just get up on the stage and sing. Nobody can dance to a glorious melody and not want to express the sentiment the music is trying to evoke.

Equally so, chefs don’t just whack a steak on a plate and call it dinner. (Except at one dreadful job I once had, where they did exactly that. Which was probably fair given that our guests would come in on tight-arse Tuesdays, order the steak to share, and spend a whopping $3.50 per person, middy of light beer included). Gotta love hotel food subsidised by pokies.

Theatre and hospitality are not so far removed it would seem. You rehearse and rehearse, rewrite, reconsider, challenge, defy and negotiate until you are happy with your concept from the opening notes of the overture to the final closing of the curtain. Every night it’s the same cast with a different audience and no matter who misses their cue, no matter how many salads get dropped on the way to the pass, the show must go on.

Even when a reviewer walks through the door. Especially when a reviewer walks in the door. Jeez it was a hectic first few weeks. There wasn’t a night without half the dining room taking photos of the food paparazzi style, jotting down notes and asking difficult questions that no doubt the wife of the chef should have been better able to answer.

Fake it till you make it people. (Or be honest and run back to the kitchen and ask). You look like a right prat if they quote you in a food blog and you’ve told them it was shaved parmesan instead of shaved almonds. In my defence I was really tired and they kind of look the same, but to clarify, the broad beans are covered with shaved almonds dear reader, not shaved parmesan which seemed the obvious (and unfortunately incorrect) guess.

So, what do Terry Pat and Simon have in common? (And yes, I have deliberately listed them that way based on the order of their surname so that on the off-chance they read this they don’t presume I assume one is more significant than the other).

Turns out they all hate our wine glasses.

We chose the little spanish tumbler for a couple of reasons. One – for space. Given that tables are small and plates are designed to be shared, and two – because we wanted to continue that relaxed dining and we thought they evoked that better than a big old burgundy glass, sitting on the table’s edge just waiting to be knocked over and shatter into a thousand pieces when the neighbouring table gets up to go to the toilet.

But we’re not completely married to the idea. Consider us engaged. At opening we were confident in our decision, but if enough people whisper in our ears that we’re making a horrible mistake, well, perhaps it’s not too late…

And so we took it to our guests, and have spent most of this week polling our regulars for their opinion.

Here are the results;

  • I love them. I think they’re cute.
  • I hate them. Why do you think we order cocktails and beer.
  • It is a non-issue except that nobody else is doing it. Hang on to your point of difference.
  • Of course you should change them, it’s like drinking out of an ashtray, which I thought was slightly harsh, but was counteracted by another at the same table who said;
  • Keep what you’ve got. Don’t give into them. ‘Them’ I suppose being T, P and S.

So there you have it people. No conclusive result one way or the other.

And so we turn to you.

What do you think of our wine glasses?

And if we went in the direction of the stemless variety do you have an opinion on that?

It’s risky this, throwing the floor open for comment. Please don’t consider it an open invitation to comment on all facets of Hartsyard. It’s owned by a chef and a performer remember, the drama in our union is high enough as it is!

Happy weekend people, hope you enjoyed the sun-shiney day.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Connie says:

    Love the wine glasses, definitely keep them – they suit the slightly quirky, playful tone of the food and restaurant.

  • Michael white says:

    Keep the tumblers they are fantastic, as is your restaurant. We are going out to buy some when we get back from NYC Michael

  • tony clayton says:

    well i’ve wanted to come along for dinner since you opened & now i have to so that i can help solve the glass quandary! T.

  • Marc says:

    I love them. They are unique and interesting. Wine still tastes good out of them

  • I don’t think you need to get rid of them. They’re a bit different, maybe a little unexpected and confronting for some. I thought it was fun, and I liked that they matched the water glasses. But maybe you could have some standard glasses on standby for those who really want to go traditional?

  • Megan says:

    I loved them. Don’t change – I thought they matched the beer glasses perfectly, and also the linear architecture of the bar itself.

  • Pat Nourse says:

    I reckon you should buy some decent wine glasses. You won’t regret it. Sticking with tumblers because they’re cute or because they’re a point of difference makes about as much practical sense as serving soup with a straw or toothpicks in place of forks. They get the job done at a basic level, but at the cost of both ease and elegance. Or you could just stop bothering buying such nice and interesting wine. At the moment it’s as if you were serving Gregory’s food on plastic plates.

    Your glasses don’t have to be large, fancy or have stems. They don’t have to cost a lot or otherwise break with whatever casual vibe you want to conjure. They just need to be larger and have enough of a lip to better capture the scent of the wine.

    Try the Pepsi challenge on this one (maybe not with Pepsi, though); it works.

  • Andrew says:

    I think they’re great but a stash of fancy glasses put the back may appease haughty taughty wine-food types! I’m a fence sitter thru and thru!

  • Larry says:

    The Paradiso in Melbourne had pyrex beakers back in the 70/80s. BYO. Hand over your bottle at the counter. Kapow with the bench corkscrew. Your bottle handed back with two beakers on top.

    I’ve also come across places using beakers with Vino de Casa in Italy and France (although some of the house wines were pretty stunning). Push comes to shove, I’ve drunk Bolly out of tea cups.

    I love the casual thing and I think it suites your place but can see it pissing someone off who has an expensive bottle. But you aren’t offering DRC. So do you care? Do you want people who come expecting a 3 hat experience? Probably not. Do you need their custom? Maybe, although you seemed to be crazy busy when I went (a great night).

    Really it’s about where you want to be with your place.

  • Bron says:

    Love the glasses.
    Love everything you are doing.

  • michael says:

    We thought they were a bit odd to be honest. Not good or bad necessarily, but well – a bit odd. Admittedly most of us were quickly swayed by the big glasses of red beer ordered by a visionary at our table and we ended up there for the night.