Wonderful meal at Four in Hand, Paddington
I have wanted to try this place for a while now so when a friend, C, suggested this place for a birthday get together I was thrilled! Four in Hand is situated in the residential area of Paddington. I wouldn’t have found this place if I haven’t heard or read about it. It is actually a pub, and it was buzzing when we arrived.
The dining room is small, cozy and quite intimate. It does get a bit noisy when full but it was still quite pleasant.
I came here with ‘The Mother’, my brother, F and my sis-in-law, O, and a couple of close friends, C (my food partner in crime), T and J. C was keen to have the degustation, however, I knew the rest of the diners weren’t too keen, so we opted for a la carte.
We started with the amuse bouche – ham hock and cauliflower soup, served in the tiniest and cutest cup. The soup was warm, and absolutely wonderful. It had a hint of cauliflower and the ham hock was just delightful! As C would say, it was quite ‘exquisite’ and it certainly was! I really enjoyed this and would have ordered it, if it was on the menu.
For Entrée, C ordered the crisp pigs ear with roast corn, crab salad and ginger beer belly ($26). I didn’t have any of this, but it did look absolutely wonderful. C said that the crisp pigs ear was beautiful. He loved the corn and crab salad as it was slightly spicy and the flavours were sensational. That’s a big call for C, as he doesn’t like any type of salads at all! So it must have been fantastic, for him to really love it! The ginger beer jelly was wobbly, and did taste like ginger beer.
‘The Mother’ and I thought we would share an entrée, we ordered the sashimi salad with cucumber, radish, and popcorn ($26). (I think T ordered the same as us). The salad was refreshingly light, the combination of the cucumber and radish with sashimi was just wonderful. The dressing was light with a slight tang. My only gripe would be that there were only THREE sashimi!
F and O, shared the smoked salmon with pork belly ($26) – ingenious! I was close to ordering this, but I wanted the pork for main so couldn’t really do pork for both entrée and main – think it might be an over kill! The smoked salmon was wonderful and the pork belly, YUM! The flavours were just wonderful.
For mains, C, O and I ordered the suckling pig with braised tail, cauliflower puree, pickled cucumber and prunes ($36). WOW – what a way to start the year! Four different cuts of pig served on a thick wooden platter, this was just magnificent!
Starting from the top left (going clockwise), the pork belly was beautifully cooked, a slitter of fat, it was incredibly tender and incredibly succulent. The square block of confit shoulder with crackle was amazing! The skin was amazingly crispy and thin, it was just divine. Underneath that, the roast leg was so moist and stupendous. Last but not least, the braised tail and it was delightfully lovely! It was so soft it just melted in your mouth, my goodness – AMAZING! The cauliflower puree was fantastic and the prunes really gave it that extra sweetness. I have to say this is one of the nicest pork I have had – could this be one of the highlights for 2011? It certainly is a great way to start the year!
‘The Mother’ and F had the spring lamb: two ways with braised fennel and pearl barley ($36). It was a slightly smaller serving and both ‘The Mother’ and F devoured this. I had a tiny piece, it was way too lamb-y for me. The braised fennel was wonderful, however, ‘The Mother’ and F didn’t enjoy the braised fennel – it was too vinegary, but I thought it was wonderful!
The pearl barley was tasty, but not for me. ‘The Mother’ and F certainly enjoyed it though.
J and T, had the roast chicken with salt cod puree, mussels, grilled leek and sorrel. C thought there were too many greens, but he is not a huge fan of greens. However, both J and T said that the roast chicken was tender and moist and the sorrel was excellent – I love sorrel! But I love pork more.
‘The Mother’ was amazed that I demolished the suckling pig and took a picture of wooden plank. I think secretly he was hoping that I would pick up the wooden plank and lick it! Yup – GONE! It was seriously that good! If it was just us two, I may pick it up, but not in front of everyone! I’d like to think I have some sort of ‘class’.
For dessert, F, O, C and T had the ‘4’s’ Snickers ($16), which is a deconstructed Snickers Bar. The waitstaff did say that this was wonderful but I wasn’t up for anything chocolatey. They all enjoyed this though, C loved the chocolate with ‘yummy’ peanut butter and caramel sauce with crunchy pistachio nuts. C thought it was lovely but lacks the wow factor. F enjoyed this though, he has found a new love in peanut butter and caramel sauce.
‘The Mother’ and I shared the poached peach, cake (which I can’t remember! My bad!) with milk and beer ice cream ($16). My goodness, the poached peach was so soft, juicy and wonderful. The milk and beer ice cream was creamy, with a hint of beer flavour. I could definitely taste the beer. ‘The Mother’ didn’t enjoy the ice cream, he thought it was a bit weird, so more for me.
Four in Hand has been given a two-hat, and I can see why. Colin Fassnidge is head chef, and has previously trained at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and helped open Boxwood Café with Gordon Ramsay. The dishes I had were all well executed, French Bistro with a modern touch.
I love the décor, the service was immaculate and tentative. C was glad that he didn’t get the degustation, and I have to agree with him. I don’t think he would have enjoyed all the other dishes, the pigs ear, and suckling pig was probably the best two dishes on the menu.
It was a wonderful meal with friends and I would have to say, the beginning of many wonderful meals to come!
GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10
C’s ratings: 9 / 10 (!)
Four in Hand
105 Sutherland Street
Ph: +61 2 9362 1999