Sunday, February 5, 2012

Offal Dinner at Josie Bones (Melbourne) - ♕♕♕♕♕

  St John in London and Fergus Henderson have a large group of loyal followers,  and Australian Master Chef contestant and finalist Chris Badenoch is one of his avid admirers.   My last meal at St John in London was decent but somehow the cooking wasn’t on the level I was expecting at all,  and that night’s menu wasn’t as nose-to-tail dining as I was hoping for although a later check of the constantly updated online menu shows they are inconsistent in this aspect.     Josie Bones is a pub-diner with a long list of world beers,  as Chris is a beer sommelier and very familiar with the craft of beer making.   As foodies would know,  most sommeliers have better training in their taste palates and sensitivities,   so it is not unexpected that most of them not only know how to eat or pair drinks with food,  but many of them also know how to cook very well.    Note:   this Offal Night was a once off event held regularly and they have rotating themes.   On a normal night,  they serve mostly gastro-pub food with a much smaller selection of offal offerings,  as I suspect this type of eating has not really caught on so much here yet.  



Offal Night,
Didn’t read properly at 1st the ful menu, 
but price apparently included that exquisite full beer & wine pairing..




A Pub & Bar setting definitely. 


Skinned Rabbit on the back wall is graphical material..




A whole list of the hundreds of Worlds Beers either as draught or by bottle,
it was thick like a beer bible.



Thunder Road Full Steam Pale Lager -  AUD $8
This was on another visit,  but might as well add it onto here..




Fried Chicken Crackling – AUD $4
A little oily as expected but it’s beer food…




Paprika Dusted Whitebait with Lemon Aioli -  $9
Great and a smidgeon smoky




Bread for the Offal Night -




Weihenstephan Kristall Weizen Beer  paired with
Amuse – Beef Consomme, Smoked Ox tongue & Bone Marrow
The Kristall beer is a beautiful crisp and filtered crystal wheat beer with a nice fruitiness,  which is slightly similar to a Prosecco in taste.   The beef consomme was thick yet clear, the smoked tongue and the bone marrow was a rich but tasty starter.   ~   9/10




2010 Provenance “Golden Plains” Pinot Noir  paired with
Lamb Heart Tartare,  Truffled Quail Egg, Condiments and Toasted Brioche -
Freshly slaughtered lambs hearts are used for this dish,  and it was hand chopped and really sweet tasting.  A little bit out of my expectation,  this raw dish gave some people a scare.  The brioche quality was great for this dish,  loved the julienned pickles and truffled quail egg.  ~  10/10





Ichtegems Bruin Oak-Aged Wild Ale  paired with
French Onion Tripe,  Roasted Bone Marrow with brioche crust,  Oxtail with Onion Jam -
The gelatinous and fork tender Oxtail was easily the favourite on the table,  partially because the onion jam was also a great dip for the bread.  The bone marrow were roasted well,  but actually what intrigued me the most?   The wild yeast and oak-aged beer worked perfectly with the onion soup like tripes and the oxtail.   It was just the perfect match, with a bit of smokiness trait but slightly rich and sweet,  in fact this beer’s flavour is quite unique like the above Kristall.  ~  8/10





A few Skeletons lying about,
They have cowboys too down in Australia, apparently Smile with tongue out





Mornington Peninsula Brewery American Pale Ale  paired with
Lamb’s Brain and lamb forcemeat Cigar, Mint Salsa Verde & Beer Jelly
This was a dish I looked forward to,  but there wasn’t enough lamb brains or meat taste.  The mint salsa and beer jelly were interesting making it slightly Mediterranean food in taste.  Fried a little too soft for my liking..    ~   6.5/10




2007 Louis Latour Ardeche Chardonnay  paired with
Charred Calves’ liver,  Veal Sweetbreads,  Asparagus,  Cider Beurre Blanc
The charred sweetbreads and especially the liver was excellent, with a well charred taste but remaining moist and flavourful,  with the grease balanced with the cider infused sauce and the Chardonnay.   Was surprised at the pairing but it has obviously been tested as it worked in harmony.   ~   9/10




2010 Vintage Chimay Grande Reserve Trappist Magnum   paired with  
Nose to Tail Pig of:    Faggots (bottom left),   Crispy Chitlins with broadbeans (middle left)
Stuffed Trotters (middle),   Chorizo stuffed Pig’s Ears (top right),  
Crispy Cotechino and Crispy Pig’s Head (top left),  Devilled Kidneys with Smoked beetroot, 
Roast Pig’s Tail (middle),  Grilled Liver with Café de Paris butter (middle)
This was an ambitious platter but I was surprised it had all arrived warm and most parts cooked to perfection,  a mean feat.  The vintaged beer once again worked well with the pig offals.  I enjoyed tremendously the stuffed trotters and chorizo pig’s ears, and also the fried cotechino and roasted pig’s tail the most.   The grilled pigs liver was mild in flavour by Taiwanese/Chinese standards  but probably on par with Hong Kong versions,  which probably makes them a little too powerful in a Western dining restaurant.  I could accept the taste but in the end it was slightly overcooked.  The faggots (bottom left) and devilled kidneys were decent only.   Overall this really was an impressive platter.  ~  7.5/10



Chorizo Stuffed Pigs Ears…


House Made Cotechino,  sat next to the Pig’s Head meat.





Oud Beersel Kriek  paired with
Valrhona Chocolate with Pigs Blood Pudding,  Crème Fraiche Sorbet -
The beer is strawberry flavoured and having pig’s blood in a dessert was insane!  But somehow it worked really impressively together,  even the tangy sorbet balanced it all.   Chef said he had played around with the balance for a while and this was his optimal formula,  and the flowing lava and just a hint of metallic and rich blood’s taste is detected.   The beer once again worked like fitting gloves with this ‘bloody’ dessert.  ~ 10/10




Dandelion Pedro Ximenez    paired with 
Duck Liver Truffles -
I never realised how hardcore this ‘offal dinner’ was meant to be but now I know,  and even this impressed with the flavours.  Dark chocolate works well with gamey meat or livers,  as long as it is not overly sweetened.   A nice finale to an exciting and adventurous meal in a pub setting.




I was a little worried about my cholesterol after all this, but to hell with it.
Most of the dishes weren’t fine dining dishes but were thoughtful enough and showed even more care in the recipes and cooking execution than London’s Michelin 1 Star St John during my last visit.   The Wine and Beer pairing with Food was of such a high standard,  I was certain they have done a lot of testing to get it so correct,  as not a single pairing wasn’t near enough perfection!! 




You can buy Chris’s book here,
or at Bookstores.  It carries some other interesting recipes that weren’t presented here.




Price:  AUD $110 including Drinks and Food
Ease of Access:   3.5/5
Food:  ♕♕♕♕♕  
*Note:  This meal is not available on a daily basis. Only when they run this event
Wine and Beer Pairing:  ♕♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours -
Monday 17:00 – late
Tuesday Gone Hunting
Wednesday 17:00 – late
Thursday 17:00 – late
Friday 12:00 – late
Saturday 12:00 – late
Sunday 12:00 – late

Address:  98 Smith Street, Collingwood, Melbourne Victoria.   Can arrive here by tram.
Ph: 03 9417 1878

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