Four Sides Bar and Kitchen revels in having multiple personalities. In a twist that will surely delight literature-lovers, the venue – which opened last week – is in Hyde Park (get it?). The new venture is part bar and part restaurant, serving small plates and mains alongside an extensive by-the-glass wine selection.
Owned by Fabien Streit, Nazzareno Falaschetti and Baz Rampal (who also operate Bistro Francais across the road), the trio have spent the last few months refining every aspect of Four Sides. And they’re not done yet. “Over the next few weeks I want to harmonise the menu,” chef Streit tells Broadsheet. Between the soft opening and launch date, he culled a few dishes he felt didn’t “gel”, and has a handful more he’s still tweaking. “You still need identity in food, even when it’s fusion,” he says.
Streit is revelling in his newfound freedom after having spent so long cooking a solely French menu at Bistro Francais. At Four Sides he’s experimenting with other cuisines and working alongside chefs from a variety of backgrounds. “The idea is to serve food that we like,” Falaschetti says. “Nothing fussy, nothing fancy, and nothing over-the-top.”
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The resultant one-page menu is brief but intricate. Small plates include fluffy potato doughnuts filled with rich, smoked oxtail and sprinkled with Japanese furikake seasoning. There’s a thinly sliced beef fillet with crispy fried egg and yuzu ponzu, chili miso glazed cabbage embrace bold Japanese flavours and skewered chicken hearts in a garlic-soy marinade. The salt and pepper prawns with black garlic aioli make a perfect one-handed snack for when your other mitt is wrapped around a cold beer.
In the mains selection, Streit makes excellent use of his charcoal oven; turning out tamarind-glazed pork ribs with “atchara” (Filipino papaya pickle) and charry whole squid with an Asian-inspired chilli salad and peanuts. The 600-gram dry-aged sirloin is served on the bone, with a generous quenelle of beer-infused mustard. A culture-crossing large plate of varenike (Ukrainian dumplings) are served in a coconut curry bisque topped with crispy onions.
Twenty-four (mostly local) wines are on-tap and able to be served by the glass, thanks to an argon gas system souvenired from the venue’s previous life as a wine bar. Falaschetti’s cocktail list is stacked with classics, and he will be rotating new beers through every few weeks.
The restaurant is named to honour the venue’s owners. “There’s the three of us,” Falaschetti says. “Three immigrants. Three different backgrounds and three different stories,” he says. (Subtle touches like menus being titled in French, Italian, Indian and English acknowledge their coming together.) The “fourth side” is the venue itself, representing a space where their cultures can co-exist. It’s multifaceted and complex in places, but cohesive and effortlessly welcoming.
Four Sides Bar and Kitchen
165 King William Road, Hyde Park