Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review : Four in Hand Restaurant

105 Sutherland Street
Paddington 2021

lunch Tuesday to Sunday 12pm - 2.30pm

dinner Tuesday to Sunday 6.30 pm - 10pm (Sunday -9pm)

The last time we sampled the wonderful offerings from Colin Fassnidge he was still cooking at La Grande Bouffe in Rozelle and the last time we dined at the wonderfully cosy Four in Hand restaurant, Brent Savage was in the kitchen working his magic prior to opening the Bentley.
So it really was about time we caught up with Colin Fassnidge & the Four in Hand.

When we arrived we were pleased to see that the room had not changed, it is still dominated by the giant squid painting, and still retains its dark, woody, cosy feel. You immediately feel comfortable here as though dining at a good friend's home.

The menu consisted of 5 entrees (all $26) and 5 mains (all $36), there is a special of 12 hour Braised Lamb Shoulder with Colcannon, leeks, baby carrots served with salsa verde & a rosemary jus ($84 serves two) & if you have a minimum of 10 people & have been organised enough to give 48 hours notice, you can indulge in Whole Suckling Pig with Accompaniments.

Our meal began with a vibrantly coloured fish & citrus soup. The first taste gave up a wonderful smokiness reminiscent of paprika, this however was quickly replaced with a deep fish flavour & finished off with a wonderful citrus tang. It was a very lively start & most certainly brought the tastebuds to attention.

Buggles had trouble deciding whether to go with the Crisp Pigs Ear with Roast Corn, Crab Salad and Ginger Beer Jelly or the House Smoked Salmon with Pork Belly, Prosciutto and Green Olive Puree and finally settled on the salmon.
Considering Fassnidge's style of cooking (slow roasting, nose to tail etc), it is quite a surprise to see how pretty his dishes are, they are visually very appealing. What impressed Buggles the most with this dish was how harmoniously it all worked together considering the relatively distinctive flavours of each element on the plate. The smoked salmon was sliced thickly enough to be meaty and the pork belly had enough fat to make it moist and delicious, but not so much it makes you sick (she has had a bad pork belly experience!) The prosciutto was salty, silky and generous. There were some lightly battered extras on the plate that added some nice texture and did taste of fish (anchovy perhaps?) but she couldn't quite discern what they were. Buggles enjoyed this dish a lot.

My dish of Heirloom Tomato Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella and Spiced Tomato Sorbet arrived & it was a thing of beauty. Ripe, beautifully flavoured (& coloured) diced chunks of tomato sat alongside rich, creamy & ever so slightly sour buffalo mozzarella. The tomato sorbet was a revelation; cold, with a wonderful spiciness - it danced on the tongue, the tomato consomme had great depth of flavour and at times was reminiscent of melon. This was a very light & clean dish.
I had a piece of lovely, thick crusted Iggy's sourdough left & I used this to mop up the remaining consomme.....divine!

Colin Fassnidge loves to cook with pork and as such he cooks it very well. Buggles' dish of Suckling Pig with Braised Tail, Cauliflower Purée, Pickled Cauliflower and Prunes arrived on a chunky wooden board. This dish was delectable, rich and indulgent. There were various cuts of pork which were all equally delicious for their individual flavours and textures. The crackling was superb, (but perhaps not as good as the crackling at Pilu??) The braised pig tail was incredibly tender and sticky and the cauliflower puree that it sat on was probably the smoothest puree she had ever had. The leafy greens and white beans were an attempt at pretending she wasn't a carnivorous beast. She was disappointed that she could not see, or more importantly taste, any pickled cauliflower as this could have added an extra dimension to the richness of the dish.

Poached Veal with Corned Beef, Summer Vegetables and Braised Lettuce bowled me over with its heady scent. The perfectly pink veal was very, very tender & positively melt in the mouth, it continued to slowly cook in its broth, sponge like soaking up its goodness. The vegetables (zucchini, peas & the like) were finely diced & retained their bite as did the braised lettuce. The little cubes of corned beef had great flavour & texture.

The Peach and Cherry Bakewell with Condensed Milk and Beer Sorbet caught Buggles' eye. She's watched far too many British food programs to not be intrigued by the Bakewell tart, and while this one was incredibly moist it did not entirely live up to the expectations she had placed upon it, and the cherry flavour was not as intense as she had hoped. The real star for her however was the poached peach which was poached to perfection and was juicy and beautifully sweet. This matched well with the rich creaminess of the condensed milk ice cream and the slightly spiced earthiness of the beer sorbet. It was a pleasant way to end the meal.

My the ‘4’s’ Snickers was somewhat similar to Spice Temple's Peanut and caremelised chocolate parfait only a whole lot better.
A snickers bar deconstructed, what could be better?
A rich, silky smooth, dark chocolate cream/mousse teamed with gooey, sweet caramel, crunchy toasted & coated peanuts & wonderfully peanutty ice cream and the pièce de résistance the salt topped peanut butter fudge. This ranks as one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. I love the combination of chocolate & peanut butter, throw in a good dash of salt & I'm gone. I already long to try it again.

Thus ended a truly remarkable, laid back lunch.

The service provided by our waitperson Stephen was affable & knowledgeable.

Colin Fassnidge is doing wonderful things at the Four in Hand and a visit is highly recommended.

Squeak (with a dash of Buggles)

Four in Hand on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I love this place, even though I've only dined there once, but it was very good, and this was before its elevation to two-hatted GFG status. Can't wait to go back soon to see what changes have occurred.