Nose, tail and everything in between

Josie Bones

98 Smith St, Collingwood


She says:
I have to admit, I’m not a Masterchef person.  I don’t actively dislike it, I’m just not that into it.  I’m all for reality tv competitions and I love food, but for some reason this one has just never done it for me.  With that background I was a little dubious when our friend M was the second person in a week to suggest dinner at Josie Bones in Collingwood, the baby of two season 1 contestants (one of whom I can report still has facial hair that leans a little more towards angry homeless man than hipster).

Going in with not super high expectations I was very pleasantly surprised.  Walking in to Josie Bones I was struck by the really cool and relaxed atmosphere which didn’t seem manufactured or like it was trying too hard.  The fit out is very smith st with lots of black, exposed brick walls, polished concrete and high bar stools.  Service-wise, I’m normally not someone who likes a lot of attention from staff, I like to be given my menu and then left to myself, but I actually actively enjoyed the service at Josie Bones.  Our waitress (and apparently restaurant manager) was very friendly, not pushy at all and all over both the food and beer menus.

I was definitely a fan of the food (to the tune of about a 7 out of 10) and thought the place had a great vibe.  I would happily go again and think that sitting at the bar would make for a great date if you were going with someone who isn’t afraid of something a bit unusual and heavily meat-based, definitely not a vegetarian friendly zone (true story – a friend from work took a vegetarian here for a first date, there was no second date).


He says:
Marg glossed over what was probably my favourite part of this restaurant, and that was quarter-inch thick beer menu.  Unlike most restaurants, which limit beer to a second class citizen - just above the soft drinks – Josie Bones is all about the beer.  The wine list is even titled “not beer”.  Every style, type and region is represented, which can make it a little overwhelming.  As our waitress quipped, “if you’re spending more time reading the menu than drinking the beer, you’re not doing it right”.


I decided to stick with Pale Ale’s and more specifically Pale Ale’s from the United States.  There is a great micro-brewery culture in the states, and I always jump at the opportunity to sample some of the nation’s unappreciated wares.  I started with an ACME Pale Ale, which was amazingly crisp.  Next was the more local Endeavour Reserve Pale Ale, which arrived at the same time as the food.  The next beer, which I unfortunately cannot remember the name of, was a Chestnut Pilsner which they’d used to marinate the pie.  Finally I finished off the meal with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which is always enjoyable.  The beer made up a large portion of the bill, so be prepared to have your wallet emptied.

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I’d definitely go back again, but maybe to sample more of the gargantuan beer menu at the bar than to enjoy the food at the tables.

We ate:
The menu is very heavily meat (in particular pig-product) based with a mix of tradition cuts and offal.  While a lot of the dishes include offal elements and this might be a little off-putting for some people there are lots of options for those who aren’t down with nose-to-tail dining.

The menu is nominally made up entirely of share plates (including a share soup, our group of friends decided that as much as we like each other, we’re probably not soup-sharing-close) but could also easily work as a starters/sides/mains set up.  We were in a group of 6 and ordered:

2 serves of the crackling of the day (today chicken – $4 a serve)
5 out of 6 people agreed that this was delicious in its salty, fattiness. Consensus was still in favour of pork over chicken crackling though.


2 serves of crispy school prawns with lemon aioli and lime ($9 a serve)
While the prawns were good they didn’t live up to Marg’s previous experience of school prawns at Cumulus Inc. To be honest, everyone agreed that the aioli was probably the highlight of this dish.

Kipfler potato chips with confit garlic, olives and crispy challots ($12)

Red and white witlof with candied walnuts and dijonnaise dressing ($10)
Marg hearts candied walnuts. That is all.

2 serves of cassoulet of confit duck, house made sausage, white beans and herbed brioche crumb ($17 a serve)
The duck was fall off the bone, the beans were good, as far as we could see the sausage was non-existant. Very possible that we just didn’t notice it in the mix though. Sausage or no, this was pretty delicious, easily one of the top two dishes we tried.

2 serves of 12 hour beer braised beef cheek, white bean puree and crispy tripe ($19 a serve)
The beef cheek was tender and tasty.  While Gerard was happy enough with it some people were less than convinced by the crispy tripe, that could just be a slightly anti-offal sentiment coming through though.  One of our friends who hadn’t  read the menu and thought it was calamari was a big fan, so it’s probably just the bias.

2 serves of a special, a pie filled with chestnut pilsner marinated beef (chestnut fed beef for some consistency) served with mash ($19 a serve)
We both agreed that this was the standout of our dinner. It isn’t on the standard menu which is a shame. The beef was delicious. Just wish we’d ordered more than 2 between 6.


Josie Bones on Urbanspoon

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  • Friend from work

    In fairness to your friend from work, he was taken there by a vegetarian, who didn’t even like beer…

    Good review though, keep it up!

    • Marg

      Good point, entirely not anonymous friend from work’s fault. Possibly meat and beer’s fault though.

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