Recently, though, we've had a run of bad luck. There was the hipster Korean that ravaged our wallets but failed to put any wind in our sails, and elsewhere, the tofu, chicken and salted fish dish that didn't just look like what the cat dragged in, but something it dragged in, mauled, gnawed on and threw up. We ended up huddled in the lee of Nhu Lan, gnawing on our emergency banh mis, quite lost for words.
Just a stone's throw from Spotswood station, brewers Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen have set up their new digs, where they brew their signature Golden and Sunset ales. Drop in and you can not only have a gander at all the shiny beer-making kit, but prop at the bar and order a freshly brewed pot. (I'm being quite literal - the IPA we tried had just finished brewing that very day!)
But these birds have chosen to feather their nest even further by letting Casey Wall curate the menu. Casey is one half of Rockwell and Sons, which is one of my top reasons to cross the river. He's a North Carolina native who's done time at joints as fancy as Le Cirque in New York and Cutler & Co in Fitzroy. In the case of Rockwell, this translates to rib-sticking American goodies like fried chicken or devilled eggs, done with care and panache.
We pulled up a stool at one of the communal tables and got nibbling on Parmesan shortbread and goats curd Oreos ($9), which were brilliant. Regular Oreos go great with milk, and these Oreos go great with beer. Here at the Nest, you can sample Two Birds' own brews plus guest taps, and there's wine and boutique spirits, too.
We swooned over this Kentucky beer cheese on crisp, well-oiled rye bread slices ($12). This stuff was incredible - a blend of Vermont cheddar, cream cheese, Sunset ale and spices to make a gooey, bitey spread that was totally amazing.
There are four sandwiches for mains. We're talking what Casey calls the world's greatest grilled cheese, with bacon jam and smoked scamorza cheese, or a very interesting proposal with pressed broccoli and vintage cheddar. But today it had to be the smoked pulled pork with red slaw ($16). I know every man and his dog is doing pulled pork these days, but this is the real deal. You have to try it - it's out of this world!
It was the brisket-and-bacon "5-Chile Chilli" for me, topped with a little house-made creme fraiche ($18). Rich, dark, spicy and fabulous. This 'un is perfect with the "Taco Beer", which has been brewed with a little corn, plus a sprinkling of lime and coriander! I could definitely taste the corn, which gave it a fresh, popcorny spark. Yum.
Two Birds Nest is just a few hundred metres from Spotswood station, or if you accidentally get on an express like we did, you can also easily walk from Newport - it's a ten-minute stroll. There are more seats in the actual brewing room. Another specialty on the menu that we didn't try is the cheese platter, with matched beers - there's even a proper cheese cabinet so every wedge is at the perfect temperature.
Read more here at The Crafty Pint, or cop a sneaky peek at the current menu here!
Two Birds' Nest (@TheTwoBirdsNest)
136 Hall St, Spotswood
Open: Thurs 4-10pm, Fri 4-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10pm.