The Josie Bones roasted 1/2 pig’s head

I don’t know many people who don’t like Pork Crackling…

Josie Bones

Josie Bones’ Bar

 

Other than the previously mentioned fried dried fish skins and possibly jerky there are few more appealing beer snacks.

What if your pork crackling resembled a pigs face? How would you feel about cutting into it and nomming on it then? Luckily for me, I don’t suffer from the common “I can’t eat it if it has a face” dilemma so when a friend recommended I try the roasted 1/2 pigs head at Josie Bones in Smith Street Collingwood I jumped at the chance!

Roasted pig's head

The epic pig’s head

For the unacquainted Josie Bones is known for its approach to cooking the whole animal and using beer when appropriate to cook. They also stock a ridiculously large menu of local and imported beers and are willing to recommend according to your taste.

As any large piece of meat should, it takes a while for a pig’s head to come out of the kitchen, so naturally it made sense to order a couple of the “bites” items off the menu beforehand and a couple of beers. Oysters natural, Quail Egg and Leek and Bone Marrow croquettes. Other than the oysters being incredibly fresh the other two dishes were nice but not outstanding. It left us wanting more.

You ask and you shall receive! When the pig’s head arrived we almost regretted ordering entrees as… it’s a beast! Seriously a pig’s head is really quite a thing to behold in real life, well… roasted life. The ear, the huge jaw complete with teeth, the snout and the delicious looking cheek that you could just tell would hold such juicy meat, it was very exciting and a little overwhelming deciding where to begin!

Roasted pig's cheek

The cheek

We started on the cheek, the skin gave way under the sharp knife with a satisfying crack and pop and the meat complete with crunchy skin atop lifted away from the bone with little effort. It was served with a jus (well I think it was a jus!) which cut through the very salty flavour very nicely and let’s just say that cheek was demolished in a time that would be the envy of most competition eaters!

The Kipfler potatoes on the side and seasoned rocket were mostly ignored amongst the mountain of pork, however it was nice to munch on something else to break the flavour up at points. We were recommended to try a certain beer with the pork, a sweet and sour beer called HaandBryggeriet. Whilst I understand the concept of the sweet and sour matching well with the pork, it didn’t quite do it for me. It’s a VERY strong-tasting beer that leaves a rather strong aftertaste which coupled with salty pork has more flavour overload than an original sour warhead. A pint of apple cider however… magic!

Sweet and Sour Beer

Sweet and Sour Beer

It really is surprising how much meat is on a head, other than the obvious cheek and snout it was surprising that around the eye socket and forehead held quite a bit of flesh, all with varying strengths of pork taste and all covered in more crackling than you can poke a stick at… no we didn’t eat all the crackling, I’m pretty sure if we did I’d be writing this from a cardiac arrest ward.

All in all between two people we ate the majority of the meat and I would say if you wanted a hearty meal for two with no entree this would suit most people. OR as the waitress suggested it would be an amazing thing for a larger party to order and share.

Pig's head bones

The Finished Head

 

One thing I really liked about the place was the fact that we did not feel rushed to leave. I’ve been to so many Melbourne restaurants that are happy to serve you dinner, get your drinks and the bill then rush you out of there to seat the next group. Whilst I understand it’s in the nature of the business, it’s nice to sit back after such a meal with another drink and not feel pressured to exit the building.

Definitely an experience!

Hot spice and everything nice!

 

Such a cute little face!

Such a cute little face!

I like to think myself pretty lucky that I have a high tolerance for spicy food dishes.If I didn’t, then I would be missing out on so many awesome meals and choice, especially in Asia.

It is without fear of the “ring of fire” that I often order the spiciest on the menu, partly for the flavour and partly for the challenge.

Read More

Melbourne’s sunny-time lunch spots

“It’s sunny outside! Let’s have lunch!”

It’s funny how much the weather in Melbourne phenomenally dictates how we spend our lunch-break.

If it’s blowing a gale, has blizzard like arctic winds or is raining cats and dogs I’ll eat at my desk. If I’ve brought my own lunch… I’ll eat at my desk…

I don’t think that I am the only winter desk hermit in Melbourne… 

However…

As soon as it’s warm or sunny (which means anything over 18 degrees in Melbourne), city workers throw caution to the wind, throw off their wooly coats, fling on some thongs, sunnies and maybe even a hat and venture outside to welcome the change in climate.

So where do you go for lunch in Melbourne when it’s sunny outside?

