A few weeks ago Aron and I were shopping in Surry Hills with our middle daughter Bella for her 21st at one of her favourite shops, which just happened to be directly above 4Fourteen restaurant in Fitzroy St Surry Hills. We didn’t have time to enjoy more than a coffee that day, but we hatched a plan to return for lunch in a few weeks due to the friendly relaxed service from the floor staff, the inviting light filled dining room and the roasted pig (sitting pride of place on the bar) which is only available on the weekend.
As planned, we returned for lunch a few Sunday’s later and found a pleasing menu consisting of nibbles, small plates, large plates and salads & starches, all of which were varied and sounded very tempting. The idea is to share a few plates, large and small, & I’d have to say this type of generosity is really in keeping with the feeling of the restaurant, the service is thoughtful, friendly and very helpful … & as it turned out the food was …well…quite frankly the food was simply delicious.
Within 30 minutes of being seated, the restaurant was full, punters were even seated at a bar style table overlooking the kitchen (next time that is where I would like to sit). As it turns out the husband of one of my oldest friends was seated at the kitchen ‘bar’ table with a few mates, having lunch before a rugby game…how civilised, this by far beats the traditional footy fare on offer at the game!
We sat in front of the bar which is smack bang in the centre of the restaurant. I was able to enjoy watching the staff, all dressed in different styles of striped shirt, going about their work, mixing cocktails etc. Maybe it was the effect of another lovely Sunday in sunny Sydney, but I think the good vibes all came from the ambiance of the restaurant and the obvious enjoyment of the patrons and the good mood of the floor staff.
We ordered a bottle of Piazzano Chianti as well as a starter for just Aron and myself – the Ham hock & Cheese Croquette. The croquette’s came with a quenelle of Mustard Crème Fraiche and were delightfully crisp – oozy cheese and ham morsels perfectly paired with the crème fraiche.
I am lucky to like most foods so I shared in the large plates which Bella and Aron chose. First we had the mussels which Bella selected. These were simply presented, delightfully meaty mussels which glistened in a tasty wine, herb & seafood broth, served with large wedges of well toasted bread with which to mop up as much of the sauce as possible. Believe me….Bella and I managed to mop up quite a lot of sauce.
Next was the platter of roasted pig, ‘The Pig Special’, which Aron had been looking forward to since we had first visited 4Fourteen several weeks ago. A generous mound of pork came topped with a large piece of crisp crackling and was accompanied by roasted carrot, colcannon, pickled red cabbage, a tasty pureed apple sauce and the best tasting gravy I think I have ever tasted. The pork was so tender and moist and was well complimented by the sides (did I mention the gravy was out of this world????).
Bella also ordered the mixed grain salad, consisting of lentils, puffed wheat, quinoa, almonds and more – we all agreed it was something we would order again – the combination of the grains, nuts and herbs worked so well together.
I tried my hardest to get Aron or Bella to order desert, I seldom have desert but am always interested in what is on offer and how it’s presented. Unfortunately they were both perfectly satisfied so no desert tale to tell today. I will say that the menu promised plenty of sweet treats…maybe next time!
We have already half planned our return trip, this time with our eldest son and his lovely girlfriend…when Josh saw the photo of the pig his words were, “OMG I want some of that pig”… maybe on our return trip someone will even manage desert.