We went to Josie Bones last night. I didn’t go with the intention of reviewing it, but rather to enjoy beer and food with Lady Ale and my brother (who was visiting). However, we had such a good experience that I would be remiss to not talk about it a little.
Crafty Pint has a good run down of the basics, that can be found here. Instead of me rehashing what has been said, go read that before continuing.
How does it look?
Black. It feels very dark, with mostly black paint and wood furniture. The striking (and strangely erotic) picture of a skinned rabbit above the bar really tells you that this place doesn’t fuck around. It’s a ballsy move and one that all three of us decided that we liked.
How does it taste?
Lady Ale began the evening with a “Beer Flight”, which consisted of 3 tastes of wheat beer (the style changes monthly). Beer manager (James) came out and poured each taste while explaining why he chose each for the “flight” and gave a background to the style of beer as well as each individual beer.
My brother and I began with a Brew Dog 5am Saint, which is on draught.
We then moved on to many other beers throughout the evening, guided by James who regularly stopped by to ask how we were going or to answer any questions we had. At the end of the night we felt like we had been on an amazing beer journey and, taking James’ advice, we shared a Brew Dog Tokyo. This beer is amazing and I plan on picking some up in the near future for a proper review, but what I will say now is; holy shit.
Food wise, we enjoyed the crackling of the day (pork), a charcuterie selection (cured wagyu, prosciutto, panectta, roast chicken roulade, onion jam and some sort of pickled chilli), kingfish tartare, pork belly, oysters, and a salad of witlof with candied walnuts. For desert we had a blackberry and Guinness bomb-alaska and a Rhubarb… something (lets face it, we were all a few beers in by the time desert came around, not saying it wasn’t delicious, because it definitely was… there may have been a fool involved).
Inevitably the comparison to Anada came up, which has many similarities in produce, geography (it’s literally around the corner) and the shared plate “tapas” style. While Anada is more traditional tapas (well, traditional in the Melbourne take on tapas ) and has a much larger menu, both places are comparable in attention to detail and use very high quality produce. As for which we prefer… I’m surprised to admit Josie Bones comes out on top. Anada is luxurious and has an intimate feel, whereas Josie Bones was a lot of fun and the focus on beer is obviously a winner for me.
When should I go?
We arrived early (at around 5pm) on a Saturday evening and there were only a few other customers. Because of this it felt like we were able to chat and ask questions of the front of house staff. I can’t say if people who arrived to a full restaurant received the same amount of advice and guidance, so I would recommend getting there nice and early. Take the time to enjoy the crackling of the day and learn about the beer on offer. The beer menu is amazing and overwhelming, so you’ll want to take your time and spend a couple of hours indulging.
If you know someone who loves beer, take them here next time you eat out. Arrive early and take your time.
I loved Josie Bones. The staff were attentive and knowledgeable, it felt comfortable, and the beer menu is unparalleled in Melbourne. It was also reasonably priced. If I had one complaint, it would be the servings were slightly small. Going back to the Anada comparison , the last time we visited Anada we had pork belly and the serve was much larger for around the same price. That is however a small issue and none of us left hungry.
Josie Bones was remarkably fun and we have already made plans to go back at least once in the coming weeks. As I said earlier, it really doesn’t fuck around. The menu is full of interesting dishes and it definitely doesn’t make any apologies for what they are trying to do; serve interesting high quality food and amazing beer.
I can honestly say it’s one of, if not the best, eating and drinking experiences I’ve ever had.
I rate it; 4 pig’s trotters and 1 strangely erotic skinned rabbit.