Sunday, 31 July 2011

Restaurant Review: 4143 at James Barnes, Bar Food, Alexandia

I'm making the call, this is Sydney's best burger!

On my return trip to 4143 at James Barnes I decided to sample the bar food, having been so generously treated to lashings of the bistro food last time round.

The wagyu burger with beetroot relish, gherkins, cheddar and aioli is the best burger I've had in a long time. It's up there with the Shake Shack burger I ate in New York and, even if I do say so myself, the homemade burgers I made with my friend Clint back in January. No wonder it is 4143's best seller.

When I was chatting to the chef he was pretty open about the fact the burger isn't made in house. The brioche buns come from the Fuel Bakery and the wagyu burgers are also bought in (although I've forgotten where from). The first thing you notice is that it's a huge burger. Biting into the bun it is soft and light without being too sweet. The wagyu burger is also fantastically tender. This is one melt in your mouth burger. Eating the burger as a whole I didn't taste the individual elements of the beetroot relish and gherkins, but they all added to the finished product.

Now this burger is close to perfection, so any criticism is splitting hairs. However, for me the burger was more of a textural than flavorsome experience. The Shake Shack burger calls for three different cuts of meat to add flavour. In our homemade burger we were aiming for a flavoursome burger sauce. I wonder if both would help here?

The chicken schnitzel with house coleslaw was the only disappointment that I had at James Barnes. The chicken was on the dry side and the coleslaw was limp, like it has been hanging around dressed for a while. By the time I ate the schnitzel my expectations of James Barnes were so high that I was hoping the coleslaw would match the amazing slaw from Leon in the UK, but sadly it wasn't to be.

The roast baby beets with mixed citrus, walnuts and goats feta was another good example of 4143's quality and value that I got so excited about when eating the bistro food. This big plate of fresh ingredients was only $10.

If I worked closer to the 4143 at James Barnes I couldn't help myself but to go here for lunch regularly.

2 Huntley St,

4143 at the James Barnes on Urbanspoon

My first visit to James Barnes was as part of a bloggers lunch. On this return visit I paid full price for all the food consumed!


  1. Big call on the burger Richard! I really need to get back there. Shame about the schnitzel, it actually looks dry. A little too long in the fryer, methinks

  2. I might live to regret my call, but it is good.

    Joey found the schnitzel dry as well, so it's obviously a bit of a problem.

  3. Hmm, a big burger made of genuine wagyu? Sorry, I find that quite hard to believe, unless it cost about £50. Or is it ethnic wagyu but not looked after in the traditional way?

  4. Wagyu is a real craze here in Sydney at the moment and yes it is a bit rediculous. My understanding is that there is no official wagyu 'standard' so you can effectively cal anything wagyu. I might do some research and write a post about it.

  5. Hmm, so the chances are that it is actual wagyu cow (a specific breed) and reared in the traditional Japanese way is quite low!

  6. New Orleans Bar and Grill might have the best food of anywhere in Greensboro... not to mention an awesome atmosphere, great service, and pretty good drinks.