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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Whole suckling pig at the Four in Hand, Paddington

Whole suckling pig at the Four in Hand, Paddington

Whole suckling pig. It's yours at the Four in Hand in Paddington for $80 per person. You'll need at least ten people for this porcine feast, but you'll need each and every one of them to get through it all, the whole pig carved ceremoniously at the table and served with what seems like a never-ending parade of accompaniments.

Bread with butter and salt in marrow bones at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Iggy's sourdough with butter and salt in marrow bones

It was a fitting farewell for one of our own, off to conquer New York City and the world. Celebrating with food, and far too much of it, seemed wholly appropriate.

Our group was accommodated in the Four in Hand's new private dining room, an intimate space that will seat 14 at a pinch, but seated eleven of us around a large wooden table with ease. It used to be a staff dining room, but their loss is the customer's win, tucked away upstairs so you can make as much noise as you please without disturbing other guests.

Smoked fish soup at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Smoked fish soup with citrus, paprika and basil

Thick slices of Iggy's sourdough appease any early hunger pangs. The hollowed-out marrow bones filled with butter and salt provide an atmospheric touch. We're also treated to an amuse bouche of smoked fish soup, dainty cups filled with a fragrant both, accented with citrus, basil and a heavy dose of smoked paprika.

They'll happily bring around more bread too. It's tempting to dig into more but try to exercise restraint - there's pig to be had!

Whole suckling pig at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Whole suckling pig

The chaos that heralds the arrival of the suckling pig is bigger than any celebrity. He's carried in on a giant chopping board and laid down gently on a side table. Staff know to stand back and let the paparazzi of mobile phone photos take their course.

Carving the leg of the suckling pig at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Carving the leg

As staff start carving the pig, the accompaniments to our meal start landing on the table.

Salsa verde and apple butter at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Salsa verde and apple butter

The quenelle of salsa verde is a compressed version of herbage, but I'm a bigger fan of the apple butter, adding a generous dollop to my slices of pork.

Celeriac remoulade at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Celeriac remoulade

There's no shortage of vegetables here. Executive chef Colin Fassnidge seems determined to feed you your daily veggie recommendation in one sitting. There's the delicate crunch of celeriac remoulade, the salty sweet comfort of cabbage with speck, and giant florets of roasted cauliflower, in varying shades of golden brown.

Cabbage with speck at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Cabbage with speck

Roasted cauliflower at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Roasted cauliflower

Colcannon mashed potato at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Colcannon mashed potato

The colcannon mashed potato is nothing short of glorious, a copper pot filled with mouthfuls of silky smoothness. It's a holy trinity of carbs, butter and cream.

Roasted parsnips at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Roasted parsnips

There are roasted parsnips too, fabulously nutty in taste and cooked to a caramelised candy sweetness.

Suckling pig crackling skin at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Crackling skin

The pig remains the star of the show though. We're delivered successive boards of carved pig that move from the leg to the belly to the shoulder and finally the pigs head.

Carving the suckling pig at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Carving up the pig

It's fascinating to see how the pork changes in texture, fattiness and flavour as you move through the animal. The pork belly is fatty as expected, but there's a surprising tenderness in the shoulder too.

Suckling pig rib bones at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Rib bones

The staff don't tend to serve the bones unless you specifically ask for them. I put in a request and relished a couple of rib bones, still trapped with juicy and flavoursome meat.

Carving the suckling pig head at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Time to eat the head

And don't forget the pig's head either. Our finale of tongue, snout, pig's cheek and crispy pig's ears was ravaged with much gusto.

Carved suckling pig with crackling at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Suckling pig with crackling

The suckling pig was tender but the skin wasn't necessarily crackled everywhere. Some bits of skin had an audible crunch but other sections were still a little soft and determinedly chewy.

We managed to keep up with the delivery of each carved pig serving until the pig reached halfway when eating slowed down considerably. We were defeated in the end but staff will happily provide takeaway boxes for you to take home leftovers. We thought we had done pretty well until staff told us a previous group of nine had eaten the entire pig and asked for extra colcannon mashed potato!

Treacle tart with bread ice cream dessert at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Treacle tart with bread ice cream, house-made mead and cumquat $16

We still had room for dessert (separate stomach), ordering one of everything on the menu, except for the cheese board. The treacle tart with bread ice cream with crazy addictive, especially with the house-made mead that was poured at the last minute. The honey tinge of the mead added a subtle sweetness to the square of treacle tart, candied cumquat slices and scoop of nutty and caramelised bread ice cream.

