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Bistro Guillaume

8 Nov

It’s birthday season – when I say season I mean it… managed to drag out this twenty something birthday with a whole week of eating drinking and being extremely excessive.  And as tradition would have it the DDO duo once again indulged and so celebrated with a feast at Bistro Guillaume at Crown.  I’m choosing not to bore you with the details, but thought visual show and tell of our glorious 4 hour dinner would be of interest!  I suggest putting on a bib… images may provoke excessive drooling…

The famous silk light features

Steak Tartare

Escargot persillade

Rack of lamb on a bed of ratatouille, tapenade and zucchini flower

Barramundi with carrot and ginger purée, coriander butter and pommes allumettes

Beef Daube – braised beef cheek

Leg of duck confit with brussel sprouts, spring onions and speck

Tea served with Guillaume green macaron and Passionfruit Creme Brulee

Dark Chocolate, salted caramel and hazelnut tart with raisin ice cream and lemon tart

Happy Birthday!

Bistro Guillaume

Crown Entertainment Complex

(03) 9292 4751 

The Meatball & Wine Bar

2 Oct

The mid week hump can be as much a glorious occasion as a rather excruciating one.  So depending if you’re a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person, you’ll most likely read the next sentence and be thankful that I’m becoming increasingly lazy at writing about my dining experiences and would much rather just show you photos (coz lets be real… I am THAT Asian you frown upon in the latest eatery too busy taking photos of everything on the table before allowing anyone to eat!)  This particular hump day turned out to a be rather glass half empty kind of night… I’d begun my evening at an ‘art show launch’ … i don’t have enough eye rolls and i don’t know how to insert emoji’s on wordpress to illustrate my lack of excitement!!!

So a (very bad) cheap wine later I left the artists/VCA students/hipsters to meet my favourite people N and Z at the newly opened Meatball & Wine Bar for a feed in good company!  My glass was finally on the verge of getting filled!!

We arrived (after a short wait in which I began my glass filling with a proseco on the house at GoGo bar) t0 a friendly waiter and prompt service.  I can’t be bothered talking about the lovely, very USA style interior!  Going to cut straight to the Balls!!

There’s a few options with the Meat Ball menu.  You can get it just balls and sauce, or Balls and All which entails balls, sauce and some sort of substantial base (i.e. something carbie) to go with the slice of bread that comes with the balls.  We decided to start with a Burata, and chose a balls and all situation each (weirdly enough, I was the one that chose the Vegetarian option.  Obviously my stars were out of whack that day and even my brain had given in by choosing the vegetarian over meat).  Our meal went something like this:

500ml 09 Montepulciano, Abruzi $30

Burata $16.50

Veg- Cauliflower, Chick peas, Corriander with Pesto sauce $18

Pork balls served with red italian sauce and italian beans $18

Beef balls with creamy polenta $18

Whoopie Mac: Pistachio macaroon ice cream sandwich $11.50

All in all, I’m not likely to rush back – although the novelty of the place makes it worth trying.  To continue my downer glass half empty mentality, I’m going to say I’ve most certainly had better meat rolled into a ball!  The Balls and All situation was kind of dry and the ball to sauce ratio wasn’t quite right – it would have been better with a more generous serving of sauce.  Thank god for the exceptional company, lovely interior (which brought back warm and fuzzies of living in the states) and a good carafe of wine… the only saviours to an otherwise rather underwhelming hump day!

(Oh and a word of warning if you are going for the whoopie pie – its massive!!!)

 

The Meatball & Wine Bar

135 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

(03) 9654 7545

McConnell Marathons

1 Jun

Sorry for the absence!! It seems DDO have been too busy eating or breast feeding to properly document our culinary adventures of late!  But rest assured… we are still eating… rather excessively in fact!  So whilst the other part of DDO is busying herself tending to the little chub – little babe is gaining the weight of a block of butter every couple of weeks! – I thought I’d give y’all a little look into what I’ve been stuffing my face with in her absence from society!

