Last week, the Western Australian government made an announcement that deemed it legal for their state to sell horse for human consumption. WA butcher Vince Gareffa might be copping a lot of flack for being the first butcher to sell it, but the truth of the matter is that Australia sends around 50,000 to 70,000 horses overseas for human consumption. It’s part of many gastronomic cultures including French, Italian and Chinese, so why do we have such a hard time getting our heads around it?
While Australia is relatively young in terms of developing our own national identity and culture, and we tend to associate horses as domestic pets and beasts of burden - rather than cuisine – if we can justify eating kangaroo (which, like brumbies are culled by National Parks and Wildlife), crocodile and camel, shouldn’t we be able to accept horse on the menu, too?
If you were in Melbourne this week, French chef Nicholas Poelert cooked up a horse menu at his restaurant Embrasse, but until we get to a point where horse is more regularly seen on the menu, here are a few creatures we once found to be weird or inappropriate on the menu...and where to eat them.
Camel - Sydney Tower Restaurant
1/86-100 Market St Sydney
New South Wales 2000
(02) 8223 3800
While 'throw another camel steak on the barbie' might not have caught on yet, there is a huge argument for eating camel meat for the sake of saving our outback. The meat tastes a little like beef, is very lean and can be found through Camels Australia and on menus at restaurants like Sydney Tower Restaurant's roasted meat buffet.
Kangaroo - The Carlisle Castle Hotel
19 Albermarle St Newtown
New South Wales 2042
(02) 9557 4852
We've covered roo before, but this one is too good to not mention. Tucked away in the back streets of Newtown, The Carlisle has to be one of the best pub meals in town - unsurprisingly, it's managed by Ross Godfrey who also owns nearby fine diner Oscillate Wildly. Order from the specials board, where at the moment, you'll find a rare roasted loin of kangaroo with chargrilled with baby beets, roasted chats and silverbeet with pepper jus.
Snails - Tabou Bistro
527 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
(02) 9319 5682
It really wasn't that long ago that eating snails was still considered a weird and slightly gross thing to do in this country. Fortunately long-time favourite French establishments like Tabou in Surry Hills have brilliant dishes like sautéed snails, veal sweetbread and shank, trompettes, turnip, puff pastry to convert the disbelievers.