It’s that time of year again, where present, past and future seem to spin together in a harmonious chaos, twisting and turning all on its head to make way for a clean slate. The end of the year, and the coming of the next amplifies those familiar cravings for something new and different, you can smell it in the air and feel it on the breeze. So! In the spirit of what’s to come, it’s high time we fill you in on our (mouth-watering) plans for the Old Clare in 2023 — a new seafood-focused restaurant is on the horizon!
Without further ado, here’s the culinary power-duo (formerly Hartsyard, Newtown), Jarrod Walsh and Dorothy Lee, on what’s inspired them for this new venture. In their own words.
TOCH: The two of you are set to embark on a new culinary adventure in the coming months — can you give a brief intro to the new restaurant, and what yet to expect?
JW and DL: It’s going to be heavily seafood focused, utilising the whole of the Australian coastline inland and offshore. It will be a fun, warm neighborhood vibe where you can walk in for a quick snack and a glass of wine or stay the whole night and enjoy a full scale chefs menu with a few surprises along the way. The menu will change daily with what we like to call “freestyle cuisine”.
TOCH: What excites you most about this new project?
JW: What excites me the most is being able to have the freedom to do whatever I want in one of the most beautiful spaces in the country — The Old Clare.
DL: And, I can’t wait to have all of my personal antiques and random objects displayed in the restaurant.
TOCH: We’ve heard you plan to bring some old favorites from the Hartsyard menu into the Old Clare — any hints?
JW and DL: Well, there may be a famous Hartsyard Barra Burger V2 in the works on an IYKYK basis.
TOCH: What from the menu do you think diners will be most excited about?
JW and DL: I think the most exciting thing for diners in the new restaurant will be seeing seafood dishes on the menu which you wouldn’t normally see anywhere else, with cooking techniques that really can’t be copied. We’ll also practice using the most sustainable methods with minimal wastage throughout the restaurant. Our coasters, cutting boards and even garbage bins will be made of recycled plastic!
TOCH: Three key words you’d use to describe the essence of the new restaurant?
JW and DL: Fun, Approachable, Ethical
TOCH: When curating a new space or menu, where, or from whom, do you find inspiration?
JW and DL: We’ve found the most inspiration from both our childhoods as well as our travels around the world.
TOCH: Reflecting on your time running Hartsyard together, and Jarrod, working in the Automata kitchen, what skills or learnings will you both take with you into your new positions at The Old Clare?
JW and DL: I think the main thing we learnt along the way running Hartsyard together was that we are only as good as our team. The skills we’ve learnt there have taught us how to build a solid team with great work culture, all in a safe environment.
TOCH: You’ve both different experiences and roles within the Sydney dining scene, how do you think each of these experiences complement the other when it comes to successfully running a restaurant?
JW and DL: We’ve worked in many different kinds of kitchens/restaurants — from the small to the high end, including large 5-star and boutique hotels, which has given us a round set of skills to understand all aspects of running a business and being able to identify that cooking isn’t everything, that’s the easy part.
TOCH: How does your environment (for example, the venue’s design or location) inform the menu, if at all? What draws you to The Old Clare in this instance?
JW and DL: With the whole new design of the restaurant it is very important that it translates down to the menu and offering we will have. Being that we are in a neighborhood restaurant it is very important that we create a relaxed environment where you can come and try something different every week. With The Old Clares sustainable practices it only makes sense that we deliver the same throughout the restaurant.
TOCH: What elements of your personal experiences or identity seep into the menu, if at all?
JW: I grew up fishing, camping and exploring and still do all these things whenever I can get a day off! All of the things that I have learnt growing up — like how to catch a fish and prepare it — will play a huge part in the menu.
TOCH: We understand you’ll be switching up the menu for both The Clare Bar, the rooftop as well as a new restaurant in the space — will you both work together across all aspects of this new takeover?
JW: Well, the menu will be interchanged throughout the hotel’s outlets and Dot will be shaking up the wine list throughout as well.
TOCH: So, we’re ready and eager — when will all this kick off?
JW and DL: The new restaurant is set to kickoff Mid March…..fingers crossed.
We’ll be sharing more updates on the restaurant as we enter the new year. In the meantime, sign up to our newsletter for the exclusive intel or, if you like to play detective, book a stay with us, you might just catch a glimpse, or a whiff of what’s to come.