I’m going to start with an oldy but a goody!  It’d been a successful week on the fitness front and i’d just completed my second workout session at the gym.  Feeling pretty excited by my commitment to working on my fitness I thought i’d treat myself to CUMULUS INC… Something about cold weather and craving carbs!  I needed some of that Fried Bread that Cumulus does so damn well!  I called my favourite mid week dining companion Z to help celebrate my new found lease on life.

Filling the Void: Fried Sour Dough!

I don’t know how Z felt about this bread.  Especially given how much I harp on and on about this stuff, but I enjoyed it!!  This was Z’s first time at Cumulus so I let her do most of the decision making (bar the bread and cauliflower salad).  We decided to get 2 starters, 2 mains and a salad.

Smoked mussels, escabeche $9

First to arrive were the smoked Mussels, with the escabeche giving it a nice vinegar-y kick!  Soon after came the soft shell crab which came with lettuce for wrapping up, and kewpie mayo!

Fried soft shell crab, kimchi, lettuce & kewpie $18

I’ve always been partial to soft shell crab!  Only because you generally, you can’t really f*** it up!  Having said that, credit to Cumulus for getting their batter/crab piece size ratio perfect!  SO many textures and flavours topped with smooth sweet Kewpie!  Winner!

Tuna tartare with crushed green pea salad $32

I think by this stage i’m already getting pretty full, and rather boozy.  Some thing about exercise and making you get drunk really quickly…? The Tuna Tartare came at a good time though, as it’s cold, and light.  I forgot almost instantly about my almost full stomach …

Roast Aylesbury duck breast, toasted grains, lentils & quince $36 (back) & Cauliflower Salad

The duck was delicious and completely unnecessary.  And while  I’ve always been a firm believer of not winning friends with salad, for this Cauliflower salad, I always make an exception!  There’s a bit of greenery, a good smack of paprika… those mouthfuls where you get the pop of pomegranate and pine nut crunch!  It’s a pretty good mouth party!

I left feeling it was all a pretty great way to celebrate my new found fondness for working on my fitness and discovering the genius invention that is ‘skins’.   Sadly, I have since fallen off the fitness train.  But I am still wearing my skins, and eating out!

Our next adventure was also an Andrew Mc Connell establishment.   This time we decided to take new DDO mum out on the town while getting a rest from baby duty, with Little L, Z and I meeting her at the newly renovated The Builders Arms Hotel.

Bread & butter

It didn’t take long for us to settle in, order some wine and get our orders in!  It’d been a while since we all got to hang out and try somewhere different, so amidst me losing my shit over the bread being served  (…yeh don’t get too excited!  It LOOKS like fried bread… but it paled in comparison to that of Cumulus… think it was just a regular sour dough!) and trying to participate in the verbal diarrhea happening at the table, we almost let the waiter open a Magnum bottle of  Valpolicella!

We’d ordered the 2010 Ca’Rugate Rio Albo Valpolicella, which the waitress somehow assumed we meant ‘bring us the biggest bottle of it you have!’.  Love a night out with my girls, but I personally don’t want to imagine the state of us (we’re kind of small, driving and 75% of us asian…) after having 1.5 Litres of wine!

Anyway, crisis averted, normal sized wine served, back to the talking at each other and food on its way!

Pig ear scratchings $6

We decided to get an appetizer and an entree to share.  Between the Pig Ear Scratchings and the Roast Chicken Hearts on the menu, I was right in assuming no one would be into eating hearts…which was annoying because I was sooo intrigued by the tiny little things!!  No matter.  The Pig Ear scratchings were given the go ahead and were tasty, salty and crispy!  We also ordered the Corned duck, raw brussels sprouts and prune ($16) which I have no idea how, but I decided not to take a photo of it.  Come to think of it, I can’t even remember what it tasted like… I guess that’s enough said…?!! (The other DDO – it was amazing! raw brussel sprouts were delicately sliced and surprisingly tasty and the duck was pretty amazing)

Fish pie, smoked trout, prawns, hapuka, sorrel $32

For main’s, both N and I decided to get the Fish Pie (it’s seems N has grown soft since her recent birth giving, and has now relaxed on her ‘everyone order something different’ rule).  It was a very generous serving, with really big, fresh chunks of trout and hapuka in a béchamel type sauce inside.

