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

Bar
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


30 comments - Add some comment love

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


30 Comments:

  • At 7/20/2014 7:05 pm, Anonymous Cara @ Gourmet Chick said…

    I did exactly this in London at St John's restaurant and it was brilliant. Just to see the pig expertly carved table side is worth the money alone I think. Great to see you can do this in Sydney now.

     
  • At 7/20/2014 8:28 pm, Anonymous Padaek said…

    Bravo! What a magnificent place and what a gorgeous looking pig. Looks like the dear thing served you all well. All of the accompaniments and dessert look delicious too. And that crackling looks brilliant - a far cry from my humble crackling. Definitely nose to tail for me too re. You really know how to celebrate in style! :)

     
  • At 7/20/2014 8:32 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Um hello?! That looks SO amazing! Jealous! Even though I'm a big big big fan of roast pork, I must admit I'd go to that place just for the sides! Celeriac remoulade, colcannon, cauliflower, cabbage and speck, and parsnips? Wow so yum!

    PS stealing all those sides for my next dinner party, lol.

     
  • At 7/20/2014 8:43 pm, Anonymous Neel @ Spice Sugar and Soda said…

    The suckling pig looks so fascinating! Better than the one I tasted at the 'Taste of Sydney' earlier this year. Their desserts sound delicious too! Might have to pay a visit soon :)

     
  • At 7/20/2014 10:07 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    woahhhh that piggy! WANT! also, i cant stop staring at that marrow bone. and who ate the tail?

     
  • At 7/21/2014 12:01 am, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    Oh wow! The Suckling pig looks amazing! What delicious feast you had :)

     
  • At 7/21/2014 9:07 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    That pig is pretty damn impressive!! It looks like they did the animal justice which is always nice to see.

     
  • At 7/21/2014 9:51 am, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    The sides look as good as the piggy himself. I would have requested for a few pieces of rib bones too, good one!

     
  • At 7/21/2014 11:31 am, Blogger Cassie | Journey From Within said…

    yummy piggy goodness!! :D I may or may not have salivated ...
    the mash sounds and looks so smooth and good!!

     
  • At 7/21/2014 11:56 am, Anonymous Alice said…

    Wowsers! I need to gather a group & get here stat! That is a most epic meal, a feast to end all feasts! Can't think of a better way to celebrate and farewell someone, than this!

     
  • At 7/21/2014 12:47 pm, Anonymous Olivia @ mademoiselleinsydney said…

    Wow! Now that's a feast!!! I love the nuttiness of roasted parsnips! The crackling skin looks fab, though I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable watching the whole beast being carved in front of me! :)

     
  • At 7/21/2014 2:08 pm, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    I so want to try it! I just need 9 other people willing to pay $80 :) Separate stomach for dessert? LOL!

     
  • At 7/21/2014 4:13 pm, OpenID vintagemacaroon said…

    Those little puffed up piggy ears, look so good! I think I'd like to start with the head, just incase I didn't have room at the end.

     
  • At 7/21/2014 7:26 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    Respect to you and your group for finishing all the suckling pig! Love their Colcannon mashed potato!

     
  • At 7/21/2014 8:17 pm, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    That looks like one amazing dinner. For all the food, the value seems pretty good. I love the way that the butter and salt is served as well.

     
  • At 7/21/2014 9:12 pm, Anonymous My Kitchen Stories said…

    What a wonderful farewell for your friend. I love the way you have described each detail.

     
  • At 7/21/2014 9:14 pm, Anonymous Tania @My Kitchen Stories said…

    Love the way you have described each detail here. It looks amazing. Years ago my friend was the chef at the 4 in hand and that dining room used to be his flat. Wild days. A great farewell for your friend

     
  • At 7/22/2014 8:36 am, Blogger Emanuela Caorsi said…

    What a great meal! And I love the fact that they give you a lot of veggies too! To me that makes a big difference!
    That's a shame that the skin wasn't crackling everywhere though.
    Now I just have to find 9 ppl to go there with :)!
    Thanks for your great post Helen :)!
    I wish I could have the time to read every single post , but I've been so busy at work lately :(!
    Have a lovely day :***

     
  • At 7/22/2014 9:37 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    mmm piggeh! If it's anything like the suckling pig at 4Fourteen then I'm so there. The colcannon is so buttery good!

     
  • At 7/22/2014 12:07 pm, Anonymous The Blonde Tourist said…

    I really, really, REALLY need to stop reading your blog before lunch. This looks so good and I love how creative they get with the butter and salt in the marrow bone! Definitely need to do this for a big birthday occasion.

     
  • At 7/22/2014 12:49 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Omg the pig looks glorious!!

     
  • At 7/22/2014 5:36 pm, Anonymous Lori said…

    Thanks for the review, it was a very enjoyable read and great pictures. It reminds me of when I was young, my parents would order a whole suckling pig from the chinese bbq for celebrations, which I loved. The colcannon sounds delicious.

     
  • At 7/22/2014 8:39 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    Oooh! Envious! Someone also just showed me a photo of a whole pig in a spit last week! :)

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

     
  • At 7/22/2014 9:37 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    that suckling pig looks incredible! so much delicious food at four in hand!

     
  • At 7/23/2014 10:39 am, Anonymous Martine @ Chompchomp said…

    What a feast you had! They certainly balanced it all out with all those gorgeous sides and the desserts are picture perfect. I guess it would be hard to get all the skin to crackling without affected how the meat turned out but at least there were some bits that were satisfying.

     
  • At 7/23/2014 2:07 pm, Anonymous Miss Sage Sugar said…

    Treacle tart with bread ice cream? Mmmm reminds me of being back in England :)

     
  • At 7/23/2014 5:00 pm, Blogger Amy zhong said…

    ohhh piggy come to mummy!

     
  • At 7/23/2014 5:03 pm, Anonymous Thalia @ butter and brioche said…

    wow that is some serious food! suckling pig definitely takes me back to my childhood.. so delicious.

     
  • At 7/29/2014 10:32 am, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    I am so impressed by the whole suckling pig! I think I'd need to bring a dozen people along with me to actually finish it though.

     
  • At 8/02/2014 10:26 am, Anonymous sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    A whole roast suckling pig is a true delight to behold. All those sides were pretty impressive, what a feast!

     

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