It’s not every day you add a dish to your menu based on a dog treat. But for Arnold Poernomo, co-owner of small Chippendale bar and restaurant Monkey’s Corner, that day is here.
The “Fetch Meal” is inspired by Wes Anderson’s new stop motion animation film Isle of Dogs, the director’s first feature since 2014's critically acclaimed The Grand Budapest Hotel.
It tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, a 12-year-old living in Megasaki City. When all dogs are exiled to a vast garbage dump, Kobayashi sets off in search of his bodyguard-dog Spots. With the help of dogs he meets along the way, he begins an epic journey, presented on screen with all the detail and wry earnestness we’ve come to expect from Anderson. The voice-over cast is classic, featuring familiar names in Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Liev Schreiber and more, to voice the film’s canine characters.
Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson
Poernomo took the theme of the movie to heart. The Fetch Meal is built on the venue’s signature dish of steak tatare and paired with bone marrow.
“When you have bone marrow, usually you just have it with salt and pepper, relish and salad,” says Poernomo. “But because the movie is based in Japan, we put in a bit of yuzu, a Japanese citrus, to cut through the fattiness of the bone marrow; and sichimi, a Japanese spice, to give it a bit of heat as well. The balance of texture, taste and aroma is playful and harmonically compliments each other.”
It sounds exotic but will also taste somewhat familiar. Brioche accompanies the dish so guests can spread on the bone marrow and sandwich the tartare between. “We don’t actually put cheese in it,” says Poernomo, “but with the mustard, ketchup, eschalots and pickles added, it tastes a bit like a cheeseburger.
The Fetch Meal will be served with a reversed Old Fashioned. “Having that fattier meal and something quite meaty, I think it’s best to wash it down with a whiskey-based cocktail,” says Poernomo. “But we’ll reverse the composition of the normal Old Fashioned. In this case, instead of 60mls of the whiskey we use 60mls of Amaro Angostura and 30ml of whiskey, which gives it more of a full body.”
The co-owner of the pint-sized establishment on Kensington Street is aware this isn’t a dish many will have tried before. “It might scare people off,” he says. “It might be too fatty or they’ve never had it before. But the Fetch Meal is something we’ve never done before and I think it’s quite quirky. When we put it there, it’s like boom: there’s the bone. This is the human version of what dogs like to eat.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Isle of Dogs, the new film from Wes Anderson, in cinemas April 12. Watch the trailer below.