Z and Little L went for the Dry Aged, grass fed Rib Eye, Cape Grim 800g ($69) to share (that big chunk of meat in the back of the photo) which by all accounts looked cooked to order (Rare!  Of Course!!) and juicy.  We also ordered the obligatory side of fries and baby cos.  Z couldn’t finish her steak, but feedback was positive from both of them.  We all sit back rubbing our rather over stuffed bellies as they clear our well demolished dishes… until the suggestion of dessert seems to magically revive us instantly.

Poached meringue, frozen curd, sour quince jelly $14 (front) & suet pudding

We share the poached meringue and the suet (i.e. animal fat – really) pudding special which the waitress convinces us is the BEST thing on the menu.  Thankfully for her, we aren’t instantly turned off at the sound of animal lard baked into a small cake… because that’s all I remember of the little syrup covered cake to the back.  And she was right!  While the meal wasn’t bad, I think the only redeeming factor of this whole meal (from start; with the lack luster bread, and almost catastrophic mis-serving of the magnum to finish) was in fact this dessert.  You probably won’t see me rush back to the Builders Arms in a hurry….but if I had to, it would be for that pudding.  Animal fat – baked and served with cream!

Cumulus Inc- 45 Flinders Lane  Melbourne VIC 3000 | (03)9650 1445
The Builders Arms Hotel- 211 Gertrude Street  Fitzroy VIC 3065 | (03)9419 0818

Robert Burns Hotel

24 Feb

Whats the best thing about friends making impromptu visits to Melbourne?!  Well besides having the pleasure of being in their company, it generally means we get to catch up over some good ol’ wining and dining!!  So when the well travelled (and VERY well dined) P, J and P2 came to town from Hong Kong, they thankfully brought their appetites with them.

We’d given them a list of food genres to choose from, and the end result was Spanish.  DAMN!! Why the hell did we suggest Spanish!  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a bit of Paella and a LOT of Sangria… but combining the no bookings/small interiors/us having a big group situation with the places worthy of eating at… things were not looking easy!  Thankfully, the other DDO had an amazing brain fart and thought of the Robert Burns Hotel.  Well done N!  Looks like pregnant brain has yet to take hold…

I’d been to the Robert Burns Hotel prior to its ‘face lift’ when it was still… well… much more ‘traditional’ and family run and meals came out on big plates with food piled high.

The new interior kept touches of the old, keeping the old dark oak furniture and mixing it with sections of (tartan…?) feature walls and flooring.  Regardless, the interior is spacious.  It took our booking for 6 people.  And we weren’t jammed side by side or seated in a line at a bar… so i’m willing to overlook that rather interesting ‘feature wall’ situation and make the most of our environment.

As always, I arrived to find N and JP, already with an open bottle of wine and pretty sure idea of what to order!  So the gang arrives, we pour some more wines order some food and proceed with our catch ups.  The first to arrive was a special – some sort of fried goats cheese- which was added in to the order at the last minute.

Special: Goats cheese and spinach croquette

Now, obviously, this is a serve of 4.  We are a table of 6. Correct me if i’m wrong, but wouldn’t it be common sense to inform us that there is only 4 per serve?!  Not rocket science really…  So the next few ‘sharing’ dishes all came as a serve of 4!!  Which meant we had to order another as each plate was presented (unfortunately our waitress was apparently blissfully ignorant and numerically illiterate to… or just plain negligent in DOING HER JOB!).  OK, rant over.  Back to the Balls.  The Goats cheese and spinach croquette was crispy with a soft interior, and was texturally good, although generally anything deep fried is. Moving on…

Croquetas del mar mussel and prawn croquettes $9.90

This one had much more flavour and bite to it!  A good bit of saltiness from the seafood and the potato was smooth.  Didn’t melt in my mouth, but at least it had flavour.  Thankfully, the best share plate was saved for the last… like a glorious cliche, it was AMAZING!!

