With Merivale's recent acquisition of Mascot's Tennyson Hotel, Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman (Pinbone) have found their new temporary home since shutting shop in Kensington a year earlier. Helping Merivale test out local waters and it's thirst for quality fare, after several months with only very minimal changes to the pub despite Merivale's usual approach, the Pinbone Crew have given a delightful italian injection to the suburb.
The former bottle'o has been mostly gutted, aside from one key asset - the coolroom. Not unlike a backyard shindig with friends, guests are invited to grab their own drinks as they please. There are homely, plywood tables not unlike those from dad's garage, yet adorned with neon lights complete with cherry and flamingo motifs. Luminescent disco lights, and hand-drawn cartoons coat the walls, and olive branches hanging from the ceiling collectively curate the intended theme indicating long before the food arrives that this is well and truly an italian disco.
Missing out on the earlier project of Good Luck Pinbone, my excitement easily looks past the bread and down to the real business, and all I can think about is how many plates this table can actually hold to cater for my desire tonight. Any sardine fiend will do as I did, and order the fried sardines with matching aioli. These are larger yet slender, and crisp with crumb. Overall a little too salty and nothing cuts the intensity on this front despite the lemon.
Sometimes I feel I'm moving more toward a vegetable based diet, but then I end up ordering the beef tongue. I've had this alot in vietnamese cuisine, but the beef tongue here is not that dissimilar to a thinly sliced, cured, and grilled bacon in terms of texture. It barely holds any kind of offensive, strong or gamey flavour, and overall it's quite delicate. Coated in soft tomato and porcini, it's far from acidic, and if anything, the porcini only supports the beef flavour profile and is not overly noticeable as it's own.
Raw veal bruschetta is a clear take on a open veal tonnato sandwich. The whipped tuna is creamy, fine and light and the veal is just like a steak tartare but with lighter intensity. The bread is char-grilled, so it's crisp and crunchy but still soft inside. Several more of these please.
There's only two pasta dishes on offer, and the decision couldn't be more difficult. Opting between a parpadelle with greens as opposed to a braised lamb gnochetti, I'm pro-veg but gnochetti won this selection round. The pasta is dainty, with beautiful ridges to hold the sauce and shreds of slow cooked lamb. It's light, moreish, savoury and I'm left ashamed to think I considered the green parpadelle and disregarded this true treasure.
The spatchcock is a generous serve, with cut portions lying in a shallow pond of tarragon butter. The butter is rich and luscious, and a solid reminder how much I should be cooking more of it with chicken. The spatchcock skin is crispy but overall the dish is light on flavour if not for the butter.
Given the quality of dishes preceding, I assume it a disservice to myself to not order the hazelnut tiramisu. I'm far from a nutella fan, however the marscarpone and sponge takes away from Nutella's usual assault of sweetness, leaving it a great subtle finish and good for those who don't enjoy the humble coffee bean. There's a few scattered hazelnuts within, adding some crunch. There's no space for straight edges of a perfect-set firm tiramisu, and it's spooned straight from tray to plate just like Nonna would.
Our wine finishes quickly and we set out to depart. The crowd has softened despite the kitchen closing an hour earlier than the doors to allow for weekend fanfare after dinner. That said, I'm confident everyone else got too excited also and stocked up on the food, reaching an early climax. Mr Liquor's food doesn't need disco, but it's good to know there is a place to party and celebrate some long awaited quality in what is yet again another advancing suburb in Sydney.
Wed to Fri 18:00 - 00:00
Sat 18:00 - 00:00
Sun 12:00 - 22:00