You know you’ve chosen the right restaurant when you walk in and there’s a roasted suckling pig just sitting casually on the counter! This is what we’re greeted with as we enter 4Fourteen for Mum’s birthday lunch. The menu is designed for sharing, starting with nibbles and moving on to small plates and then onto large plates. We choose a selection of small plates to share, and we can’t resist ordering the suckling pig as a large plate which is a special for the day.
4Fourteen is big on the nose to tail approach so don’t be surprised to see some lesser-used cuts of the animal on the menu. I’m all for the crispy pigs tail dish which has the meat from the tail encased in a crispy shell. The tail meat is served with roasted corn kernels, corn puree and some greens.
The chargrilled ox tongue comes as two slabs of thick cut ox tongue with visible grill marks on them. The fattiness of the tongue is perfectly balanced against the celeriac remoulade, the crunchy radish slices and greens on top. If you haven’t tried tongue before I urge you to do so – it’s one of my favourite cuts of meat as its so tender and flavoursome!The menu didn’t lend too many clues as to what was included in the Beef and Bone dish, but it turned out to be beef brisket with bone marrow served in the bone. This was quite a rich dish with the globules of bone marrow so it was perfect for sharing. There was some toast on the side to spread the melty brisket and bone marrow onto and a bit of slaw to cut through the richness.
We move to the large plates with the steamed mussels with salted fish and Batlow apple cider. The mussels were probably the most plump specimens I’ve ever seen! I’ve never had mussels with apple cider before but it added a slight sweetness that was quite pleasant against the briny mussels and salted fish. We were mopping up the sauce with extra bread – it was that good!
But the suckling pig was even better. It was served on a large wooden board alongside some sides of pickled cabbage, colcannon (a deliciously buttery mashed potato with cabbage) and carrots. The Irish colcannon was an absolute hit and I was seriously tempted to order a whole bowl of it – it was so smooth and creamy and I loved the surprise bits of cabbage throughout the silky mash.
The pig however was the star of that plate. The meat was taken from the leg of the piggy (we could tell because the suckling pig on the benchtop had a section missing!) so it was super tender and even better when schmeared with some of the apple and vanilla sauce. The crackling had been fried to a crisp so that there were airy pork-flavoured bubbles within it and we all eagerly grabbed a piece for some crispy pork deliciousness.
I’d heard great things about the desserts at 4Fourteen so we deliberately saved room for them by ordering fewer savouries. There were three desserts that tickled our fancy and we couldn’t decide between them so we just got all of them heh. The white chocolate sandwich was one of my favourite desserts out of the ones we tried. It’s a block of white chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two delicate tuile-like biscuits that provided lots of crackles when bitten into. But it the caramelised dulce de leche inside the sandwich that stole the show and there was even a little swirl of extra dulce de leche on the side for the extra sweet tooths.
Rice pudding is usually a comfort food for me, but this one was made much lighter with the addition of a tart rhubarb jam that was swirled throughout the rice pudding, and some tangy passionfruit pulp. This made for a colourful rice pudding that was not too sweet or heavy to end the meal.
When the peanut butter popsicle arrived on the table I almost let out a little ‘squee’ – it was so cute! The cube of peanut butter ice cream is impaled on a stick and covered with biscuit crumbs. The whole thing reminds me of a mini Golden Gaytime and I love how the biscuit crumbs are a nice crunchy contrast against the ice cream. There’s some shards of honeycomb on the side but I think most of us are too busy eating the popsicle!
Our experience at 4Fourteen definitely lived up to expectations – the food was spectacular and we ordered just the right amount for the 5 of us thanks to the guidance from the waitstaff. I love the sharing aspect of the menu so it’s great for groups who like to have a little bit of everything. The menu changes pretty regularly so I’m looking forward to going back and trying out more dishes!
414 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010 (enter via 72a Fitzroy St)
Ph: +61 2 9331 5399
Monday from 6pm; Tuesday – Saturday: Lunch from noon, Dinner from 6pm; Sunday: noon til 4pm