18 July 2011

4143 at the James Barnes: Bloggers Brunch, Alexandria (16 July 2011)

Building 9, 2 Huntley Street,
Alexandria NSW 2015
Alternatively 41-43 Bourke Street, Alexandria NSW 2015
Phone: (02) 9690 8400

Good food, unfortunate location

Thanks to Denea from Gourmet Rabbit for inviting me along to the Bloggers Brunch to sample a few signature dishes at the new 4143 at the James Barnes. The Dedes Group certainly seem to be gaining a reputation in my books for large premises like Flying Fish, Deckhouse and Dedes Restaurant that are located perhaps a little bit off the beaten track. But once you’re there the offerings will hopefully keep you happy. Chef Peter Padlan is pretty proud of his Wagyu burger served with fries ($14) and so he should be. The buttery brioche style buns won’t help your diet but make the burger very melt-in-your-mouth. I wasn’t sure about the beetroot relish being separated by the lettuce and wondered if it would have been better positioned next to the meat perhaps. You won’t find any onion but I loved the addition of gherkins. The Caramelised onion tart ($17) is topped with plenty of goats curd. The pastry is buttery and flakey as hoped and the onions nice and sweet. Should keep the vegetarians happy. My favourite was the Seared scallops on pea puree with chorizo ($17). Nicely priced and well-presented with good flavours that worked together.

The side of Roasted chats, garlic cloves and rosemary ($7) looked devine and was well-flavoured although a bit more crunch and crisp would have provided that extra wow factor for me. Reasonably priced Buttered brussel sprouts with pancetta ($7) and Roast baby beets and beans ($7) could easily be ordered as a complete meal for some I reckon. The popular Braised lamb shank ($16 small size) was well-presented with tender pieces of meat as hoped although it’s quite a heavy dish so the decent sized small is ample for most I think. The Duck breast on du puy lentils ($16 small size) is tender as well and well-flavoured. I think the small size is very reasonably priced. The Mangosteen palate cleanser was interesting and a nice touch before desserts being served. Maybe some tropical flavoured jellies or juice shots could be a nice idea too.

My special order of Affogato with Belgium white chocolate ice cream ($10) came with a shot of Frangelico. Coffee was pretty good and hit the spot on flavours for me. The Bread and butter pudding with rhubarb and macadamia ice cream ($10) seemed popular. Quite filling and the yummy candied rhubarb on top could quite easily be sold in customer take away packs for the road. The Chocolate and orange mousse with hazelnut biscotti ($10) was a bit thicker than hoped but decadent and richly flavoured — nice touch with the pop rocks too. The smallish glass of Tiramisu ($10) had the right mix of flavours you’d expect although I always prefer it when the alcohol is on the more distinctive side of the scale. If this place was located in Surry Hills I'm sure it would already be packed to the rafters most days for lunch and dinner but being located out in the industrial area of Alexandria could make it a little bit too far off the beaten track — although a drop in before or after Bunnings could be handy spot for a decent lunch when you're in need of some weekend supplies.

PROS: Quality dishes at reasonable prices, Smaller sized dishes are still fairly decent in size, Nice décor and atmosphere, Plenty of outdoor and indoor seating, Car parking available, Suitable for private functions
CONS: A bit in the middle of nowhere for most people, Probably limited public transport so would need to drive
MUST TRY: Seared scallops on pea puree with chorizo, Affogato with Belgium white chocolate ice cream and Frangelico, Revisiting to try the cocktails with a designated driver
Wagyu burger, Braised lamb shank, Bread and butter pudding

Wagyu burger with beetroot relish, gherkins, cheddar and aioli served with fries ($14)

Chef Peter Padlan presenting his Wagyu Burger — a possible contender for the TimeOut Burger Wars I think

Caramelised onion tart with goats curd and balsamic ($17)

Seared scallops on pea puree with chorizo ($17)

Roasted chats, garlic cloves and rosemary ($7)

Buttered brussel sprouts with pancetta ($7), Roast baby beets and beans ($7)

Braised lamb shank en crepinette on parsnip puree with muscatel jus ($16 small size)

Duck breast on du puy lentils, spinach, and brussel sprouts ($16 small size)

Mangosteen palate cleanser, Orchids display

Affogato with Belgium white chocolate ice cream and Frangelico ($10)

Bread and butter pudding with rhubarb and macadamia ice cream ($10), Chocolate and orange mousse with hazelnut biscotti ($10)

Tiramisu ($10)

Visited - 31 March 2012
Chicken caesar ($11) — good value but would have preferred a soft poached egg instead of hard boiled so it could be a bit runny to mix over the salad and for the chicken to be sliced which was a little dry but generous in portion. Some more dressing would have been appreciated as well.

Crisp skin barramundi with speck, corn and shallots ($26) — decent crisp skin as hoped, quite nice flavours although quite salty. Corn was nice but perhaps overpowered the taste of fish a bit.

Santa Vittoria Sparkling Mineral Water ($6)

Autumn menu

Lunch seating was restricted to only outside so had to deal with hot weather, sun glare and flies wanting to share out meals. Was hoping for somewhere cooler inside and having a baby on board didn't help.
– – –

Gourmet Rabbit with her iphone rabbit cover and Ms Darlinghurst ready to eat with her knife and fork

Who will get to eat their wagyu burger first?

Food bloggers in action — no plate of food is safe!

Menu and coffee machine

Nicely stocked bar

I love the play of light through the glass shutter windows which cast refracted rainbows around the dining room area

Waiting room

Casual seating and bottles of tap water

Spot the Red Bull! — I wonder if these were provided by the Red Bull office next door?

Clean and functional toilets although mens urinals are pretty close together so watch out for possibly bumping shoulders with your neighbour. And what's with the flush buttons?

Indoor and outdoor seating


Richard Elliot said...

I enjoyed all of the food A LOT. I thought the flavours, presentation and value of the dishes was all very good.

If they could generate a bit more atmosphere I think this place would be a perfect hangout for a group of friends.

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

Glad you liked the food too, and that burger is definitely my favourite this year. A bit unsure about the bistro food but I will be back one day to try again I think.

Anonymous said...

Great-looking food. I agree, the beetroot relish should definitely touch the meat. Can't believe you took a photo of the urinals, LOL.

Unknown said...

looks fantastic....gonna give it a try for-sure!

Anonymous said...

I think it's a great location. For the Dedes group and the thousands of people that work in this area that have had nowhere to go!

Simon Food Favourites Map

View Simon Food Favourites in a larger map Key: BLUE - Location visit and review PINK - Simon Favourites and places offering something special

Small Bars in Sydney map

View Small Bars in Sydney in a larger map