Paddington Arms which is located on the busy street of Oxford Street in Paddington is the new venture for the two-hatted Four in Hand restaurant, Colin Fassnidge. Together with one of his old sous chefs, Neil Thompson , they have created a menu that is quite similar to Four in Hand, promoting nose to tail eating with a more relaxed feel.
I quite like what they have done to the place, the spacious area and the booths, it’s indeed very casual and a great place to hang out with friends over a nice meal. Now the food is no ordinary pub grub – it has an English / Irish twist to it, I really enjoy the food at Four in Hand, so had high expectations and it did not disappoint.
I was meeting with the lovely suzchef. We have heard wonderful things about this place and we are both HUGE fans of Four in Hand. We thought we would share a couple of dishes and we are SO glad that we did – not sure how anyone could have finished it on its own!
We both couldn’t go past the roast pork belly with potato, apple and sage salad ($23) – oh my goodness. Come to my belly pork belly!
The crispy skin, it was perfect. The pork succulent and seriously fatty, too fatty for S but I certainly enjoyed it. The crisp apple, potato and sage salad were a wonderful compliment.
We also ordered the braised beef ribs with pickled cabbage ($25), WOW – it was a HUGE serving!
The beef was so tender that it just fell off the bone and melted in your mouth. It was relatively rich, heavy and winter comfort food!
The pickled cabbage with corn really complimented the beef well. I loved the wedges, crunchy on the outside and soft pillowy inside. I don’t know how anyone can finish this dish on their own, I struggled to finish my own piece.
Uncle and E went a week earlier, E had the ribs, but uncle ordered the house made beef burger with grated horseradish and onion relish and chips ($20). We were tempted to order this, but the beef ribs and pork belly won. It does look superb though – will definitely order that next time.
They also ordered seared bonito with pickled cucumbers, seaweed and radishes ($16) – uncle’s photos are always soo good!
I really like the food here, the atmosphere, it can get rather rowdy at night though. We were both TOO full for dessert, but it’s a good excuse to come back, try different dishes and have dessert. I think Colin and Neil have done an exceptional job! Seriously fantastic food, and looking forward to coming back soon.
*Photos with no GA watermark are taken by my Uncle.
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
384 Oxford Street
Ph: +61 2 9360 9668
Thanks to Tammi and the lovely people from both Trish Nichol Agency and the Bellevue Hotel for organising a tasting session at the newly renovated bar of the Bellevue Hotel. It has been many years since my last visit to the restaurant or the bar, and vaguely remember what it looks like, but the newly renovation is quite funky – I love the couches, the open area outside and the private dining room in which we all sat and ate.
For lunch, we thought we would share the meat short board ($35), the mixed short board ($35) and the mixed long board ($45).
The meat short board which consisted of little pig sliders, veal, pork and sage meatballs, lamb cutlets with salsa agresto.
I have heard some wonderful things about these little pig sliders. I have to say, I had high expectations of the little pig sliders and they didn’t live up to it. It was missing something, pickled or caramelised onions, it needed that extra ‘something’. Pork pattie with soft bun, I think it needed a little bit of chili for that ‘kick’.
The veal, pork and sage meatballs I really enjoyed. Tender, succulent meatballs which had a nice spicy kick at the end.
The lamb cutlets I didn’t have, but judging from everyone’s reaction, they seemed to have enjoyed it, it was nicely pink on the inside and had a nice light batter on the outside.
The mixed short board consisted of patata’s bravas, salt cod brandade with anchovies, capers and toasted sourdough and more little pig sliders.
I quite like patata’s bravas, however, this was a little bland. The potatoes were nicely cooked but needed a little bit of salt.
The salt cod brandade with anchovies was a hit amongst the diners. I love brandade, which is ‘an emulsion of salt cod, olive oil’ and eaten with bread was just delightful. I love the creaminess, and the saltiness, it was seriously tasty!
The mixed long board consisted of stuffed mushrooms, veal, pork and sage meatballs, garlic prawns and tomato hot pot and salt and pepper squid with fennel aioli.
The stuffed mushrooms I really enjoyed, large mushroom topped with cheese and bread crumbs.
