98 Smith Street
03 9417 1878
98 Smith Street
03 9417 1878
Look! Its a naked rabbit *giggles*
When Conor from Hold the beef was in town recently to watch a furry little yellow ball getting smashed across a tennis court, Agnes from Off the Spork suggested Josie Bones for a catch up, I was more than willing to join in on the meat and beer fest. If you’re not familiar with Josie bones, thats ok – neither was I. It was only on the morning of the planned dinner that I realised that Josie Bones is actually run and owned by the guy who came third on the first season of masterchef, that's Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins from the same show. Josie Bones open in the last quarter of 2010 and it looks like they are doing a roaring trade. That aside, I was totally intrigued by the notion of a speciality beer place that serves small plates of mostly meat inspired dishes, sounds like its completely up my alley. To all my vegetarian friends, I love spinach but I’m sorry meat is what makes me tick.
At the time, the weather in Melbourne was a little on the fresh side. Now that the temperature has really ramped up, it would be a great spot to get some friends together – have some crackling of the day and slowly make your way through the long list of local and imported beers. And when I say long, I mean LONG. But back to the crackling of the day, that was GOOD! We ended up with chicken crackling and pork crackling. My preference was the chicken crackling. Slightly on the salty side and really packed a crunch. The pork crackling was almost teeth shattering. A great way to get the stomach juices flowing. Although by the end of it, I wondered where they got all the chicken skin from. There was a distinct lack of chicken on the menu. I envisioned a flock of naked chickens roaming the country side getting seriously sunburnt.
We ordered a variety of dishes to share amongst us. We’ll start with the trotter fritters and romesco sauce. They were really crunchy on the outside with a soft juicy pork center. They were darn good until I got to the other end of my trotter square. One side had loads of soft meat and chopped up skin, while the other end was a big chunk of pork skin. Slightly disappointing, but sometimes these things happen. I was the unfortunate one to cop it.
Next we had the lamb tartare, radish and mint and wheat beer brioche. This was a first for me, I had never eaten raw lamb before, so wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I imagined a fatty mutton tasting hunk of meat that would be really chewy, luckily this wasn’t the case. The lamb was really lean and tender. The cute quail egg sitting ontop added an element of lusciousness, just like a good traditional tartare. I threw a good smothering of mustard on my portion, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hmmm, this is a blogger fail so bear with me. We order a special which was rabbit terrine with prunes soaked in some alcohol (which I cant remember) along with...I think...onion jam. I’m sure someone will correct me. I really liked this dish, the rabbit was really moist and the whole terrine was light on gelatine. Daz hates gelatinous dishes, so this was a hit for him too.
So far have you noticed the distinct lack of vegetable matter? Well to counter act the protein overload we ordered Baby Nicola potato salad. It was creamy and a pretty decent potato salad. It served its purpose to introduce some fibre into our meal, well the small amount of fibre that resided in the skin of the potatoes.
Next we had octopus and bone marrow cigar with green mango salad. I’m not going to lie, I’ll give it to you straight. This was HORRIBLE! I wanted to love it...I really did. I love bone marrow and the whole notion of it being paired with octopus sent me into imagination overdrive, but sadly the reality of the taste bought me crashing back down. It was just a fishy oily mess, I think that is enough said.
Thankfully the second special we ordered saved the day. Pork belly with pickled peach and a creamy puree of some description (Help anyone??). This was good. If I see pork belly on a menu, I more than likely to order it. The skin was crispy and the pork had just enough of fat to make it juicy and moist. I enjoyed the pickled peach with the pork and I’m definitely going to steal that idea for myself.
Last we had Grain feed beef meat, thrice cooked chips and horseradish hollandaise. When I saw this on the menu I had flash back to the thrice cooked chips I had at the botanical. Sadly, to me, these didn’t stack up. They were nowhere near crispy enough for chips that have been cooked three times. You can tell from their pale appearance that they weren’t going to be quite right. Dont get me wrong I still enjoyed them, but it was a little bit of a let down. What was the most interesting moment was that Conor actually had some of the beef....shocking huh?
What I will say about Josie bones is that it has exceptional service. The staff are all so friendly and extremely willing to help on food, wine or beer selection. It was a great way to put you in a seriously good mood, so some how the beer tasted that much better. After we gorged ourselves on meat from a variety of animals, we braved the walked to Cutler and Co in an attempt to score a spot for some dessert. We failed. We ended up at the crepe place across the road, which seems to be fast becoming my backup dessert destination. Everyone has one right? Check out the uber cuteness of our bill patron....bahhh