A few years before Four In Hand became better known for its executive chef, it was better known for honest rustic British food celebrating the nose to tail concept. While it is now better known in broader circles for Colin Fassnidge of the reality television show, My Kitchen Rules, the locals have continued to flock to the warm pub and dining room.
On Sunday’s, a roast is offered for an extremely reasonable $24. Having no idea how long we might have to wait on Easter Sunday for a feed, Catherine and I got to the pub a little after 5pm and had no trouble finding a table in the pub dining room, tucked away from the main bar. There is plenty of atmosphere with standing room only in the main bar, most watching one or both the rugby and AFL on TVs around the venue. At this stage, the main dining room is just being set up for the evening’s more formal punters.
If it wasn’t for the great feeling of the pub, its applauded food, and the opportunity to catch some of the game, this pub in the suburban part of Paddington could be missed by most. Even on the third visit it still feels like you have uncovered a hidden secret. We go up to the bar to order our roast but it has changed from the pork belly (that looked amazing on some other tables) to the beef.
We will never know how the pork belly tasted, but the beef was cooked perfectly for most tastes (medium rare). The rustic plating true to what we experienced in country England for similar meals included huge roasted carrot, pumpkin, onion, and some small potatoes. All of the vegetables were beautifully cooked and seasoned, with a good amount of caramelisation. The gravy was good, but definitely not generous enough given the quantity of the main ingredients, meaning the only critique would be the last few mouthfuls having almost no sauce at all.
Whether washed down with a glass of red wine, or a pint of beer, there is warmth and reassurance about a Sunday roast this good. It’s not rocket science to do a great roast, but how often can you find this type of amazing and honest food at your average pub? If Four In Hand were around the corner, down the road, or within a few suburbs, I would be there more than once a month. The locals here are extremely lucky.