Pimientos rellenos de rabo de torto grandma's own recipe, piquillo peppers stuffed with ox tail $11.90

So inside this little red pocket rocket piquillo peppers was what tasted like a slow cooked ox tail.  WIN!! The whole thing kind of fell apart as you cut it with a fork, but the pepper still held its form without being mush.  The richness of the ox tail cooked into the peppers created a super fragrant, delicious pool of sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Would’ve LOVED some bread to soak up those amazing juices… I was so blown away by this meaty flavour bomb that I actually paid little attention to the salad being served at the same time (yes, the ladies of the table – obviously not including me – made sure there was some foliage).

Unfortunately I cannot remember what was in this besides the quail eggs and the olives.  I guess it was just a normal garden salad… The quail eggs were good!! So with starters close to done, we were ready for the main event.  I think by this stage we were second bottle in and ready for something more substantial.

Paella negra con alioli squid ink paella w cuttlefish and scallops served with alioli sauce $22p/p

The squid ink paella was a rather refreshing version of what we normally have access to in Melbourne.  The squid was fresh and the rice was cooked al dante, although I would’ve loved a squeeze of lemon and lots of salt.  We decided to get a serve for 2, considering we’d had the starters and to leave room for…

Mixed Grill plate

MEAT!! This mixed grill doesn’t look that big for 6, but starting from the bottom, there were 2 lamb chops, a rabbit (joint?  fillet? the part that has a bone in it…) a sausage and a big piece of eye fillet.  The eye fillet was probably the best, cooked to pinky perfection on the inside and a little charred on the outside.  The rabbit was a little dry and flavourless, but nothing a good dollop of chimmichurri didn’t fix.

Churros con chocolate $9.90

We’re all pretty full by the end of it – and YES! We did manage to finish it all, save a few bits of leafage from the meat plate – but let’s be real.  There is ALWAYS room for dessert!! Even if it is the safest, most cliched spanish dessert around.  Thankfully, Robert Burns does this cliche rather well.  The Churros are crisp, and not too thick – there is nothing worse than being served a bratwurst sized churros – and the chocolate is a perfect balance of bitter and sweet.

Much like the last taste to pass our lips, despite all the slight misgivings of the evening, it was in the end as it should be, all about the exceptional company.  Which much like the dessert was full of shits and giggles and bitter sweet.

The Spotted Pig

2 Sep

The entrance of the Spotted Pig

It’s almost my third week in New York City.  The City that never sleeps… and most certainly NEVER stops eating!!  I’m slowly ticking off my ‘eats list’ around NYC (which is endlessly growing)!

I’d had a fun day at work, and got out kind of early so decided to walk home.  I do that a lot here.  Walking!  Even if I get back from a day of it and SWEAR to not walk 30 blocks again, I always find myself getting home exhausted and feeling like my feet have been raped by pounding the pavement. The upside of walking though means I have A LOT of thinking time.  And it means I work up an excruciating appetite.

George and I decide it’s finally Burger Time!  The Spotted Pig is a small corner pub in the West Village, known for Mario Batali’s heart attack inducing Roquefort Beef Burger.  Despite it’s many accolades and constant crowds you can tell it hasn’t fallen victim to the hype.  It’s cosy.  Still looks like a pub, and the place isn’t jam packed full of hipsters or corporates or wannabes wanting to be seen.  In fact, the only thing it is packed with is pig paraphernalia…

After our 45 minute wait at the bar, by the time we are seated G and I are both beyond starving!  We are presented menus but in my Burger Blinker state, don’t even skim over it and get right to business.  (sitting at the bar for 45 minutes meant I had to watch approximately 3 burgers a minute be ferried from kitchen to customer… it made me ravenous for one!!)

Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese & Shoestrings $ 17

Roquefort cheese oozes over the medium rare patty

The burger arrives cooked to order (we both asked for medium rare) covered with a mountain of shoe string fries.  It’s a decent thick patty, and upon cutting it open, is indeed cooked to how I ordered.  Nice!  Although a simple burger, with nothing but meat and cheese (livin’ the dream in my books… one doesn’t need bother wasting time with greens), there isn’t a moment throughout the experience of flavour boredom.  And yes!  That cheese is intense!!  But it’s by no means over the top!

