2 Huntley Street
ALEXANDRIA (entry from 41-43 Bourke Road)
Based on my Deckhouse experience I know that when Miss Gourmet Rabbit says ‘come for brunch’ she really means ‘come for a Bacchanalian feast of wonder, don’t eat breakfast and wear stretchy pants.’ This was certainly advice I heeded when I joined some fellow food bloggers at Alexandria’s new gastro pub, 4143 at the James Barnes.
Located in the middle of industrial Alexandria, 4143 is a visually incredible space, offering a cool outdoor bar (with a banging menu to complement) and a beautiful indoor bistro. Before people start questioning the location, yes, I concede it is a little out of the way. But as I (read: my GPS) navigated my way out there on Saturday I had some time to think about it. When all the yuppies couldn’t afford to live in Newtown, they spread to Redfern. Then Waterloo. And now, Alexandria. Before you know it, Zetland will be Enmore and the high rises will overshadow plumbing supplies warehouses. I’m not suggesting Botany Road is the new Crown Street, but when you think about it, it’s merely gentrification at it’s most lucrative. Further, I was reminded of all the workers in the area. My old company used to have a warehouse just a stone’s throw from 4143 and the boys were always whining about not having a decent place for lunch! This is where I think the 4143 will come into it’s own.
Wagyu Burger and Chips
But what of the fare? Chef Peter started our day off with the most popular item on the bar menu: the fated Wagyu Burger. Premium wagyu was loaded between fluffy brioche (courtesy of Fuel Bakery) along with melted cheddar, beetroot relish, aioli and gherkins like my Grandma used to make. After staying in on Friday night drinking cheap Western Australian SSB this was exactly what the Doctor ordered! Served with a mountain of fries, at $14 I thought it was the bargain of the day – and everyone agreed, a real contender for the next Burger Wars.
Seared Scallops on Pea Puree with Chorizo
We were next treated to a couple of selections from the entrée menu at the bistro. The Seared Sea Scallops on Pea Puree with Chorizo were cooked to perfection, and while it was a beautiful dish, I felt it lacked a little bit of oomph – nothing that a sprinkle of salt and pepper couldn’t fix though I’m sure. Along with this we tried the Caramelised Onion Tart with Goats Curd and Balsamic – a classic combination of flavours, executed well. And a very generous serving (in fact, the same must be said about all the dishes) – and certainly no skimping on the goats cheese. Let’s face it, it always comes down to the cheese.
Caramelised Onion Tart with Goats Curd and Balsamic
From the mains menu we sampled Duck Breast on Puy Lentils, Spinach, and Brussel Sprouts. The duck was tasty, but the lentil and spinach mix was the star of that plate. We were also treated to some pretty tasty sides of Roast Baby Beets and Beans, Buttered Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Roasted Chat Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary. I’m a fiend for al dente vegetables and for me the beets, beans and sprouts were all cooked perfectly. I felt the chats could have been a little crunchier though.
18-Hour Braised Lamb Shank En Crepinette
The dish of the day had to be the 18-Hour Braised Lamb Shank En Crepinette on Parsnip Puree with Muscatel Jus. Hot diggity it was delicious. As I said to Chef on the day, “I think I want to move in with it and see if it’s marriage material.” The lamb was tender and when you got into it out oozed a delicious spinach and parmesan concoction. Matched with sweet parsnip puree, roasted eschallots and muscatel jus it was some seriously divine eating. Interestingly, the mains menu offered a small ($16) and large ($28) serving option – not something I see a lot of these days. We were served small sizes, and I could honestly say they were no smaller than what you’d get anywhere else. This is certainly the place to eat in an abysmal economy!
Chocolate and Orange Mousse with Hazelnut Biscotti
And so we entered the magical world of desserts! By this stage I was more than willing to go home and have a little Nanna Nap, but the sweet treats twisted my arm yet again! A classic Tiramisu was definitely a crowd pleaser. The Chocolate and Orange Mousse with Hazelnut Biscotti was more than met the eye (and it was a pretty thing at that) – the inclusion of pop rocks sent our table in to fits of giggles like the naughty school kids I’m sure we all were. The mousse was thick and rich, too rich for me, but I’m not the greatest chocolate fiend. The Bread and Butter Pudding with Rhubarb and Macadamia Ice Cream on the other hand was something I had to beg my diners to take away from me before I finished the whole bowl. A perfect dish for a dreary winter’s day: the pudding wasn’t too eggy, yet quite firmly set, and alive with cinnamon and tart rhubarb. I’d encourage people to give it a go and at $10 a dessert you’ve only got things to gain – mainly calories, but that’s beside the point!
Bread and Butter Pudding with Rhubarb and Macadamia Icecream
My experience at 4143 at the James Barnes was a bit of an eye-opening one. I think it’s in an area that people overlook, but man there was some super quality food. And look, it’s about 5 minutes further down the road from Newtown, if you’re already driving what’s the harm in going that little bit further? A big thanks to the team at 4143, Denea and the good people at Dedes Group for hosting this unruly bunch.