The salt and pepper squid with fennel aioli was probably my favourite. Lightly battered and crunchy, the squid was tender and the fennel aioli gave it a nice touch.
The garlic prawns and tomato hot pot was good, but it lacked garlic. The prawns were plump but it lacked that strong garlic punch that I expected.
Overall, I thought the food was OK – typical bar food. Some of the dishes I thought lacked flavour, salt mainly, but some were well executed. However, in saying that, if a friend suggested this place for drinks one evening, I would happily share one of the short / long boards with friends over beers and champagne.
Thanks Ian for the hospitality! A great venue for afternoon drinks or even a gathering with friends.
I wouldn’t mind trying their restaurant though, the menu looks pretty damn good!
*GA dined as a guest thanks to both Trish Nichols agency and the Bellevue Hotel
159 Hargrave Street
Paddington, NSW 2021
Ph: +61 2 9363 2293
Four in Hand is one of my many favourite restaurants in Sydney. I came earlier this year with a couple of close friends and family to celebrate my birthday. I had the pork dish and it was one of the nicest pork dishes I have had! Whilst dining, we noticed a suckling pig being carried across the room – we all looked at each other and thought ‘yup, we will have to do that one day!’
You all know my passion for pork, it is by far my favourite meat! This is my ultimate meal – a whole suckling pig amongst friends! With the help of my uncle, we managed to find 15 other pork lovers to dine at Four in Hand for their sublime suckling pig. I have been looking forward to this meal ever since I made the reservations six weeks ago!
I arrived early, and the lovely waitress showed me our ‘room’. It is not in the main dining area, but at the back of the pub – it’s a small, intimate and cosy room that could fit about 20 people. It was the perfect setting for 16 hungry diners!
I love the fire place – perfect for a cold wintery night.
We started with some fresh bread, not baked on site but from Iggy’s bakery in Bondi. Why have I not heard about this bakery before?
Once everyone has arrived, the waitress kindly told us sit so she can serve our amuse bouche. A small cup of soup was presented before us – white fish citrus and basil soup. The soup was strong flavoured, a little too fishy some said but had a wonderful citrus tang. I certainly enjoyed it.
We sat there chatting and the next I knew, the suckling pig was carried and placed on the table!
OH piggy! The star of the evening! Knife inserted into the back, ready to be cut!
As the waitress cut through the leg, I could hear the crackling sound of the crispy skin, it was like music to my ears! Oh how I heart crispy crackle! She cuts away, and I couldn’t help but salivate. I had to put the camera down and start eating this wonderful suckling pig.
Cut and then served on a wooden plank (I really need to get one for home!). Chunks of meat topped with crispy crackling waiting to be eaten.
The pork meat was unbelievably succulent that it cuts right through, the crackling was gooey and crispy and oh so wonderful! Best part about the pork!
C wanted the leg and the ear. The leg looked too much of an effort to eat for me, however, here are his comments ‘The ear was very crispy and crunchy but didn’t have much taste to it. The leg was very hard to eat, the skin on the upper leg was crispy but there wasn’t much meat to it. I couldn’t bite into the lower leg. Then I had some of the “normal” pork and it was very tender and tasty. I didn’t have much skin until late so it went a bit chewy and cold by then, oops!’
There were condiments that came with the suckling pig, jus (which was nice but a little rich), apple sauce (absolutely delightful and perfect combination) and chimichurri sauce. However, I ate most of the pig as it is and it was splendid! The suckling pig came with side dishes. Dutch carrots, absolutely wonderful! I couldn’t stop eating them!
Colcannon – traditional Irish dish which consists of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. It was so creamy and so yummy it was hard not to have a second serve!
Slaw with prosciutto I enjoyed the most.
Last but not least, these bake scallions.
WOW! Food coma, 16 hungry diners demolished the pig – there was nothing left, except for the legs and the head. I am proud to say that I had at least two or three serves (my mother would be appalled!) and couldn’t stop eating the crackle.
It was a wonderful evening shared with wonderful friends! Although there were two separate groups, we all bonded over our love for food and wine!
Cost of the pig is $80 per person and you need a minimum of 10 people. 16 was probably the right number for us for the size of the pig! We definitely didn’t have any leftovers. I have had a couple of suckling pigs in my time, mainly Chinese style roast suckling pig and I have to say, I think I prefer the western style better. The meat is much more tender and the crackle – heavenly!