Licorice poached quince with parsnip ice cream dessert at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Licorice poached quince with parsnip ice cream $16

The licorice poached quince had only a very faint tinge of aniseed but it was the parsnip ice cream that provoked the greatest reaction. It really did sing with parsnip, like a buttery smooth parsnip puree accented with sugar.

Chocolate and cornflakes dessert at the Four in Hand, Paddington
Chocolate and cornflakes $16

Usually chocolate and cornflakes includes a cornflake ice cream on a stick, but tonight we're served a deconstructed version - possibly because they realise we're sharing the dessert among us. It's a wild playground of tastes and textures, a rubble of chocolate crumbs mixed with chocolate mousse, slabs of cornflake ice cream and shards of feuilletine.

We had a fab night with wine, teas and dessert for less than $100 a head. And suckling pig lunch boxes for the next day too!

Whole suckling pig at the Four in Hand, Paddington

Four in Hand on Urbanspoon

Four in Hand
105 Sutherland Street, Paddington, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9362 1999

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12pm - 2.30pm and 6pm til late

Sunday and Monday 12pm - 10pm
Tuesday to Saturday 12pm - 11pm

The suckling pig with accompaniments requires minimum 48 hours notice
$80 per person, for a minimum of 10 people 
An 8% service charge applies to all group bookings

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Whole suckling pig: Chophouse, Sydney
Whole suckling pig: Emperor's Garden, Haymarket
Whole suckling pig: Signorelli Gastronomia, Pyrmont
Suckling pig: Swine & Co, Sydney

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/20/2014 04:26:00 pm

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pappa Rich, Broadway


Deep fried chicken skin? Mention the idea to people and you'll get two distinct reactions: a lightbulb flash of excited glee or a look of confused horror at the very thought. We'd been resisting this plateful of goodness on earlier visits, but on our third lunch at the recently opened Pappa Rich on Broadway we finally caved. Those golden fried curls of chicken skin would be ours at last.

It's a huge serving that lands on our table, a tangle of crunch hot from the deep-fryer. There's skin and fat, dredged in seasoned flour, fried to a crisp and served with a bowl of sweet chilli sauce on the side. You'll need it. The acidity is essential to cut through the richness. There's a guilty sense of pleasure as you crunch down each mouthful but really, it's all about nose-to-tail eating, right?

Malaysian coffee in traditional kopitiam cup at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Traditional Malaysian cham coffee and milk tea in a kopitiam coffee cup 

Relax. Not everything on the menu is this dangerous to your arteries. A heavy black folder yields a huge compendium of options, page after page of traditional Malaysian snacks and dishes. Glossy photos of most dishes take the guesswork out of ordering too.

Ordering pad and waitstaff call button at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Ordering pad and the green button to summon waitstaff

You will need to write down your own order on the notepad provided. Staff usually sense any confusion and will scoot over to help if you're having trouble. Press the green button to summon the waitstaff (so much easier than trying to flag someone down) and they'll run through your order again to check for errors.

Making Malaysian iced coffee at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Preparing iced coffees in the kitchen

The drinks section of the menu is particularly impressive. They make their teas and coffee the traditional way, using a long coffee sock for stronger brewing. If cham doesn't float your boat - a Malaysian favourite that mixes brewed coffee and tea together - there's no shortage of alternatives.

Soya milk pudding drink at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Soya milk pudding $4.90

You can slurp your way through 61 different drinks, from coconut frappes to hot lemon honey tea to perennial favourite, the Milo dinosaur, a massive mug of iced Milo topped with ice cream and an avalanche of extra Milo powder.

The organic soy milk comes plain or amped up with additions of tofu pudding, cincau grass jelly or rose syrup.

Open Sesame black sesame soya milk with sesame ice cream at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Open sesame $7.50
Black sesame with soya milk and sesame ice cream

I couldn't resist the Open Sesame, a huge scoop of black sesame ice cream bobbing in a stein of black sesame soy milk. It's a little grainy in parts but there's so much calorific goodness in here it doubles as both a drink and dessert.

Malaysian coffee socks at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Traditional coffee socks for brewing and straining strong Malaysian tea and coffee

Proving roti dough at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Proving roti dough

They make their own roti here too, and although you don't get the same street front show you'll find at Mamak, you can still check out all the action in the open kitchen - just watch out for the flurry of waitstaff carrying orders out of the kitchen.

Flipping roti at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Tossing and stretching the roti dough

Tossing and stretching roti dough at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Roti dough so thin you could read a newspaper through it

Roti bom and roti telur bawang at Pappa Rich, Broadway
Sweet round roti bom and roti telur bawang filled with egg and onions on the grill

Roti telur with curry chicken $12.90

The roti comes plain, with egg (telur), or with egg and red onion (roti telur bawang). You can order it on its own ($4.90), with vegetarian curry sauces ($6.90) or with curry chicken ($12.90).

