For close to the entirety of the last decade, neither professional requirements nor my sartorial ambitions (or lack thereof) necessitated knowing more than one way to secure neckwear. A healthy inquisitiveness (read: boredom) has since taught me the multitude of variants (read: 2) to the windsor knot. Abundance of options notwithstanding, the four in hand knot had served me well; asymmetrically well, in fact.
The Four in Hand Hotel in Paddington, however, does not require one to be adorned in neckwear. It also gives you an abundance of dining options (again, read: 2)… the fine Dining Room and the more accessible Bar, both award winners, the former holding Two Chef’s Hats from the SMH Good Food Guide 2012 and the latter crowned Best City Pub by the SMH Good Pub Food Guide 2012. Last Sunday, the bar was the chosen venue to catch up with a visiting cousin and his wife.
Living the closest, I arrive first and grabbed a table. It’s a neat, well-maintained pub; cream walls are accented by wooden features and monotone tiling. The pokies are tucked away in a non-descript room. We later move to one of the larger, sun-drenched tables along the windows.Just in time too. Our meal wouldn’t have fit on the smaller round tables.
We start with a couple of things from the Grazing Menu. Firstly, the Crab Mix on Toast. It has a rich paprika mayonnaise that, while delicious, completely overpowers the crab in both flavour and texture.
Secondly, we have the Roast Bone Marrow on Toast. The sourdough toast is lathered in butter, much more than I like. There isn’t a lot of the bone marrow to go around either. I’ll definitely give this a miss next time.
We share our mains and start with the Slow Braised Lamb Shoulder, served with braised fennel and fresh tomato. This was delicious, slow cooked tenderness flavoured by fresh herbs and lamb jus.
We also had the Roast Pork Belly, served with onion rings and coleslaw. The small-ish cube of twice-cooked pork is succulent, the fat melted away (and into the flesh!). The skin is unfortunately chewy.
We also order the Sunday Roast Special of pork belly strips, served with roast vegetables, coleslaw and crackling. The salsa verde gives the pork an extra dose of flavour.
I liked it so much a subsequent trip was necessary; V and I went for dinner last night.
She had the Grilled Market Fish, served with potatoes and a fennel salad. Very fresh and hearty.
I had the Rump Steak. The red wine sauce perfectly complemented the medium rare steak.
The word? It’s clear why this pub has received the accolades it has. Fantastic food at reasonable prices. Unlike most pub fare, the food is fresh, well-thought out and hearty. Exactly the kind of food you’d expect from the sibling of the similarly lauded Four in Hand Dining Room. It’s a little tucked away but diners are rewarded for seeking it out.