Wouldn’t hesitate to do it again, but maybe not so soon! Completely OD’ed on pork and had a ‘pig hangover’ – yes that is possible! If suckling pig is not your thing, then try their dinner menu at Four in Hand – well worth it! Unfortunately C didn’t think the cost of the pig was worth it but I think most of the diners did enjoy it.
Can you believe that my dear uncle wanted gelato after this feast – so yes, we did go to messina for some gelato! I couldn’t stomach one so had a couple of spoonful and I was done! Fantastic evening!
Ps: reservations are highly recommended! We booked six weeks in advance and from memory they are fully booked this month!
GA’s rating: 8.5 / 10
Four in Hand
105 Southerland Street
Ph: +61 2 9362 1999
I have walked and driven pass this Victorian house, café and bookstore, which is situated on the busy road of Oxford Street many times now. The café is always busy with people either queuing or dining. As the name suggests, not only is it a café, but also a bookstore. They have over 30,000 used books stretching from the ceiling to the floor and plenty of places to sit, either outside, by the window or downstairs. Two levels of books and check out the bottom floor – I would love to have a room like this at home!
B regularly comes here and she suggested we come here one afternoon for lunch. As expected, the place was busy and thankfully we managed to secure a table outside. It was just too nice to sit indoors. They have all day breakfast, which is a bonus, and lunch consists of gourmet sandwiches, paninis, risottos, pastas, soup and salads.
I couldn’t go pass the corn fritters with fresh avocado and tomato salsa ($11.90) – it was just too pretty to eat. Two perfectly round thin corn fritters – it was sweet, and delicious. The fresh avocado and tomato salsa were refreshing and a wonderful complement. It was filling and exactly what I wanted
B opted for something healthier, breakfast bowl ($11) – which consists of half bircher and half toasted muesli topped with fresh fruit and dessert yogurt. We both loved the combination of moist and crunchy muesli together.
I can imagine coming here one afternoon, sipping my coffee and reading a book from their collection under the sun. It would be very relaxing and a perfect way to spend an afternoon. I have always loved the idea of café with bookstore.
Ampersand uses allpress coffee, the coffee here is good, but I still do prefer Single Origin. Ampersand won ‘Wentworth Courier awards for Excellence Best Cafe in 2008, 2009, and 2010’, Service is friendly and efficient, and food is fantastic. Definitely keen to go back and try their lunch.
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
Ampersand books and cafe
78 Oxford Street
This is not the first time I have visited this delicious cafe, Tiger Mottle which can be found on Glenmore Road in Five Ways, Paddington.
I was catching up with a dear friend, M for lunch and considering neither of us had our cars that day, thought we would go somewhere that was relatively close. We had such a good breakfast here, that we thought we would come back and try their lunch.
The coffee was as good as I remembered, skim flat white – strong and very aromatic.
It was a steamy day and I opted for something relatively healthy for lunch – smoked ocean trout salad with bocconcini, green beans, avocado, tomato, crispy capers and racquet ($16.50). It was a relatively large serving, big chunks of ocean trout, bocconcini and avocado. The ocean trout was served warm and incredibly succulent. I loved the combination of bocconcini and avocado, soft and creamy, and the crispy capers were just the perfect complement. It was rather filling and unfortunately, didn’t manage to finish everything but it was definitely delightful.
M, opted for the Grilled Chicken Salad with avocado, baked ricotta, tomato, caramelized onions and walnuts. It was also a large serving – big cuts of chicken breast on a bed of rocket and spinach mixed together with baked ricotta and topped with caramelized onions. From memory, she didn’t eat any of the caramelized onions as she is not a fan, but managed to finish everything else. The chicken I thought was a little dry but she seemed to have enjoyed it.
