Shop 5, 63-71 Enmore Rd
Newtown, NSW 2042
There’s just something oh-so-indulgent about having nothing but charcuterie for dinner. I’d like to think it’s because it makes me feel a little bit refined, but really I think it’s more like a meal of chicken nuggets – you know you shouldn’t, but that’s part of what makes it so good.
And whilst there are plenty of places around town that’ll serve you up a decent plate of meat and cheese, where you really want to go if you’re serious is The Stinking Bishops. With over 40 cheeses (both local and international) on rotation at any one time, as well as a respectable selection of cured meats, even the most discerning cheese aficionados should find something new and exciting to try here.
Set up as a charmingly casual deli-styled restaurant, The Stinking Bishops practically begs for long, languid meals over a good bottle. The staff were knowledgeable and always ready to point you in the right direction of a good cheese, all without being intrusive or overbearing. The flip side is that all this makes The Stinking Bishops rather popular, so make sure you book well in advance, even for a weeknight.
So, about the cheese. We went for a Two Cheese Platter ($23), but choosing which ones to have was the hard part. I’m always one for a soft, ripe style that can do double duty as a dessert cheese, and the Brillant Savarin (France) suggested by our waitress was a spot-on fit. Mellow and creamy with just enough pungency to give it character, it was great eaten straight-up on a cracker, or topped with the phenomenal fig preserve served on the side. Meanwhile, Chris’ preferences run more towards the full-bodied cheeses such as the Pyengana Cheddar (Australia), which despite being a hard cows-milk cheese, was balanced out by a pleasant nutty sweetness.
I confess to loving charcuterie even more than I do cheese, so the Two Meat Platter ($22) also had to be ordered. The presentation of this was just lovely, with the slices of meat rolled up and tucked in neatly next to thickly sliced sourdough and house-made pickles, almost like a bouquet of flowers (but way better, of course!). Unfortunately the actual taste was a lot more average. The Bresaola was quite lean, almost tough in places, and lacking the rich beefiness I had hoped for. Likewise, the Truffle Salami didn’t have as much punch as the name suggested, coming through as just a faint earthy hint of mushroom amongst the mildly spiced sausage.
I had made the tough decision to not order the mac and cheese – something I heartily regretted when I saw (and smelt) a serve going to the table next to us, but the Winter Salad ($20) I had in lieu was certainly no slouch. Full of cold weather veggies, this was roasty and nutty, but unlike most winter salads, it was simultaneously leafy and fresh. It’s a unique and delicious mix of a classic winter roast vegetable salad and a leafy side salad, though I would’ve liked to see a bigger portion for the price.
The upside of not having ordered the mac and cheese however is that there’s now room for dessert! The Apple Tarte Tartin ($14) is a small but indulgent slice, the syrupy apples infused with rosemary for a warm, spicy twist, and topped with a generous scoop of mascarpone sprinkled with a praline crunch. It was a lovely way to end the meal.
Needless to say, I will be coming back for the mac and cheese I so erroneously forewent, but even that aside, there’s plenty to bring me back to The Stinking Bishops. Not only are there many more cheeses left to try, but they also have some fantastic sandwiches lined up for lunch that I wouldn’t mind sampling.
Rating: 13.5/20 – cheesy tryptophan dreams.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.