Generally I find, when I go out for meals, I don't usually go too heavy on meat. I tend to order more vegetarian dishes or fish meals, partially because I don't think it's too hard to have a good piece of meat at home and because I'm a girl and vegetarian or fish dishes always sound a tinier bit lighter and healthier.
However. I am a massive sucker for offal. I think I partially like being able to gross out some people I know with the stuff I eat, but I actually do enjoy all the funny bits and pieces. I find that they're often quite tender pieces of animal and sometimes richer in flavour.
So you know, Josie Bone's menu was just calling out to me.
My short little 50mm lens failed to capture the lovingly painted...naked...(?) rabbit on the wall behind the bar, which may be confronting to some, but is pretty neat to me. They're not going to dance around the bush here, they're not hoity-toity in the least, they'll serve you meat and you'll enjoy it or you won't.
Brad and I sat by the bar, which I always enjoy doing, but Josie Bones, decked out in Melbourne's favourite shade, black, is cosy and intimate. A long table for those bigger groups towards the back and tall tables to neatly fit groups of 4.
I have never seen a thicker beer menu. Ever. I was suitably impressed. Whilst the barmen came over to offer their advice and said we could ask them for suggestions and the such, I was determined to get through the menu. Which took a while. And then choosing....well that took even longer.
I ended up declaring to Brad, "I want a German beer", saw the Franzishaner on the list, remember having it back in Dusseldorf and went for it. Ah. Every drop of it was gorgeous. I'm sorry guys, but the Australian's just don't do it like the Germans do.
Brad got something on tap, I forget what. All that is important for you to know is that his glass was smaller than mine, making me the bigger beer man between the two of us.
After our serving of bread (which I did not eat, so cannot comment), we decided to start off with a spot of crackling. Now I'm used to having gorgeously crunchy pork skin from many a roast pork belly made at home or in a restaurant, but nothing like this. This was hard and conversation-halting-crunchy. I got the biggest kick out of just sitting there having a stare off with Brad as our chewing and crunching filled the talking space. A little bit salty, a little bit fatty, hardly oily, it was a just a hint of what we would be presented with later...
Oh it has been far too long...crispy school prawns with lemon aioli and lime. The last time I recall having prawns like this would have been back in Cumulus Inc which would have been well over a year ago. What am I depriving myself of?! I loved the novelty of the prawns being served in the paper cone, quite whimsy.
These were a little on the larger side than what I was expecting, not as crispy as I would like, but there was still enough to satisfy me. They were quite tasty and I'm pretty sure I must have been shovelling these down my throat. I was though, a tad disappointed with the aioli, whilst creamy, a bit lacking in flavour, it wasn't really lemony or garlicky enough for me.
The honey-roasted sweet corn salad with black olive and chorizo dressing was a blessing of a dish in between everything that was fried or deep-fried. It was light and refreshing, I found it extremely palate cleansing when I found the pork dishes (coming up in a moment) got too heavy and fatty for me. I'm used to having chorizo simply just sliced like a coin in salads, but it was quite fine here, which made it nice and subtle, adding a hint of spice and warmth, but not overwhelming the beautifully sweet corn.
Definitely one of my favourite dishes, quite a stand out.
Crumbed pig ear with wild pine mushrooms, pickled beetroot stems and rocket. And here comes the offal! Not exactly what I was expecting my pig ears to look like, but I find it intriguing and quite clever that they've managed to present it in a way that's almost totally not confrontational. I was explaining to my friends that they were kinda like...fish fingers.
The pig ears were crumbed nicely, not really a crunch, but they were tender. To be honest though, what really caught my attention, were the beautiful mushrooms and beetroot. So flavoursome!
Oh this just had to come out last didn't it? Rolled pigs head with sauce gribiche and crackling. It was this or the black pudding dish, but we opted to try something different. When it came out, we were told to make sure we ate it that we had a bit of the fat, a bit of the meat and a bit of sauce all in one mouthful.
Phowar. This thing was intense. It is everything you want and need in your life when you are quite drunk I think. This dish is not for the faint hearted. This dish is not for the people who are constantly on diets and cut off the large blobs of fat from their lamb chops or pork belly. This dish is not for people who like their meat lean. The fattiness of it...just amazing and mouth watering, so rich that it just almost melted into the meat as you put the two in your mouth. The sauce added fire to oil, again, just rich and dressed beautifully with herbs.
Why is everything bad for your body absolutely freaking delicious?
Brad and I very much enjoyed our laid back night. Casual, unpretentious, friendly. It took a little bit of time to get someone's attention to get our bill, but otherwise, everything came out fairly quickly and all our requests were entertained promptly.
I do very much enjoy the atmosphere and ambience, although I don't think I would want to be here on a very busy night. There's something about being lazy with beer that just works.