Four in Hand Restaurant - Paddington, Sydney
To celebrate a special event, the Mother, DS and I thought we’d check out the Four in Hand Restaurant - a restaurant close enough to be considered in our neighbourhood. The minimally decorated dining room can be found adjoining the pub (which also has some great chow, I hear!) and presents a clean-cut, no-fuss kind of atmosphere. Overall, we had a good experience but it wasn’t quite what we expected. I didn’t realise the kitchen was quite as experimental…there were some flavour combinations I wasn’t sure I agreed with. No matter though, because this is a place that gets the basics right: straight-forward service, good and fresh produce and extra goodies like the amuse-bouche and complimentary petit fours.
Sharing entrees is always the way to go, so we went for the Tuna Sashimi with Lemon Curd, Cucumber Juice and Sea Herbs, as well as the Warm Corned Beef with Bresaola, Buffalo Curd and Nashi Pear (each $28). I have had good experiences with the tuna/fish-cucumber combination at Gastro Park, who do a delightful fish belly and cucumber-three-ways combination that I can never resist. The fish was wonderfully fresh, but I am unsure about the sea herbs, which had an overpowering flavour. I’m glad we picked the Corned Beef as our second entree - it lies on the complete opposite side of the taste spectrum and allowed for a well-balanced start to our meal. I have a somewhat odd love and fascination of Nashi Pears, and so I just had to see what they did with it in this dish! The result was impressive - if only they’d given us more of everything on our plate!
For her main, the Mother chose the Roast Kingfish with Potato, Mussel and Cider Sauce ($39). The rather generous portion of fish is probably one of the less adventurous dishes on the menu - one for the safe eaters (although the sea herbs did make an appearance!). I had the Lamb 4 Ways with Ginger Broth ($39). At first, I was sceptical about what this ginger broth would be, having had bad experiences with a ginger cocktail (not that I expected it anything to be like a cocktail…) but it turned out to be a rather subtle flavour. Delightful surprises on the plate included some fennel and ‘golfballs’ of carrot and turnip! DS went for the Slow Roast Suckling Pig with Crisp Tail and Rhubarb ($39) - who can resist suckling pig?! I’m also going to assume it comes from a similar suckling pig that we saw at the Taste of Sydney festival recently, which is also available (yes, the WHOLE pig) for order with 48 hours notice…definitely one of my life eating goals. Nice to see the restaurant serving all part of the animal, with the crispy tail making appearance, although I wasn’t quite sure where the rhubarb was… To accompany, we had a side of Beans with Hazelnut Dressing ($10). I’ve seen beans done with almonds a lot, so hazelnut was a nice touch!
Dessert (often the highlight of my meal…) was shared again, with the nice addition of complimentary petit fours (well, petit trois really) of dark chocolate with raspberries. We had the Roast Plums, Basil Cream and Hoegaarden Snow ($16) because roast or poached fruit is one of my favourite things and I was definitely not disappointed! The basil cream (and the small leaves decorating the plate) was a bit questionable…I think I prefer basil to remain in my pasta! It was also surprising when the Chocolate Nutrigrain with Dulce de Leche ($16) turned out to be more mangum ice cream-like rather than a cereal…still, amazingly yum!
I guess one thing I’ve learned from the Four in Hand is that sometimes, not every ingredient may be named on the menu - and that is okay! Sometimes my eating can be a bit narrow-minded…but surprises are actually really fun!
Four in Hand Restaurant
105 Sutherland Street
Paddington, NSW 2021