When chef Colin Fassnidge left Paddington’s The Four in Hand, the blow was somewhat softened by news that there would be another iconic chef to steer the ship: Guillaume Brahimi (of Guillaume in Paddinton). Brahimi and his business partner, Mitchell Waugh, re-opened the dining room last week as The Four in Hand by Guillaume. There are a few subtle changes and new dining room and bar menus, executed by head chef Darrell Felstead.
“It’s a beautiful room and it’s a contrast for me to fine dining,” says Brahimi. “But I think here it’s the same philosophy. It’s about great produce; affordable prices. We want people to use this place as a local; to feel like they can come and have one dish and a glass of wine.”
At first glance not too much has changed. The intimate downstairs dining room has been given a touch of fresh paint. The second storey is still receiving finishing touches, including a private room with its own bar. The space is classic, familiar and simple. The giant-squid artwork is even still there. “It was all brand new for Colin 18 months ago,” says Brahimi, explaining the redundancy of significant changes. “It was Colin, but it’s us now. I’m lucky to put my name to it.”
Brahimi describes the food as classic gastro-pub, pointing out that diners should not expect Bistro Guillaume. “This is my version of a local pub ... I love the ham hock, the smoky richness of it,” says Brahimi of the ham hock, parsley and eschallot terrine on the menu. “We also do a beautiful sirloin with mushroom cream and smoked jus gras, It’s very simple cooking.”
Dishes currently include salad of roast quail, egg, frisee and parmentier potatoes; lamb rump, confit of baby eggplant, hummus and mint; and salt-baked celeriac, carrot risotto and sorrel. But Brahimi also trusts head chef Felstead to respond to the best produce as it appears.
“My goal is to surround myself with very talented people … so I give him free rein.” Brahimi may not be in the kitchen, but he can regularly be found planning changes with Felstead over a beer after service.