Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Josie Bones (Fitzroy) 11/2013

 Just two months ago Chris Badenoch and his new wife featured in the HeraldSun. They were struggling to pay their bills and customers were hard to score. For what they are, a meat specialty nose to tail style restaurant with a concentration on specialty beers, I thought they were pretty good, even though they did not make it into the 2013 or 2014 Age Good Food Guide.
Their menu is dsigned for sharing. It is divided into Bites, about $4 to $8, Charcuterie, Seafood, Vegetables etc, Meat and  Desserts $12, two of them, and cheese. Mains run from $16 to $25 with half a roast pigs head at $65.
They have a long bar and high tables with bar stools. There is one large table with chairs at the end of the room.
The place was packed with happy Gen X and Y drinkers and diners.
I would have liked the sweetbread nuggets with tartare sauce but they were off the menu so I started with a small plate of charcuterie ($18) The rabbit terrine was the best part of it but but everything on the platter was excellent. I especially liked the spicy sausage modified by the quenelle of onion jam between the pickles.

 The aged American cheddar and smoked potato croquette ($5) was quite good but not a mouth watering delight.

Chicken liver parfait ($12) was prettily decorated with edible flowers. It was very light but over sweet.
We particularly enjoyed a beetroot carpaccio with roast baby beetroot, grilled haloumi and smoked almonds ($15)
Chips were pretty good too.
Although not their normal practice the kitchen swapped the picalilli that is usually served with the grilled hop smoked ox tongue for a gratin of cauliflower and, I think, cabbage ($18). The gratin was great but the slice of tongue over grilled.
Mulled wine braised beef cheek with parsnip puree and crispy parsnip ($19)was an honest, tasty serve, the meat falling apart and the jus strong but not overwhelming. 
 The best dish of the lot was braised pigs trotter stuffed with sweetbreads and mushrooms with smoked potato mash ($25). Except that I did not get any smokiness in the mash the rest of the dish was perfect. Some may not care for the wonderful gluey texture of the braised skin but I loved it. The stuffing went well with the trotter giving it variety and balance.
They have a small wine list, about 250 beers, I had a Belgian Ale,
and a few soft drinks.
Service was amateurish but very obliging and the kitchen rather slow. I suits them that everything is designed to share so it is less important to coordinate the serving of dishes.
Score: 13.5/20

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