It was wonderful catching up with M, and I have certainly taking a liking to Tiger Mottle. The breakfast was excellent, the service was a little sketchy that day, but the coffee and food definitely made up for it!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
248 Glenmore Road
Five Ways, Paddington, 2010
Ph: +61 402 520 517
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
My dear foodie friend, C has wanted to come to Buon Ricordo for quite sometimes now. It has been on his must go list and since I love food as much as he does, he asked if I wanted to go – and how can I say no? Buon Ricordo is one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Sydney and I have had many wonderful meals here. The last time I was here was for my brother’s 30th birthday. He loves their truffle pasta so much, that he could eat two plates on his own in one sitting!
We sat downstairs, thought I would face the wall so that C could face the kitchen. I have seen the guys in ‘action’ in the kitchen a couple of times now. We were presented with some fresh sour dough and bread sticks with a side of olive oil. I was tempted to have some, but I knew what was to come and resisted.
We originally wanted to have the degustation – C is my degustation partner in crime! ‘The Mother’ isn’t a huge fan of degustation, only because it is too much food and he doesn’t really enjoy it. Unfortunately, after much perusing and thinking, we decided against the degustation – 6 courses for $125, sounds like a steal deal but the thought of having so much pasta for a degustation could just be an over kill. Part of me was glad that we didn’t have it, as I don’t think I could have eaten that much food.
We started with the amuse bouche – tomato bruschetta. This was beautiful done, warm, toasted crunchy bread with fresh tomato drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with parsley and pepper. It was a great start to a wonderful meal.
C and I shared two entrees, the first being the tasting plate, cured ham with ricotta chestnut and almonds – both C and I love cured hams, and the ricotta chestnut was creamy and nutty and the almonds really gave it that extra flavouring and touch. The pan fried prawn served on cauliflower was wonderful. C is not a fan of cauliflower but thought the puree was ‘nice and prawn was great too’. I loved the cauliflower puree, it was creamy and very subtle I thought. The deep fried cuttlefish stuffed with eggplant and tomato was ok, nothing really special, we both couldn’t really taste the cuttlefish.
The moment C has been waiting for, fettucine al tartufovo – fettuccine with cream and parmesan, topped with a fried truffle egg, tossed at the table. Their signature dish, and those who have been knows that this is ONE HELL of an amazing dish! Sorry photo is dark, thought I’d take it with my camera instead of iphone and it was dark! (Seriously time for a new camera I think!). The pasta was tossed at the table which was ultra cool.
And voila, shared fettuccine. C’s comments ‘it was pretty cool to see it being tossed at the table and oh my, it was sensational’. It certainly was! I have had this dish more than half a dozen times, and each time, it still gives me chills and a WOW factor. It is awesomely sensational! The cream and parmesan mixed with the fried egg which ooze with yolk is just magnificent. It has been their signature dish for 16 years and for both of us, the dish of the night!
C had the agnello con parmigiana – lamb cutlets grilled and served with an eggplant parmigiana. I didn’t have any of this, as I am not a fan of lamb! I have had the eggplant parmigiana before and it was marvelous. C thought the ‘lamb was good but nothing too special, however, the eggplant parmigiana was wonderful!’ He loved the melting cheese goodness. It is probably one of the best eggplant parmigiana I have eaten.
I opted for something lighter, pesce al cartoccio, blue-eye trevalla with fresh tomato and garlic baked in paper. The eye fillet was perfectly cooked, it was tender and had lots of flavour from the ‘soup’. It was a flavourful dish, and tomatoes roasted until it was soft and mushy. I took the waiters advice of soaking up the soup with bread and it was just splendid.
With our mains, we received complimentary beans and potatoes. C did not touch any of the beans, so more for me! I have been going through a beans phase, so this was absolutely fantastic, perfect with my eye fillet!
For dessert, we shared the apple layered baked cake with cream topped with pistachio nuts. Unfortunately, we were a little disappointed, the apple layered cake was very sweet – too sweet for my liking. Even the cream did not soften the sweetness. I did like the added pistachio nuts though. As C said ‘it was pretty average’.
Overall, it was a great meal, service was great, and our waiter was extremely tentative. Despite the disappointing dessert, think we picked the wrong one, I wanted their nougat semifreddo, however, they have changed the nougat to fruit cake which I am not a massive fan, it was still a wonderful meal.
It was great catching up with C, my eating partner, and I look forward to our next meal!
GA’s rating: 8 / 10
108 Boundary Street
Ph: +61 2 9360 6729