63 71 Enmore Rd Newtown, NSW 2042
|Opening hours||Tue-Thu 5–10pm, Fri 12 Noon–10pm, Sat 12 Noon–4:30pm, 5:30–10pm, Sun 12 Noon–6pm|
|Features||Accepts bookings, Wheelchair access, Licensed, Vegetarian friendly, Gluten-free options, Bar, Family friendly, Late night|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Payments||eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||(02) 9007 7754|
Cheese-lovers of the inner west rejoice! No longer do we have to scurry away to a Game of Thrones download and the couch to enjoy our clothbound treasures! No longer must we complain there's nowhere to neck a decent single malt with a Sainte Maure! No, my friends. The Stinking Bishops has opened, and it's wonderful.
Fans of the white-tiled cheesemongers of Europe, TSB owners Jamie Nimmo and Kieran Day have brought the tradition to Enmore Road (Stinking Bishop, by the way, is the very smelly English cheese used to revive Wallace at the end of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit). It's the kind of place to be approached as you would any good local providore. Drop in, have a yarn, see what's new, and maybe grab a glass of pinot in the process (admittedly, my butcher hasn't started serving booze with his bolar blades, but we live in hope).
There's close to 30 Australian and international cheeses on the menu. Some of the numbers chillin' in the display fridge include a buttery-rich Delice des Cremiers from Burgundy, Quickes oak-smoked cheddar out of Devon (a world away from the smoked rubber stuff that turns up each year at office Melbourne Cup parties) and Brigid's Well - an ash-covered goat's cheese from Castlemaine's revered Holy Goat. Kudos to Philistine-friendly phonetics on the menu so you don't have to sound like a noddy and accidentally rhyme fermia with hernia (for those playing along at home, it's pronounced firm-e-air).
TSB isn't just eat-in or take-home fromage, though. Not at all. Day (formally of Redfern's Eathouse Diner) does a cracking toasted cheese sandwich for lunch. ''Mr Crispy'' ($12.50) comes three ways: thin slices of smoked wagyu, gruyere, horseradish mayo and pickles (major win); Barossa ham, cheddar, tomato jam and mustard; or Heidi Tilsit (this reviewer's favourite melting cheese), raw mushroom and truffle mayo.
At dinner time, Enmore rockers and blokes with high-buttoned collars and moustaches fill the place, drawn to the Smith Journal siren-call of handsome wooden furniture and Bob Dylan soundtrack. These cheese-eating suspender junkies get stuck into classic British fare such as duck rillettes with plum jam ($18), pork pie with fruit pickle ($18), and smoked mackerel with new potatoes, house labna and sprouts ($26). There's also a deconstructed cheesecake ($12), which translates to Pepe Saya creme fraiche, sorrel and macerated strawberries on a bed of peanut crumble. Day tells me he does something special to the creme fraiche, but is elusive as to explaining exactly what (not that I care, as it tastes amazing).
If Enmore Road continues to pump out places of this quality (see Hartsyard, Osteria di Russo & Russo and The Midnight Special), Surry Hills should care to watch its back.
Do … take home some of the Salumi Australia charcuterie, too.
Don't … be afraid to ask cheesy questions of the staff.
Dish … ''Mr Crispy'' pressed sandwich.
Vibe … English charm with Enmore edge.