The new Carlton venue shining a light on local makers
For the team behind Elgin St’s newest all-day venue sunhands, which opened on March 21, there is nothing more important than championing local makers, growers and producers.
This approach was inspired when the three co-owners Ishella Butler, Matt Roberts and Nathen Doyle were working in hospitality during the pandemic, at the renowned Lygon St venue Heartattack and Vine.
While it was a rough time for the trio, it strengthened their bond and ultimately led them to their latest venture at the 169 Elgin St corner shopfront.
“The tree of us kept Heartattack and Vine going and part of that was we had to downscale, source local and also find what the Carlton community needed – we turned into this grocery-style shopfront, and it was very much catering to the community needs and keeping small businesses afloat,” Ishella said.
“We came out the other side and reassessed what hospitality meant to us and what we wanted to bring and contribute.”
Through getting to know talented bakers and makers and produce growers, the team started to recognise just how much potential was right at their doorstep.
Among the many suppliers within Victoria and Australia whose products they use and stock are sustainable seafood supplier Two Hands, Day’s Walk Farm located in Keilor Valley, Long Paddock Cheese, and Hobart’s Rough Rice.
And while Ishella said they were not necessarily “reinventing anything” and were simply focused on giving back, sunhands seemed to already be paving the way for something special – living up to its name of feeling warm, familiar, and handmade with love.
“We have all worked in this area for a long time and there are all these amazing pizza and pasta offerings, but for when you want something fresh, easy and on the go, that’s what we provide,” Ishella said.
The business has a strong seasonal deli offering of fresh salads, sandwiches, pastries and deli goods for lunchtime, an all-day drinks menu, and through the afternoon there are small plates created by talented head chef Pat Drapac. Small plates consist of Akimbo country sourdough with Chasney Estate EVOO, house pickled octopus, fried shishito peppers, baked ricotta with agrodolce, and oysters with mignonette.
“We want people to pop in any time of day for a beautiful glass of wine and bar snack – a daily ritual for those who enjoy the finer things in life,” Ishella said of the space which she calls her “dream venue”.
Matt and Nathen are still the sole owners of Heartattack and Vine, while Ishella left her position as manager to successfully achieve her goal and dream of opening sunhands.
Sunhands is currently open from 10am to 3pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and once evenings are launched in late-Autumn the venue will offer seasonal plates and become a meeting place for pre- or post-dinner small plates and drinks. •