McConnell alumni to open Harley and Rose in Footscray

Josh Murphy and Rory Coucher outside the old Ovest, soon to become Harley and Rose.
Josh Murphy and Rory Coucher outside the old Ovest, soon to become Harley and Rose. Photo: Joe Armao

Footscray: it's the suburb that just won't quit its upward trajectory. Anthony Hammond, one of the masterminds behind the Builders Arms, will be opening the Victoria Hotel (formerly the Hart's Hotel) in mid-November as a neighbourhood local with a coiffed traditional pub menu. Mr West, a new craft beer den, cocktail bar and bottle shop in Nicholson Street, has been pumping since day one. Now, serious food is coming in hot.

Two ex-McConnell group chefs, Josh Murphy and Rory Cowcher, former head chefs at the Builders Arms and Cutler and Co. respectively, will open their first solo restaurant, Harley and Rose, in the old Ovest pizza site in late November.

Named for a Black Sorrows song, the duo have stripped out the venue and are redesigning it with the help of Projects of Imagination as a 90-seater in the bistro-bottle shop model.

Dish wise, most of the menu will be fuelled by a traditional wood-fired oven and a produce-driven, interesting-drink-friendly progression. Come summer they'll be making panzanella with local vinegar. Rib eyes will be bashed to minute steaks and served with seasonal garnishes, like spiced eggplant and lemon cous cous. They're also working with Troy Wheeler from Meatsmith on a peperoni for one of a couple of pizzas, though that won't be the focus.

Beer on the other hand will be. Murphy says they have investigated the draught system and plan to make local brews as important as the small producer wines (available to browse on the shelf and drink-in or take away). Doors open in the last week of November with a front courtyard ready for summer drinks. Upwards the west.

Harley and Rose will open late November at 572 Barkly Street, West Footscray.