On The Bone, 128 Mitchell Street, Maidstone.
On The Bone has been going for just on a year.
In that time, every social media comment, all utterances and several reviews I have seen have been, without exception, very glowing in their assessments.
That’s one of the reasons Consider The Sauce has taken so long in checking the place out, we being naturally inclined to seek out those places unfairly standing in the shadows.
Another reason is On The Bone’s general vibe and pricing has suggested to us special occasion rather than a mere meal.
But now the CTS stars have aligned.
They’re throwing a lamb lunch.
Nat Stockley and I are up for another catch-up – and it’s a Sunday roast.
And we both love Sunday roasts.
The former home of Los Latinos has been done out in simple, elegant style.
We subsequently learn the restaurant’s endeavours to introduce its Sunday lunches have been delayed a couple of weeks because of private function bookings – so we are partaking of the very first.
There’ll be one more this year – on Sunday, December 22 – with the concept to be carried on into the new year.
The going rate is $35.
We enjoy (understatement) a superb lunch in which the surprises and delights keep on coming.
They start with the menu (see below).
What I had expected to be a three-course list offering a choice of entree or dessert turns out to be a locked-in, straightahead menu – what you read is what you get.
(BTW, On The Bone is a very meaty establishment, but the service is so obliging and cheerful and the talents of the multicultural kitchen so rareified, I suspect those of non-carnivore inclinations could easily be embraced and welcomed through a quick conversation upon booking.)
We start with a simple appetiser of two chunks of crusty bread with beef bone marrow butter.
It’s very good and very flavoursome.
This reminds of the Kiwi habit of my childhood of pouring bacon fat into an egg cup for use later on as a butter substitute, spread sparingly on toast with a very little salt.
Did or does anyone else ever do this?
Next up are chicken herbed croquettes with onion soubise, aioli and herb salad (to photo).
The dainty orbs are crunchy, with mildly tasting innards that look like the sort of thing offered at Sri Lankan eateries, utilising canned tuna. Or East African sambusas of the same ilk.
Next up – a righteous antipasto spread.
Chargrilled zucchini is a lacking in char character, but still good – as is the similarly prepared eggplant.
Two kinds of mushroom are nicely vinegary.
Romesco sauce is mirrored on the other side by a chunky raita that is more like coleslaw.
Neat trick that, one I may try at home.
But a little oddly, it is the chargrilled bread that most takes my fancy – a great ingredient done just right.
All of the above is mere undercard limbering-up, however, for the main event.
How majestically awesome does this spread look?
It eats and tastes every bit as good as it looks.
And then some.
I am on a giddy food high.
Shoestring fries …
… jewel-like honeyed carrots residing in a minty sauce and …
… and a flawless green salad are all wonderful, especially the latter two.
We enjoy them, though fail to consume all of each.
The final piece of this perfect feed is the lamb leg.
That such a big hunk of meat is beautifully tasty and so tender reeks to me kitchen perfection.
Or maybe some kind of voodoo alchemy.
But most likely just plain hard work and talent.
It falls from the bone with the merest prod of cutlery.
And there is plenty of it.
The various bits and pieces take the lamb into gloryland.
Hommus, pinenuts, fatoush, jus, mint herb salad – all just so right and delicious.
This has been a sensational lunch; it’s one that will feature for sure in the CTS wrap-up of our 2019 highlights that will be published some time between Christmas and New Year.