Scorcher reviews: On the Bone — ‘a twinkling diamond in the rough’
In the immortal words on Bobby Davis: “I think I’ve have found one”.
Well, to give credit where it’s due, Kate Stevenson actually tipped me off to this place.
Maidstone is not a suburb that often gets spoken about in gastronomical circles. The inner western hamlet, which measures only 3.2 square kilometres in size and consists mainly of red brick and weatherboard dwellings, isn’t exactly brimming with top-drawer eateries.
Except for one, that is.
Like a twinkling diamond in the rough (don’t yell at me, I’m not saying Maidstone is rough), new neighbourhood arrival, On the Bone, shines bright on a shopping strip that’s seen better days.
You might have to weave your way through the backlots of suburbia to find it, but those who do will be rewarded with a super friendly welcome and mouth-watering menu of meat-focused dishes.
The folk of Maidstone know about On the Bone, and it’s clear they like what they see. Just like their beloved Bulldogs, On the Bone has attracted a loyal band of local followers who show their support by turning up in full voice and hungry for a win.
I’m here on a rainy Wednesday night and the place is almost booked out and pumping.
With its green-tiled bar and grey walls with wood accents, On the Bone looks smart and has a menu befitting of a neighbourhood gem too.
Small bites to start include a bowl of crispy squid with pickles and tartare, smoked salmon toast, beef tartare with artichokes, and a cauliflower gratin with taleggio and herb-spiked panko crumbs.
Bigger dishes are all about protein, if you hadn’t already twigged when reading the restaurant’s name. Large cuts of meat are designed to be shared and pimped up with salads and sides, like the O’Connor’s dry-aged porterhouse or the whole leg of lamb with baba ganoush, charred spring onion and herb salad. Other mains include crispy pork loin with caraway braised cabbage and fresh apple salad, butterflied baby snapper with celeriac puree and whole chicken with tarragon jus.
Dining at On the Bone for me was like an edible crescendo, with each course leading up to the cacophonous dessert: On the Bone’s take on an Eton mess. Here Big M is aerated to form a chocolatey, creamy layer that conceals a handful of berries and toasted buckwheat, with a large shard of white chocolate that sits on top like a delicious toupee.
On the Bone is worth crossing town for, a green-tiled beacon beckoning you to Maidstone.
On the Bone, 128 Mitchell St, Maidstone; starters $5-$18, mains $27-$34, shareable meat dishes $38-$95; wheelchair accessible
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