Given the size of this Meat/Cheese flavour bomb, by the time I finish it I can’t even get through half the fries… and dessert is most certainly not happening!  Instead we leave with a belly full of goodness (it’s nice to leave a restaurant without feeling ripped off, pissed off and hungry!)  Next time though I must be sure to actually read the menu…

I heart NY. I heart Spotted Pig!

The Spotted Pig

314 W. 11th St (@Greenwich St.) West Village

(212) 620-0393

An evening at Gerald’s

13 May

After a Cold Wintery Day in Willamstown on location for work and with a car FULL of clothing – my car looked like a $2 sale day at SAVERS – I’d made it back into the city in good time for what would normally be knock offs (drinks) time.  Feeling more then slightly unhinged after a day in the cold on nothing but 2 coffees, Z’s suggestion for some wining and dining at Gerald’s Bar was as soothing as a hot water bottle on a freezing cold night.

We’d been meaning to try Gerald’s Bar for some time now – with it’s glorious reviews and award winning reputation.  Walking into Gerald’s with it’s exposed brick walls and long booze filled bar could be likened to feeling like a kid in a candy store.  You are instantly greeted by Gerald himself, who you can tell, has a wealth of experience and knowledge on how to make one tired, hungry and slightly on edge human feel instantly at ease in his cosy bar… “What will I be pouring you this evening?  Red or white?”.  Like music to my popsicled ears!!!

Luckily it was still rather early (we walked in at about 6.30-7pm) so we had no trouble getting a table in the middle of the homely bar.  Gerald’s offers a mix of Old and New World wines that are reasonably priced, as well as an amazing selection of quality booze and a range of antipasti meats/cheeses and share plates that are all cooked by Mr Gerald Diffey himself.

Wines by the glass

Shortly after our wines are served to us (I went for a mid range Le Grain whilst Z went for the Shiraz) we were presented with a menu, unpretentiously hand written onto butchers paper and hung behind the bar.  Everything sounded DELICIOUS from the Antipasti meats – freshly shaven proscuitto, salami, sopressa, chorizo, pancetta, salmon, wagyu bresaola ($10 each or $25 for a selection), to the cheese selection (changes seasonally).  Choosing was tough!  And I was ABSOLUTELY at the risk of over ordering – what with my famished stomach, and no grasp on quantity control…

Luckily though, Mr Diffey dispelled all indecisiveness and gave us a platter of mixed meats, accompanied by a cheese platter.  The mixed meat platter was a generous platter of freshly shaven slices of meat, like soft ribbons of salty bliss piled high on the large square plate.

It looked monstrous next to the petite little cheese platter, which had a brie, a blue and some sort of semi hard cheese served with some red seedless grapes.  But as the saying goes, ‘good things come in small packages’… or in this case, good cheese comes on small platters!! The portions were just enough, with anything more being a waste.

Mixed meat plate and cheese platter

The Meats were a mix of Salami, Pancetta, and Wagyu Bresaola and were served with think crusty bread.

Crusty bread and meats

To be honest with you, this alone had more than satisfied my appetite and considering I’d already gotten up to my second wine shortly after this was served, that famished belly was now but a distant memory… I was filling up fast!

The thing that’s also great about this unpretentious bar is the exceptional service.  At no point, despite the place filling with more winers and diners with every sip of my fast draining wine, are you left with an empty glass!! Diffey’s ability to juggle a room full of boozey people is second to none.  As the place continues to rapidly fill, so does my emptying wine glass!! The second I finished my wine, he was there, ready to pour me another!

As we plowed through the starters (i don’t think we managed to finish it all…) and our wines, it was time to clear space for our slightly bigger share plates.

Next off the menu was the pork sausage and braised ox tail!  (should probably have just titled this Saturday Meat Fest…)  The pork sausages were served on a small oval plate, and sliced (oh yes.. and the additional meat is what we were yet to finish from the Meat Platter…)

Pork Sausage

This sausage had a nice mild flavour to it.  Its subtle hints of chilli and pork, after eating so much cream and salt, was kind a nice break from all the salt overload.  The Ox Tail on the other hand, was a different story!

