Why buy it?
There’s trend-driven, wannabe American food and then there’s real, down-home American fare. You can find the former just about everywhere these days, but the latter is harder to come by. Thank mighty for Hartsyard, the cool, inner-city Sydney restaurant that has been dishing up the good stuff since 2012. Now, with the release of their debut cookbook, you can cook up an All-American feast at home.
US chef Gregory Llewellyn quickly amassed a cult following for his honest American cooking underpinned with technique, and the big-flavoured dishes that continue to attract hordes of fickle Sydney diners are what make up this delicious book. Poutine with braised beef shin? Check. Roasted broccoli with lemon jam? Check. Even the secrets to a few of pastry superstar Andy Bowdy’s killer desserts are included.
American food is so boisterous and such fun, and this spirit is captured in the masculine design and cheeky writing, co-authored by Naomi Hart, Llewelyn’s Australian wife and front of house maestra. Hart weaves their life narrative throughout the book, leaving the glamorisation of restaurant life to others. It’s this personable, authentic style that defines the hip, family-run restaurant and what you’ll take away from this book.
Cookability It’s a restaurant cookbook, so most dishes have a number of steps, a few new techniques and a sizeable list of ingredients. In saying that, recipes are decently straightforward and mostly require forward planning. Great weekend food for when you have a hungry crew.
Must-cook recipe They named the book after fried chicken and the 12 pages, including step-by-step shots, dedicated to their ultra-golden/crunchy/delicious restaurant rendition makes you want to spend the three days required to make it. The aforementioned poutine with cheddar beer sauce is another must.
Most surprising dish School prawn popcorn with sour yoghurt dip. It is Llewelyn’s literal riff on the US staple popcorn shrimp and highlights his playfulness in the kitchen.
Kitchen wisdom Drinks are also a big deal for the pair (tipples make up the first chapter instead of the usual last, and they’ve recently opened a bar, The Gretz, just down the road, too). “Who waits until the meal is prepared to have a drink?” they write. “It’s why everyone dreams of a kitchen with an island bench and room for at least four stools. Making a cocktail should be the first thing you do.”
Ideal for Hartsyard fans, American food lovers, fried chicken fanatics, pickle buffs and big, bold cake bakers.
Cook the book
Recipes and images from Fried Chicken and Friends: The Hartsyard Family Cookbook by Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart (Murdoch Books, $49.99, hbk).