If we were giving a crown to winter's most legendary meal, lamb shanks would definitely be one of the major contenders. Not for the faint-hearted, this larger than life, hearty flavourful dish consists of everything that a winter meal should: comfort, red wine and lashings of creamy potato (go on, say it with an Irish accent). To say it's filling would be an understatement. To say it's too big to consume would really be a tragedy, because, although large, the mighty lamb shank boasts incredible flavour and you'd just be plain silly to miss out. So pile your plate high and embrace the shank. We certainly have. These are five of our top picks for the best lamb shanks in Melbourne gong.
The Local | Port Melbourne
Head to The Local in Port Melbourne for a twist on the ol' lamb shank and you'll be pleasantly surprised when a GIANT pie arrives at your table. Tuck into your crispy slow-cooked lamb shank, embedded under a crust of delish puff pastry and find a yummy Guinness and mushroom sauce, layered with mash potato and peas! The flavours all come together just like they should and this simple, yet mouth-watering invention is exactly what you need on an awful winter's day. It's pretty much a warm hug for your belly really, and how can you say no to that?
Meat & Wine Co | Hawthorn
Pull up a chair at Meat & Wine Co and you know, just by the size of the knife on the table, these guys mean business. They also know a thing or two about cooking meat – and ladies and gents the lamb shanks are by no means an exception. Cue the plate for two larger than life shanks, resting bottoms up on thick, creamy potato mash, topped with coriander and thinly sliced chilli. Packed full of flavour and salted to perfection, the tender meat falls elegantly off the bone. At some point, you might think you've had enough, but the delicious flavours keep pulling you in for more. Add some Dijon for an extra kick, or savour each bite with a glass of red. Superb.
Image credit: Meat & Wine Co.
Friends of Mine | Richmond
It's no secret Friends of Mine does some amazingly great food. Chances are if you love food as much as we do, you've probably been there more than once – but have you treated yourself to the slow cooked lamb shank salad? This mountainous dish is exactly what dreams are made of. Think beautifully cooked lamb pulled straight from the bone, cleverly intertwined with giant pearl cous cous and organic quinoa. You'll find red pepper salsa with dukkah and even pomegranate, which not only add bursts of flavour, but also contributes to the beautiful colour scheme of the dish. It's fresh, it's filling and it's absolutely to-die-for. It's not traditional, but it's one of Melbourne's best lamb shank dishes in our opinion.
Copperwood | Carlton
Since opening its doors for the first time in 1956, Copperwood in Carlton remains the only Italian restaurant on Lygon Street without an Italian name (I know, right?). It was also the very first restaurant to open up in Melbourne's Little Italy (bet you didn't know that), and has since earnt itself a pretty good reputation for dishing up some fine Italian fare. It is also home to some of the biggest and best lamb shanks jn Melbourne. These babies are meaty, so make sure you arrive with a big appetite. You'll find two giant sized portions of slow-cooked casserole-style lamb shanks, each rich with a deliciously thick sauce, made extra chunky by a medley of carrot, celery and onion. A bed of creamy mash potato lies beneath ready to soak up all the juices. If you get through this one without leaving anything behind, you'll definitely have impressed us.
Robert Burns Hotel | Collingwood
Located on Smith Street in Collingwood, you'll find the Robert Burns Hotel – a warm and inviting Spanish restaurant-pub offering traditional dishes in a relaxed setting. While this serve of lamb shank is slightly smaller than the aforementioned dishes, it's by no means less filling. Settle in for a delectable Spanish-style braised shank with tender meat cooked to perfection. The delightfully sticky red wine jus will be a topic of conversation long after you leave the Robbie Burns – seriously, it's that good! Oh and the creamy mash cannot be faulted – even the sautéed Dutch carrots will have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing. If you love lamb shank, this is definitely one of Melbourne's best.
Who do you think does the best lamb shanks in Melbourne? Tell us in the comments below! You might also like to check out more of Melbourne's best lamb dishes.
Main image credit: Anthology