I’ve managed to find some top spots to have an alfresco bite or beverage. I don’t mean finding a table if you’re lucky, these places often have room to indulge in some vitamin D replenishment and serve some tasty grub too… with enough room for friends

Trunk – 275 Exhibition Street – This one is great, if you sit in the garden you can choose either the fancy schmancy restaurant menu or the diner menu so it has a price range to suit everyone. Best to get there at around 12PM on a lovely day to get a seat.

Campari House Rooftop – 23-25 Hardware Lane – Has a rooftop pizza menu from 12pm which is great for sharing a couple of pizzas and drinks, also a good after work meeting place!

The Carlton – Balcony or rooftop (Palmz) – Lunch Thurs-Sat only – Pub grub, Thursday has a $15 Parma and pot, otherwise there are nibbles and other (albeit spruced up) pub fare

Section 8 – 27-29 Tattersalls lane – I LOVE this place and now they do lunch, and its so cheap! Funky as hell and great on a hot day… if you go after work, go early

Riverland Bar – Federation wharf (under Princess bridge) – Has a really big lunch menu that will suit all budgets and a great view of the Yarra, really close to Fed Square

Ponyfish Island – Under the bridge that joins over the Yarra… I haven’t been to this one, but it looks like fun and is certainly a very different location so it had to rate a mention!

Madame Brussels – 59-63 Bourke Street – Not a typical lunch menu, which means a spot in the sun is pretty easy to get at lunchtime. They have some lovely chicken sandwiches you should try

” What if I can’t afford it?”

There is nothing better on a gorgeous sunny day in Melbourne than grabbing some sushi (always my fav cheap lunch) and finding a patch of grass in one of Melbourne’s many gorgeous parks…

Treasury Gardens

Try the Treasury Gardens, they are my favourite! If you can stand the sheer amount of fitness junkies jogging and puffing their way through the surrounds.

Of course there are a plethora of places in Melbourne with outdoor dining options (I’ve left off Southgate, Federation Sq and countless amazing alleys I know!) 

Let me know your favourites and I’ll have to go and try them next time the Melbourne weather decides to play nice!

What’s the best Mexican in Melbourne?

Enchilada amigo? Muchos gracias Senor!

That’s about the extent of my ability to speak “Mexican” unless you throw in the word nacho, taco and tequila…

and yes… I’m aware the language is Spanish, and that’s casually racist. Mmm Churros *drool*

Alas I’m getting side tracked…

I have been referred to as a Mexican by my New South Wales and Queensland friends for many years (in Melbourne we are south of the border) 😐

As far as I can remember dishes like Tacos, Nachos and Burritos were always on the menu as a quick throw together meal, and el cheapo trips to Taco Bill in my Uni days I can look back on fondly… Pancho Villa and a free sombrero anyone?

Recently I was planning my birthday dinner and was on the hunt for a good value for money cuisine option that would suit a multitude of tastes. With this in mind I stumbled across a plethora of Mexican restaurants…

I’m not talking about chain style restaurants like Taco Bill or Montezuma but, funky, hip and dare I say trendy places that all spouted the line of real Mexican!

When I asked some advice about where to go, it seemed that everyone had an opinion on the best mexican in Melbourne, and all had a restaurant that they either frequented regularly or were dying to visit.

So I’m posing some questions… Is Mexican the new cool kid in the food playground? Or are people’s restricted budgets driving them to seek cheaper yet still fresh alternatives?

Gone are the days when Mexican (thanks to Old El Paso $5 kits) is a quick at home fix, or a cheesy greasy fast food style restaurant option…

In the end I ended up going to a pub for my birthday dinner…

Why? Finding a mexican restaurant that would take 20 people; without having to go with a set menu was a task (and story) better suited to another blog!

Mugarita?

I did get to a funky place called Touche Hombre for lunch, which I have to admit was fantastic!

I will definitely be returning… mmm Margarita in a mug! Mugarita?

Perhaps it can be my “best Mexican in Melbourne” restaurant, but I’d better try the others first!These are some that were suggested to me as alternatives:

 

 

I’m sure that there are plenty more… let me know so I can try them out!

Pho sure!

Mmm… Beefy broth, rice noodles, spices, herbs and tender beef…

Beef Pho (Pho Bo)

I’ve entered a pho-coma

Pho is a delicious… no INSANELY DELICIOUS soup, and can be prepared in many different ways. Most commonly in Melbourne it’s referred to as Pho Bo (Beef), Pho Ga (Chicken) or a vegetarian variety (I don’t bother with vego as the broth is made from beef anyway), and the essential make-up of the dish is generally the same.

Read More