92 Enmore Road
Newtown, NSW 2042
I make a massive effort to be healthy on a day to day basis. Although I’ll never say no to free cupcakes being handed out on campus, most of my meals are wholesome and balanced enough to make a nutritionist shed a tear. Part of that is because I’m learning of new ways to get sick every day at med school, but mainly I do it to offset the indulgent meals I eat on occasion. I absolutely love carbs, red meat, and saturated fats, and what’s the point of being a foodie at all if you can’t occasionally order the bone marrow mashed potatoes and meat donuts?
Bovine and Swine was one such meal. With a name like that, you know they mean serious meaty business – serious meaty BBQ business to be precise.
Being used to the more restaurant-styled BBQ joints of Melbourne, Bovine and Swine came as a bit of a surprise. It’s basically just a canteen, where you order your meats at the counter, and they’re chopped and plated for you on the spot. Still, that doesn’t stop the staff from dishing out huge serves of warmth and hospitality on the side, nor does it stop the locals from storming the place come dinnertime.
The recommendation for duos (or really hungry individuals) is the Meat Plate for Two ($70). On paper it comes with 200g each of a choice of 3 meats, plus two sides, but really, the friendly folks are happy to mix and match 600g of meats in 100g increments, which is how we ended up with this wonderful platter.
The Brisket is something I always look forward to, but this one was actually a bit of a let-down. Although the cut was tender, it was quite bland towards the middle where the crust of spice rub couldn’t reach. Thankfully there was the house-made BBQ sauce to liven it up – a miraculous concoction made of equal parts fruitiness, smokiness, and tanginess, formulated to liven up any smoked meat.
My favourite on the platter would have to be the Pork Belly. The meat was unabashedly fatty, melting in the mouth with an indulgent smokiness, and was fantastic with the BBQ sauce.
Everything else on the platter fell somewhere in between the brisket and pork. The Pork Rib had an addictively sweet and savoury glaze, but were quite dry. The Chicken had a lovely smoky rub, but once again needed quite a bit of BBQ to give it moisture. And finally, the Texan-styled Hot Links – a combination of beef and pork – were rich and generously seasoned with peppery spices, but were a bit too fatty for me.
So how about the sides? Aside from a handful of chips and pickles that come with each platter, we also chose the Mac n’ Cheese, and the Brisket Beans. And oh how glorious they were. The Mac and cheese may not look like much, but each bite was a perfect mouthful of creamy, cheesy pasta, perfectly salted and seasoned with a twist of cracked black pepper. I could eat it forever. And despite the stiff competition, the beans made a good case for themselves too, slow-cooked in a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce with chunks of brisket.
Bovine and Swine may not be the best BBQ around, as the food was a bit of a mixed bag, but I won’t deny that I’m definitely a fan. The combination of copious amounts of meat, friendly local vibes, and mac and cheese was enough to win me over.
Rating: 13.5/20 – look at me. I am the swine now.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.