Roti telur 

There's some impressive flakiness going on, the billowy light pastry perfect for soaking up any sauce. It's not quite as good as Mamak, but it runs a close second.

Nasi lemak with fried chicken $13.50

Nasi lemak is a perfect one-plate meal of carbs, protein and vegetables. Choose between chicken curry, beef rendang or fried chicken for your meat. The fried chicken has more of a crisp skin than a deep-fried crunch but it's the coconut rice that is particularly impressive, with a rich coconutty taste that floods the palate.

Nasi lemak with beef rendang $14.50

Biryani rice with red chicken and sambal eggplant $13.50

You can also order jasmine or biryani rice with a host of sides. We had the sambal eggplant in its first month of trade, a battered nugget of sticky sweetness that won us over immediately, but it looks like they've changed their eggplant recipe since then (pic to come in the vegetarian dishes summary).

The red chicken reminds me of sweet and sour sauce, erring a little too much on the sweet side for my liking.

Ipoh koay teow soup with steamed chicken $14.50

Looking for something a little lighter? The Ipoh koay teow soup is a nourishing stock filled with slippery rice noodles. A plate of steamed chicken comes on the side.

Steamed chicken

The steamed chicken is soft and succulent, resting on a bed of cucumbers and dressed with a light soy and fresh sprigs of coriander.

Dry koay teow with steamed chicken $13.50

You can also order your koay teow noodles "dry", served not in a bowl of soup but bathed in a dark and super sweet soy sauce.

Pappa char koay teow $13.50

We've traversed much of the noodle menu. The Pappa char koay teow comes with plenty of omelette strips, fish cake slices and three plump prawns.

Crispy egg noodle $13.50

On a cold winter's day I succumbed to the crispy egg noodle, a nest of deep fried egg noodles on top of a puddle of thick gravy studded with prawns, fish cake, chicken slices and vegetables. It's a comforting and stomach-warming combination of sauce and crunch.

Chilli pan mee $14.50

One of my favourites has been the chilli pan mee. Burst that poached egg so the yolk runs everywhere, and mix up the noodles with the pan-fried chicken mince, dried anchovies, fried shallots, vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and chilli sauce. There's a good amount of heat in this dish. You can always remove the chilli sauce if necessary but that whack of chilli is what makes this dish so good.

Vegetarian steamed black cod fish with ginger $6.90

Vegetarians won't go hungry either. There's a double page spread devoted to vegetarian dishes, included vegetarian dim sum. The vegetarian fish, mutton and chicken are all made from gluten, not meaty in taste but satisfyingly chewy in texture.

Vegetarian fu chook roll $4.90

The vegetarian fu chook roll has a refreshing crunch from jicama or yam bean, all wrapped up thin sheets of soy bean curd (the fu chook).

Vegetarian char koay teow $13.50

You can skip the prawns and fish cake and get a vegetarian char koay teow.

Rice with double serve of sambal eggplant $13

They'll also let you swap out the red chicken so you can order a double serve of sambal eggplant too. It doesn't have the same shell of batter it had in its opening month, but it's still pretty tasty.

Roti telur with curry sauces and sambal $7.90

The roti telur, filled with a thin layer of omelette, should keep you going too.

Pappa deep fried chicken skin $6.90

Vegetarians will have to avert their eyes when the deep fried chicken hits the table, although the earth-shattering crunch of that skin may be hard to ignore. There's enough here to share this plate between at least four people (trust me) or do what we did, and bring the leftovers back to the office for afternoon snackage.

"Deep fried chicken?! How could you?" said one colleague in calorific horror. How could we not!


PappaRich Broadway on Urbanspoon

Pappa Rich Broadway
Shop 5, 185 Broadway, Ultimo, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9281 3228

Opening hours:
Sunday to Wednesday 11am - 9pm
Thursday to Saturday 11am - 10pm

Also at:
Chatswood - 1/63A Archer Street | Tel: +61 (02) 9411 3207
Parramatta - Shop 2185A, Zone 6, Westfield, 159 Church St Tel: +61 (02) 9633 3387
Macquarie Centre set to open November 2014

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Malaysian - Kopitiam, Ultimo
Malaysian - Malacca Straits, Ultimo
Malaysian - Mamak, Haymarket
Malaysian - Sedap, Regent Place, Sydney

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/16/2014 02:27:00 am

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