Food and Drink

   

Blood, Bones and Beer

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The mural of a headless, skinned rabbit above the bar sends an unambiguous message: meat is the main attraction at Josie Bones – in a staggering array of shapes, sizes and bits. But that’s only half the story. Opened by Masterchef alumni Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins in December, Josie Bones pairs it’s grub with one of the best beer selections in town.

With a menu designed for sharing, adventurous carnivores will be tempted with crackling of the day (when we visit, it’s chicken, $4), rolled pig’s head with sauce gribiche ($12) and the octopus and bone marrow cigar with green mango salad ($14). And vegetarians are surprisingly well catered for, with at least half a dozen options including pink fur apple potatoes with grilled Swiss raclette cheese ($12).

Just as considered is the beer list, covering brews from Melbourne’s backyard to most corners of the globe. While the range is impressive prices can be steep, and some may balk at paying $50 for a 750ml bottle of beer (in this case the Trois-Pistoles from Quebec, whilst an excellent beer not worth nearly that much).

However I’m here to eat meat, not count beans and I start with the chicken crackling and a Kooinda Pale Ale. The crackling isn’t as heavy as the pork stuff I’m accustomed to, nor is it served hot, meaning the fat has coagulated and the crackling lacks crunch. It’s still pretty good, and there’s nothing like starting a meal with crackling and beer to put you in a cavalier mood. Bring on the raw lamb.

The lamb tartare comes with a radish and mint salad and wheat beer brioche ($15). Crowned with a quail egg, the tartare is mild, meaty and excellent, especially when plopped on the still-warm brioche, and the salad provides a crisp, refreshing bite.  Next up are the trotter fritters with romesco sauce ($7). Resembling chicken nuggets, they don’t taste much better and are the weakest dish of the night. Happily the Kooinda ale is first-rate and doubles as a palette cleanser.

We decide to end our indulgences with another beer (Burleigh Brewing’s top notch Black Giraffe Coffee Lager) and the rich chocolate brownie served with brownie ice-cream and (of course) 110ml of Holgate Temptress ($14). It’s gooey, decadent, almost certainly bad for you and delicious, a fitting end to a night of plenty.

While our meal had some hits and misses, the fact that Josie Bones is attempting such ambitious, at times confronting dishes and pairing them with a truly global beer selection means I’ll be back, like Oliver, for more.

Josie Bones
98 Smith St, Collingwood
9417 1878
http://josiebones.wordpress.com/press/


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