Date of Visit: January 20 2013
When it comes to restaurant recommendations, who’s a better person to turn to than yours truly? I eat out a lot, and I mean A LOT! I should moonlight as a Concierge in some posh 5 star hotels. However, since I had worked (albeit only part-time in hotels when I was in Uni – I can honestly tell you that hospitality is nothing glam, sipping champers and mingling with guests at cocktails – it’s backarchingly exhausting with long arduous hours and occasional dealings with incredible hard-to-please guests!)
Enough said, with a couple of guests flying in from New York for the work week ahead, I have been delegated to find a couple of wonderful places to entertain. Since this is our first meeting, I decided to dine at one of the locals that I frequented. Four in Hand is a small comfortable restaurant housed in a heritagey building in the leafy suburb of Paddington – where I can easily find a spot to park my car for a Sunday lunch. The chef is an Irishman by the name of Colin Fassnidge and he cooks the food that I like to eat, namely traditional slow-cooked foods that are big in natural flavours and presented with a contemporary twist. It also offer a good selection of international wines. The restaurant has a slightly formal vibe with white linen table-cloths and napkins, however, the maitre-d and waiters are friendly enough to welcome guests in flip-flops for lunch too.
First up, the amuse bouche – the usual ‘fish and citrus soup’. Very powerful and zesty – not unlike the lobster bique with tangy lemon and herbs - I’d say ‘wake up taste buds’!
My guest had a crab tart, which is curry mixed with potato and fennel. I am not sure of the exact ingredients, but the marron looks big and juicy.
Mine was warm trevally (a white fish). The mash potatoes accompaniment come heavily mixed with miso. The vinegared cucmber was very appetising and best of all was the crunchy wafer-thin pork crackling, which I absolutely loved. A Japanese-influenced dish, I reckon with miso, soy sauce and pickled cucmbers. Never a food waster, I used the sourdough (from Iggy’s) to mop up all the sauces!
Next up: The Main (A$39)
My guest had the lamb with the seasonal tomatoes. The menu changes regularly, but the basic key ingredient of of lambs, pork and beef are always there, be it slow-braised or roasted. What changes are the seasonal vegetables.
My main was absolutely divine! Look at the fat on the pork! I ate all the fat and left most of the meat on the plate (it was a huge serve – the one other thing I love about 4 in Hand is, they feed you very generously!) Seriously, if you want to stay looking young and healthy, you have to eat some Omega 3… eg Fat! Cooked fat is not fattening because the fatty oils have been released in the process of cooking, and what is left is the colleagen and fat molecules. Seen any good looking vegetarians in their 60s? Betcha they have wiry hair, bad teeth and parchment skin. Reason is: While being on a raw food or vegetable diet is fantastic, the nutrients that you have in the beginning will be used up in 10 years if you don’t replenish your body with healthy fats and vitamins found in traditional food. Anway, without regressing further, the fried ‘cube’ you see on the plate has some sweetmeats, more fat and pigs tail YUMMO! The roasted nectarines and radicchio gave a terrifc balance of tarty sweet and bitterness to the dish! COMPLEX SIMPLICITY INDEED!
Oh, I nearly forgot my main came with smooth mashed potatoes with celeriac and eschallots – to ease my eusophagus! LOL
Finale: The Dessert (A$16)
Pictures speak for themselves… Nom Nom
I was interested to know what Hoegaarden snow was. It was simply lime granita
Here are the iPhone food porn that I have from my other lunch on December 8 2012. Lucky that I took snaps of the menu too. Otherwise, I won’t know what is hiding under the foliage. There are some key changes in the menu, good thing too, as I can always expect something new when I visit.
Well, if the restaurant menu looks steep, then the pub next-door will be more your thing. The food is a ‘fraction’ of the price you pay in the restaurant and they come from the same kitchen!
All in all, I do recommend Four In Hand for your out-of-town visitors. Next up dinner at Quays before my visitors head back to NYC!