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Saturday, November 29, 2014

4Fourteen, Surry Hills

Roasted bone marrow at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills

Y'all know my love of offal. If you're going to eat meat, I say, you really should eat the whole damn thing. That's how I ended up at 4Fourteen for my recent birthday dinner, bypassing their Collective Menu for the Odd Bits option. It's the same price - $65 for a four-course shared menu - but there's a focus on offal for the evening's meal, served banquet-style for the entire table.

Dining room at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
4Fourteen dining room

The dining room at 4Fourteen is cleverly designed, broken up into a series of eating hubs anchored around the main bar in the middle. That means seats alongside the three-metre high windows, stools at the bar, banquette seats in front of the wine shelves and small clusters of tables dotted throughout the room.

Counter seating around the open kitchen at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Counter seating around the open kitchen

Wrapped around the open kitchen are high chairs that give you an uninterrupted view of all the action. It's perfect for single diners, casual walk-ins or anyone who relishes the performance of sitting at a chef's table.

Iggy's bread with butter at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Iggy's bread with butter

Getting everyone in your party to opt into the offal menu may be a challenge, but trust me, there's nothing too hair-raising here. Executive chef, Colin Fassnidge, and head chef, Carla Jones, are both trumpeters of nose-to-tail eating, but there's plenty of prettying-up here too. That means you won't find a whole cow's tongue in the middle of the table or a pigs head staring back at you. There's a sophisticated touch in its preparation of offal, with elegant plating that befits its current one hat status.

CJ's chips and dips at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
CJ's chips and dips
Chard and crackling

CJ's chips and dips gets the night off to a flying start. We wrest ourselves away from Iggy's bread with butter (the bread still incredibly soft and fluffy) and take great delight in demolishing curls of light and airy pork crackling and giant chard leaves, deep-fried in a crisp batter that has the sturdy crunch of chickpea flour.

Crumbed pigs tail terrine at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Crumbed pigs tail terrine

I have no qualms about eating pigs tails on the bone, but here it's a little more discreetly served, the meat shredded off the bone and then reformatted into a terrine that's crumbed and deep-fried. The crumbed pigs tail terrine is a tasty number, the deep-fried shell giving way to a core of tender pork.

Roasted bone marrow at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Roasted bone marrow on fried flat bread

There's a ripple of excitement when the roasted bone marrow lands on the table. Three bone marrows to share between seven might not seem like a lot, but these marrow-laden troughs are some of the biggest I've seen.

Roasted bone marrow at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Bone marrow

They're roasted to perfection, not too much so the fat has melted into a puddle, but just enough so we can spoon out wobbles of rich deliciousness onto the accompanying flat bread. It's a pure and unadulterated celebration of fat, and we eagerly return for more.

Bar counter at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Bar counter and window-side seating

Tripe hot pot at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Tripe 'hot pot' with chorizo and tomato

The tripe hot pot has more than a few echoes of Madrid-style callos, a Spanish specialty of tripe with chorizo cooked in a tomato sauce. Not everyone around the table is an eager fan of tripe, but this dish converts even the skeptics. The strips of tripe have been slow-cooked until tender, tumbled in a hearty stew of tomatoes, carrots and celery that is immediately warm and comforting. The tripe soaks up all the flavours like a sponge.

Chargrilled ox tongue at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Chargrilled ox tongue with chimmichurri and raw sprout slaw

Who doesn't like a bit of tongue action? The chargrilled ox tongue is not what you'd expect, looking more like cubes of beef steak or beef brisket. One bite, however, and you're rewarded with the distinct taste of tongue. There's a melting succulency to the flesh and the seared edges give a touch of sweetness. It's a masterfully done dish.

Beef brisket at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Liquorice beef brisket with pickled vegetables and fried bread

The official mains haven't even arrived, and half of us are already nearing satiation. There's a lot of rich food going on, and the portions are generous too. A huge cast iron pot containing liquorice beef brisket arrives. And then another. Any doubts about leaving this meal hungry are immediately quashed.

Roast dutch carrots at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Roast Dutch carrots with minted yoghurt

Sides arrive too. Roast Dutch carrots have been charred to a honey sweetness, dolloped over with a minted yoghurt that is cool and refreshing.

Mixed grain salad at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Mixed grain salad

The mixed grain salad is one helluva fibre party, combining quinoa with lentils, almond slivers, pine nuts and puffed rice. It tastes as good for as you as it looks.

