When we were in Melbourne, my brother treated us to dinner at Josie Bones. It is the brainchild behind Masterchef Australia Season 1 contestants Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins. The place is really cool with a relaxed atmosphere and it didn’t seem like it was trying too hard. Black exposed brick walls, concrete flooring, high bar stools – it fits the bill perfectly for a casual dinner. Some restaurants and chefs have been championing the whole beast philosophy and now it’s Chris Badenoch’s turn. The focus at Josie Bones is on nose to tail eating. Think pig’s head, lamb’s tongue, black pudding, etc.
Over here, the food are served tapas style and you pair them with beer. The beer list is super long. When I say long, I mean LONG. In situation like this, we shall ask for recommendation. The recommended beer was champagne beer. It has a fruity and spicy aroma with a nice champagne-like dryness. It went perfectly well with the oysters.
Left: Food Menu, Right: Beer Men
While my brother was deciding on the menu, we had crackling of the day which was chicken crackling to keep the stomach juice flowing. It was unhealthy,of course, but satisfyingly crunchy with each bite.
For starter, we had oysters and miniature scotch egg with anchoïade. The porky mince casing a quail egg with runny yolk on a fat smear of anchovies, garlic and olive oil was delicious. I am not a egg person but I am glad I tried it. We also ordered the crumbed lamb belly with basil aioli. The lamb belly melts in your mouth and the subtle basil aioli suited to this dish perfectly.
Here’s our mains:-
Grilled Monkfish and chorizo with cauliflower puree. The fish, chorizo and the cauliflower puree was a good combination. This is one of the healthier choice among the lot.
Grilled asparagus with crumbed poached egg and cider hollandaise. The poached egg was beautifully done, the asparagus were crisp and the sauce was smooth and creamy, which did not overpower the dish. We couldn’t fault this dish at all!
This was the highlight of the night. Rolled pig’s head with sauce gribiche and crackling. Yes, you read it correctly – it’s pig’s head. But you won’t be getting angry birds kind of smiley pig’s head 😉 The pig’s head was stripped off the meat, rolled and cooked with a thick layer of pig’s fat. It was very well seasoned, tender and melts in your mouth. Note: this dish is not for people who are constantly on diet.
Next up was dry aged skirt steak with bone marrow butter. Sorry, no photo for that because we were too engross with the pig’s head that we totally forgot about it. By the time I realized, it was too late. This dish was the low of the night. It was bland. We came to a conclusion that this dish should be served before the pig’s head as the flavor for the previous dish was so intense that it overpower this dish.
Cassoulet of confit duck, house made sausage, white beans and herbed brioche crumbs. After the disappointing beef steak, we were very happy with this. The duck fell off the bones, the beans were good and sadly, the sausage was no where to be seen. With or without sausage, this dish was delicious..very delicious!
According to my brother, the desserts are awesome, so we gotta try. Although we were very full, we still managed to make space for dessert. I had the baked dark chocolate mousse with blood orange marmalade, salted peanut praline and clotted cream. It was good, not overly sweet. I love the crunchy peanut praline and I always love the combination of chocolate and orange.
The husband had the Rex Attitude marshmallow with strawberries, pistachio crumble and lime and lemongrass sorbet. He claimed that this is the BEST DESSERT EVER. We were supposed to share but he ended up finishing the whole plate 😦 The sourness of the sorbet blends very well with the marshmallow and the strawberries that it created mini explosions in the mouth 😉 This is a perfect dessert to end a meaty dinner.
It was truly a great dinner with my brother and the husband. This is a meal that would not be forgotten.