Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sixpenny, Stanmore

Sixpenny has opened earlier this year to critical acclaim. The unusual suburban location hasn't stopped die hard foodies from visiting this humble restaurant with the small restaurant seemingly unable to keep up with the attention. 

There's an elegant simplicity about the dining room, little personal flourishes here and there and a private dining room out in the middle with a view of the kitchen. It's a small area but is in no way claustrophobia inducing. Music is uncontroversial and likeable, turned to a mild comfortable volume. It's dark timber all the way with soft round edges easy on the eyes. 

Bread, Marscapone Butter, Vinegar Potato Crisps
It's degustation only, $135 for 9 courses or 115 for  7 but we opt for the 9 courser. Tis the season to be jolly right? We begin with bread; a bloody generously loaf might I add, a crunchy and soft, warm delight that melts the butter easily. The transparent crisps were eye-puckeringly sour (I'm not sure whether it was intentional) but it did jump start the taste-buds for more.

Cheese & Onion
Rye Toast
Potato Scallop
We begin with a gathering of canapes. We feared the cheese oil would be sickening but it's oddly light and refreshing due the the light tartness of the verjuice poached baby onion petals. Rye toast with whipped butter was hard but deeply satisfying. The star of the trio has to be undoubtedly the potato scallop; lifted to elegant status through the addition of a crisp thin chicken skin wrapping that givens it a welcome meaty dimension.

Duck Tongue
Knuckle Sandwich
The next set of canapes happen to be their signatures; the well talked about duck tongue and knuckle sandwich. The tongue is wondrously tender but it's the knuckle sandwich that takes it to another level. I had mine with bean and dandelion jelly that's sandwiched between two slices of buttery brioche in the shape of a toast (clever, clever).

Pickled Pear, Peach, Ricotta, Green Almonds and Rose Geranium
Floral. That's what I kept thinking. It tasted like I was eating a garden in a garden. Despite it being one of the prettiest courses I've eaten this year, I'm sadly not a fan but it was certainly interesting, maybe a little too much.

Crab, Silky Macadamia and Camomile
Lo and behold, their signature dish in all its majestic... simplicity? It arrives in a flatish dome of curled camomile ribbons that hides a bed of roasted macadamias and their cream along with sweet hand-picked crab. There's an astounding deliciousness and clarity to this dish that is evidently product driven. It works, it really does work and it's amazing.

Roast Sweet Potato, Nettles, Fish Roe and Whey Sauce
White sweet potato is confidently contrasted with the meaty John Dory roe that is matched equally well with a whey foam that it rounds it together.

Snapper, Brown Butter, Walnuts
Panfried on one side until crisp, the fish (a snapper if I'm not mistaken) is lifted simply with a tart and balanced brown butter and walnuts.

Snapper, Pumpkin Seed Cream, Soft Leeks
Delicate snapper is perfectly cooked to an almost milky consistency which is matched with the sweetest leeks in clarified butter and the cream of pumpkin seeds that works wonders.

Coorong Hanger, Smoky Cabbage and Mustard Leaves
The steak is perfectly cooked to a blushing rare that packs on bags of deep meaty flavour. 

It's a delight to finish it off but in slowly savouring the parts I couldn't help but also notice how incredibly tiny one of the radishes were and it's utterly fascinating.

Chewy Rhubarb
Yoghurt Whey Meringue, Camomile Ice Cream and Honey
The chewy rhubarb reminds me of my childhood roll ups but with more flavour. It's a fun struggle to eat but I eventually relent and just stuff the whole piece in my mouth. The little meringues were puffs of lightness with a pleasant earthy sweetness contributed by the honey and camommile.

Native Ginger, Poached Green Strawberries, Rosella
The single deeply pungent strawberry is intensified with the fruity hits of rosella that is tempered out with a light and refreshing native ginger sorbet.

Beetroots, Mead, Steamed Brioche and Honey Ice Cream
It's a masterful contrast of textures and the flavours work especially the outstanding mead poached beetroot but the steamed brioche pales in comparison the the buttery one we had earlier.

Malted Rye
It tastes like milo and ice cream more than anything else which proves to be an underwhelming yet remarkably light finish to the afternoon.

Cookie Pot
Not quite the finale yet when we're presented with a little pot full of petit fours. They're home made cookies that include an impressive airy lamington, ginger root biscuits among a few others.

Hibiscus Tea
Our tea arrives in a clear pot that allows you to appreciate the lucid green herbs recently picked from the back garden.

And yes, it's all true. The humility you hear so much about from Sixpenny, it's all there. The chefs are all soft spoken and humble, a surprise given their remarkable achievements with both head chefs being heavy hitters in the restaurant industry; receiving a number of accolades including both being the recipients of Josephone Pignolet Young Chef of the Year awards . It's quite nice when they quietly bring out your dishes but they quickly jump at the opportunity to launch into a full scale explanation when given the chance. 

Take head chef James Parry for example, their resident horticulturalist who also happens to be a chef there. He passionately went into great detail to us about every single vegetable grown in their backyard plot as well as their farm in Bowral such as the lettuce which he grows being placed in harshers conditions and apparently tasting better; survival of the fittest analogy as he put it. Hey, food as good as this, I'll take his word for it. 

There's a lot of painstaking love that goes into this like something as simple as their multiple mint leaves going into our tea, the native ginger in our sorbet or the flowers for our garnishes; every process is considered, from the cultivation to when it makes its way to the plate. I found it enlightening to say the least and you appreciate it so much more; thank you. It's a rare side to the back house you never see at the front and those willing to probe deeper will find greater enjoyment out of Sixpenny.

Simple, down-to-earth (intentional pun) and nature driven. That's how I'd describe the food and it's very much a reflection of the mentality behind Sixpenny. The flavours aren't punchy but rather very restraint and well thought out. The combinations are unique yet aren't coma inducingly complex and I'm all the more for it. You'll hear many comparisons between the acclaimed Noma and Sixpenny, the main one being head chef of Sixpenny Daniel Puskas a former chef of Noma. Even so, there's a lot of confidence and quiet pride here that it seems like they're doing their own thing. Very well I might add.

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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