Braised Ox Tail

This slow cooked, meat-falling-off-the-bone was PACKED with flavour!  Being cooked with potatoes and carrots added a natural sweetness to the thick sauce… FORGET what I said about being full… This just re-inspired my appetite!  This was pretty much the peak of my culinary evening!  So much so, that the combination of too much wine (despite me saying I had to drive after my third refill) and a food baby developing in the belly, by the time we actually also ordered dessert – rum baba and bread and butter pudding – I was too useless to take photos (by the way apologies on the extremely poor quality.  Flashless 2nd generation iPhone is not the greatest!)

So a few hours later, we stumble out of Gerald’s Bar, full bellied, rather boozy and more than satisfied.  For $80 each, I left feeling like Christmas came early; good company, eating, drinking and being Merry!

Gerald’s Bar

386 Rathdowne St

Carlton North

(03) 9349 4748

Steaks n Scrabble at The Terminus

29 Mar

It’s a friday night!  Which means I’ve finally made it through my roller coaster of emotions of a week.  So I give in to those Ants in the Pants and meet my friend Z and L at The Terminus for a Friday Night Feed.  Z and I arrive to find little L already perched at a nice big table in the main cosy dining/drinks areas that is not too rowdy and crowded (but not eerily desolate either).

I’d been to this pub a few times now, (more when N used to live in Northcote) and each time I leave feeling pretty satisfied.  The menu offers a range of typical pub fare: chicken parma, Wagyu burger, fish and chips as well as oysters and starters and salads, as well as options a little more sophisticated than your average pub: lobster risotto, beetroot salad and braised octopus.  But most importantly, (and the main reason I am here) they have an impressively large steak offering with a range of Grain Fed, Grass Fed and Dry Aged (served with salad, fries/hand cut chips and your choice of sauce).

the beginning of our dirty scrabble

So given my rough week, and the onset of a slight chill in the air, there was only one thing I was craving!  Tonight called for a hunk of meat on a plate!!! All 3 of us couldn’t go past the impressive steak menu so we all went with steaks.

In the mean time, we somehow got talking about Words With Friends – and how much of an inconsistent fart of a game it is – when L managed to quietly excuse herself, only to reappear holding a box of Scrabble.  “Who’s up for a game of Dirty Scrabble?”

So with wines on the go and steaks on the way this night was quickly becoming a fun sexy time!

L and I decided to go with the Grain Fed Sirloin which after consulting the friendly bar staff, I was assured this was a slightly longer chunk of steak, with a bit of fat on the side.  I like my steak rare, with horseradish cream and LOTS of hot mustard and french fries.

250g Sirloin – Darling downs, Qld 150 days grain fed ($34)

It was a pretty good looking piece of cow!  I immediately slice it open to assess the chef’s skills, to reveal a perfectly red centre, sealed slightly on top.  Well done chef! That is one good piece of rare cooked steak! Juicy, tender and by no means over cooked and grey.  The horseradish cream was beautifully balanced, smooth with a bit of bite that didn’t send my sinuses into overdrive – that is the job of the Hot English mustard.  I was then offered a range of mustards to accompany my steak.  I think you can safely assume by now which I went for.

Z went for the Wagyu Rump, rare and with horseradish cream which looked equally delicious (well, obviously we had a little swapsy.) I’m not sure how she felt about mine, but I may or may not have had a little food envy.

200g Wagyu rump - Rangers Valley, NSW 650 days grain fed ($33)

The Wagyu is a little more compact in size with a little more height.  But don’t let this petite little piece of flavour bomb deceive you.  My morsel of Wagyu was deliciously rich and tender, again cooked to pinky perfection while being encased by a slightly seared surface.

Dirty scrabble

Steaks devoured, scrabble complete and whole lot of shits and giggles.  Like any good roller coaster ride, you enter wanting it to be over with but leave wanting more.  Thank you Terminus!  You have definitely left me wanting more!!

And in case you were wondering, I won the game of scrabble!