Tender brisket at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Liquorice brisket

I don't know that I'd count brisket as offal, but the meat has been cooked so it falls apart with just the gentle nudge of a fork. Pickled carrots and radishes help cut through the richness but I can't stop eating the fried bread, thick hunks of sourdough bread that are oozing with butter.

Diners at the kitchen counter at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Diners at the kitchen counter

White chocolate sandwich with dulce de leche at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
White chocolate sandwich with dulce de leche

Between the seven of us, we're served four full-sized desserts. There are two white chocolate sandwiches, a thick slab of silky white chocolate ice cream between two lacy biscuits that are wondrously brittle and sweet. And if you needed more sugar and cream, a dollop of dulce de leche in the corner ticks all the boxes.

Snickers at 4Fourteen, Surry Hills
Snickers dessert

We also score two serves of the Snickers dessert, a playground of tastes and textures which, when all combined, do taste like the chocolate bar from your childhood. We dip and weave our way through chocolate, peanut butter, nougat and caramel until we're completely spent.

My only quibble with the Odd Bits menu is there wasn't more offal. I was left wanting for intestines, pork trotters, blood and brains but I'm a bit weird like that, perhaps. What I can't fault is the abundance of food - we had so much that we ended up taking away half the mains in doggy bags, a request that staff happily obliged. $65 for a four course meal is incredible value for a meal of this quality. Get onto it for your next group meal, I say!

Entrance to 4Fourteen, Surry Hills


4Fourteen on Urbanspoon

4Fourteen
414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9331 5399

Opening hours:
Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-4pm
Dinner Tuesday to Saturday 6pm-10pm


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Colin Fassnidge - Four in Hand, Paddington (whole suckling pig)

Offal - Battambang, Cabramatta (deep fried intestines)
Offal - Faheem Fast Food, Emore (beef liver and kidney)
Offal - Movida, Surry Hills (callos tripe)
Offal - Red Chilli Sichuan, Chatswood (braised blood jelly)

33 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/29/2014 09:24:00 pm


33 Comments:

  • At 11/30/2014 8:28 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    T'was an offaly good meal, indeed! I agree about the lack of diversity with the offal options. Especially when we got brisket, which doesn't even fit the category. Glad we got it, though. It was divine!

     
  • At 11/30/2014 9:25 am, Blogger Nagi Maehashi said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 11/30/2014 9:27 am, Anonymous Nagi@RecipeTin Eats said…

    Oh my gosh!! I love 4Fourteen!! It is THE nose to tail restaurant in Australia in my humble opinion!! I was rather skeptical when I went because I'm not huge on offal, a tad fussy you might say. Might I loved absolutely everything (and I helped myself to a bit of everyone's dishes ;)) and there was not a chicken thigh in sight!! When I was there they had crumbed pigs ears on the menu which I have to say blew me away (well then again, anything deep fried is pretty darn good!). Great review! Reminded me that I must go again, I really think in terms of non Asian (and now with Universal sadly gone) this is by far the best restaurant of its type in Sydney (at least that I know of).

     
  • At 11/30/2014 10:23 am, Anonymous kiki@mykikicake said…

    I walked past on Friday night as I have heard so many things about this place but had no idea where it was. i instantly fell in love with the fit out and think I will love the food just as much. That bona marrow looks amazing!

     
  • At 11/30/2014 11:45 am, Anonymous Swah said…

    I LOVE 4fourteen and have had amazing meals both times I've been there. I think the white chocolate sandwich with dulce de leche is one of my favourite desserts in Sydney!

     
  • At 11/30/2014 2:25 pm, Anonymous Tania @My Kitchen Stories said…

    Everything here always has such a simple but lovely twist. Happy birthday Helen!

     
  • At 11/30/2014 4:05 pm, Anonymous Michael @ I'm Still Hungry said…

    Ah, bone marrow, of course! Can't go wrong there. Was already whetting my appetite from your and Susan's igrams on this meal. Now there's only one final step - to eat for myself!

     
  • At 11/30/2014 7:00 pm, OpenID delectablydegusting said…

    I love offal!! I loved 4Fourteen's ox tongue when I went. So good!

     
  • At 11/30/2014 7:32 pm, Anonymous Mr C @ The Food Diary said…

    Awesome pics as usual, love the look of the bone marrow!

     
  • At 11/30/2014 8:14 pm, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    That offal menu is in my to-do list. I reckon even non-offal fans would appreciate some of the dishes.