The Terminus  492 Queens Parade Clifton Hill

Ph +613 9481 3182

http://www.terminus.com.au

Josie Bones

24 Feb

I’m standing on the fence of two of the latest eateries on Smith Street, as I await the arrival of Z.  It’s been a long, excruciating week (and I’m only half way through) and  there’s been a week long void since I’ve had the pleasure of Z’s company.  It was a hard decision choosing between Easy Tiger and Josie Bones which are the two of the latest highly touted offerings on Smith Street, both conveniently next to each other.  As Z had already tried Easy Tiger (and who am I kidding, MEAT will always win in such battles) we decide to try Josie Bones.

We are seated at the bar, and promptly offered drinks menu’s.  For an establishment known for it’s vast offering of beer (& meat) I’m feeling pretty sad that I don’t appreciate beer.  Especially considering the bible sized drinks menu that is presented, 80% of it being beer.

Anyway, we order our wines and read over the menu.  It’s a small menu with plates designed to share.  I’m pretty hungry by this stage so we quickly decide on what we want and await the friendly waitress or waiter… or barman… ANYONE to acknowledge our presence.  Eventually, someone hovers near us at the bar so I pounce!!

crackling of the day

To start, the Crackling of Day  ($4) is presented thankfully nice and quickly.  It’s obviously been pre fried but is still cripsy and crunchy enough.  Although it would have been nice to be informed on what exactly had been and unceremoniously dumped in front us.  We had NO idea what we were crunching on until the man sitting to our left over heard us talking about it and informed us that it was indeed chicken skin.  Thanks Mr Man to our Left.  Good to know what crackling I’m consuming.  It could have done with some heat – some chilli and salt maybe…

Miniature Scotch Egg with Schmaltz Mayo

Inside the Scotch Egg

Next to arrive is the Scotch egg with Schmaltz Mayo ($6).  Pretty excited about this dish.  As I slide the knife down the center I excitedly anticipate a semi oozy liquid center of the quail yolk to spill onto the plate…. Hmmm.  No Ooze.  No sign of moisture.  I think I kind of imagined it to be less of a dry, dense meat ball … Lesson learned.  One should never assume.

By this stage we are up to our second wines each, and as it’d been such a long time between catch ups, I’m pretty distracted by talking, eating and listening all at once.  Thankfully, despite the initial complete LACK of service, once things were ordered they arrived in pretty good time.  (It was either a coincidence or the waiter judged by the way I practically fly tackled her to take our order, that it probably wasn’t in her best interest to keep me waiting…)

Ok.  So 2 dishes down, 2 to go.  Next was the duck prosciutto ($16), which I loved the sound of.  Anything Duck.  I just like! This arrived all laid out artfully on the plate.  The figs were probably the only element of flavour on this dish.  Pretty underwhelming, considering prosciutto, no matter what the animal its made from, should generally have some hint of flavour… So far, I’m feeling like each of these dishes could have done with some Salt!  … Maybe lots of salt.  Everything seems to be lacking flavour, which for meat, is actually pretty difficult.

Duck prosciutto, fig, pistachio and rocket with rum cast aged ale dressing

Finally its the Pork Belly!  Which not surprisingly, is one of my favourite things to see on a menu.  It’s that perfect layering of meat and fat and topped with  salty crispy skin that always leaves me So SO satisfied! … Well.  Normally anyway.

Slow cooked Pork Belly with pickled peaches and soubise

Unfortunately, seeing the Josie Bones $19 plate of pork belly failed to ignite the usual excitement that it normally would.  First of all, it’s tiny! But I decide not to comment or judge until I taste it.  (Who knows, this could be a little Bomb of Taste that simultaneously melts in my mouth but is topped with that perfectly salty crunch that put Pork Belly experiences so high on my ‘hobbies’ list… )  Bomb of Taste, not so much!! Disappointed.  And Yes!  Kind of still hungry!

It actually makes me really sad that I had not much good to say about this dining experience (besides of course, the always exceptional company, Z).  I’d heard so much about it, and maybe I ordered the wrong thing or came on a bad night…? But considering we payed $45 each (after the an amazing meal at Huxtable the week before, where we left with food comas for $55) and essentially ate morsels of flavourless food, it’s pretty safe to say if I ever find myself  perched on that same fence as I did at the beginning of the night, I know which side not to take.

Josie Bones

98 Smith Street Collingwood 3066  Tel +613 9417 1878

www.josiebones.com