     
  • At 11/30/2014 8:39 pm, Blogger Maddie @ Maddie Loves Food said…

    Those crackling and chard chips look superb! So do the falling apart, tender brisket and glistening marrow.. Mmm..

     
  • At 11/30/2014 9:58 pm, Anonymous Cara @ Gourmet Chick said…

    Love me some offal - this sounds fantastic. And happy birthday as well!

     
  • At 12/01/2014 12:27 am, Blogger Annie said…

    that bone marrow looks incredible!

     
  • At 12/01/2014 12:59 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    haaaaappy birthdaaaay toooo yooouuuuuu :P

     
  • At 12/01/2014 8:14 am, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    I wish more places do offal like this. But I agree. I would like to see brains and intestines on the menu too

     
  • At 12/01/2014 8:24 am, Anonymous Francesca said…

    Offal is challenging, especially that pig's tail. I could eat the Dutch accrots and that lovely dessert though.

     
  • At 12/01/2014 8:58 am, Blogger Simplicity by Sarah said…

    Happy birthday Helen & that bone marrow looks divine!

     
  • At 12/01/2014 9:00 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    We surprised my mum for her birthday recently with dinner at 4fourteen, she loves Colin! The food was fantastic, my one regret - was not ordering the brisket! Have to save that for next time. Happy Belated Helen!

     
  • At 12/01/2014 12:19 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    Nothing looks "offal-ish" to me except when you spooned that marrow. Everything looks great and I don't mind if their tongues or whatever. All yum!!! And the desserts, ugh!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

     
  • At 12/01/2014 2:28 pm, Blogger irene said…

    If brisket is counted as offal, I'd gladly eat offal everyday! And OMG the desserts look awesome!

     
  • At 12/01/2014 7:36 pm, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    I love this restaurant and I think when I was there we had pig's ears. I like how it's a menu that's surprising rather than going somewhere that has dishes on offer that you could get at any venue anywhere up the street. Happy birthday and I'm sorry you didn't find enough offal on the menu xx

     
  • At 12/01/2014 8:49 pm, Anonymous Dee @ The Casual Food Blogger said…

    You're brave eating all that! The furthest I could go is marrow :P

     
  • At 12/01/2014 9:04 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Happy birthday, lovely lady! I don't think of myself as an offal lover, but I totally want that marrow, ox tongue and the crumbed pig's tail terrine!!

     
  • At 12/01/2014 9:34 pm, Anonymous JJ - 84thand3rd said…

    Heh heh tongue action, heh heh ;D Offal aside that much meat makes me twitch a bit but you are right, the presentation is brilliant. Hope you had a wonderful birthday! xx

     
  • At 12/01/2014 11:12 pm, OpenID nessyeater said…

    Gosh I have to visit this place ASAP because that bone marrow looks so dame good!

     
  • At 12/02/2014 6:35 am, Blogger Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said…

    White chocolate and dulce de leche ice cream sandwich sold me to this place :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

     
  • At 12/02/2014 8:55 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    That bone marrow was amazing! I was expecting a bit more blood, brains and innards too, but was pretty happy with the ox tongue and marrow. And not to mention that brisket!

     
  • At 12/02/2014 2:54 pm, Anonymous Berny @ I Only Eat Desserts said…

    haha for some reason I feel so gangsta reading this post :P The bone marrow looks so good - never tried it before but now I need to!

     
  • At 12/03/2014 6:35 pm, Blogger Amy zhong said…

    the crumbed pigs tail looks really good and that ice cream sandwich! *swoon*

     
  • At 12/04/2014 6:25 pm, Anonymous Joseph - UpForAFeed said…

    Tounge & tail does not sound appealing to me but when you see great looking dishes like that makes me want to eat it.

     
  • At 12/07/2014 2:14 pm, Blogger Alice Lau said…

    Though I'm not on the offal band wagon (currently,) I do harbour a zeal for blood sausages, marrowbones and a nice plate of creamy liver! Wishing I could eat a few more things than possible at the moment. Again your delicious post has me looking forward to that day!

     
  • At 12/07/2014 3:51 pm, Anonymous Amanda@ChewTown said…

    So great to relive it through your post! I loved it, just the right amount of offal for me, so I'm glad nothing crazy came out. Can't believe how generous the portions were, such incredible value. Thanks for including me xx

     
  • At 12/07/2014 7:04 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    I was going to say, for an offal meal, there wasn't actually that much offal! Looks very enjoyable though - and happy belated birthday!

     

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