Sixpenny Fine Dining in inner western suburb of Stanmore has been open for over a year and is one of a new breed of cool Sydney restaurants that creates dishes with a natural food approach – fresh homegrown produce, much of it from ‘the patch’ in the Southern Highlands. At Sixpenny, there is no jaw-dropping view, no metres of white marble and brushed steel or lighting that might be works of art. Instead you are aware that this is all about the food, service and your dining pleasure.
James Parry and Daniel Puskas from Sixpenny might have taken some influences from modern Euro food that you see at Noma in Copenhagen where James worked. Daniel Puskas and James Parry both have solid food heritage – Daniel having worked at Tetsuyas in Sydney, then in the USA before returning to becoming Head Chef at Oscillate Wildly and earning his first hat. He then moved on to Sepia before opening Sixpenny. James who worked at Billy Kwong, Bird Cow Fish then joining Daniel at Oscillate Wildly before leaving and working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, New York) and Noma restaurant in Copenhagen also Mugraitz in Spain. He returned to Sydney and work at Manly Pavilion and Rockpool before starting Sixpenny with Daniel.
Sixpenny is not a large restaurant – only 50 seats and a small private room – a modern simple comfortable space, with touches of Scandinavia. The centre of the restaurant is a free standing service bar which breaks up the square dining area. At the back of the restaurant, there’s a small kitchen garden where they grow the more delicate herbs. Take a walk around as a part of your dining experience.
We went for the eight course tasting menu ($135) – a selection of small dishes featuring fresh produce skillfully cooked and presented. Each course is brought to the table and introduced by one of the chefs – we like this connection between the chefs and the guests – similar in spirit to that of David Chang’s Momofuku Sydney city.
Starting the eight plus courses, homemade salt and vinegar potato crisps and herbed yoghurt. Salt is here as the hero with coolness of the herbed yoghurt – it sharpens your palate for all that is to follow.
Chilled carrot soup, new olive oil – finest carrot essence, just chilled with herbaceous puddles of new season olive oil – important here as the carrot.
Cucumbers, tomato, edible flowers. This course demonstrates the essence of Sixpenny – fresh, crunch, sharp tastes where the produce speaks for itself with little interference.
Crab, Silky Macadamia and Camomile. This dish is not only visually spectacular – it demonstrates the skill and foresight of the chefs. A sumptuous macadamia milk coating the shreads of crab and macadamias – a dream to eat.
Carrot, Marscarpone, Toasted Cheese Curds and Bitter Leaves. James Parry introduced this course – garden grown, heirloom carrots with hazelnuts and toasted mascarpone, contrasted with the bitter leaves – bitter and sweet some traces of nutty smoke.
Succulent pork with the finest crust against macadamias and baby leaves. The snap of the skin and dissolving sweet pork flesh counterbalanced with green freshness.
Coorong Mullet and Native Ginger Leaf – a rectangle of mullet wrapped in the finest lardon. This silky estaurine fish encased with the richness of the lardons, green earthiness, dreamy fishy creaminess in our mouth.
Leg of Mutton, Sweet Onion, Sprouts and Wild Spinach. The mutton was gentle in its flavour - the fibrous, crunchy earthiness of the sprouts – all carried along nicely with the sweet onion.
Mandarins poached in mandarin juice with a wafer of frozen cream -everything that’s sumptuous about tangy mandarins and sweet cream!
Sour Cream, Strawberries and Fennel Seed – classic reworked. Granules of frozen strawberry juice hiding soft cream and a blink of fennel – perfect – left you wanting to lick the plate. And so with a random thought like that, we should leave and say – Vi ses! But no – there were still one or two more pleasures left.
Rhubarb and potato scallops. A surreal end – the licorice-like texture of the twigs of rhubarb pushing violently against the savoury of the potato scallops, atlas in the end all succumbing to the dusting of sweetness, Heaven.
We asked the sommelier, Sebastian Crowther for a sample of the Sixpenny wine list to match our food. He chose to start a Diebolt Vallois ‘Blanc de Blanc’ Brut Cramant from Champagne - perfectly crisp and a clean introduction. Next up the Muller Catoir ‘Gutswein’ Riesling Blend Pfalz, Germany – light and little sweeteness. A glass of 2011 L’imposteur blanc- a Grenache Gris, Rousanne and Rolle (aka Vermentino) blend – refreshing acidity and a favourite in Vermentino. Then a taste of 2011 Dom. la Grange Tiphaine ‘Clef de Sol’ Cab Franc finishing with a sparkling 2011 Philippe Balivet Gamay Bugey Cerdon, Savoie in France. We like the wine list here – old world wines with a balance of Antipodean wines.
Sixpenny is open for lunch – Saturday and Sunday from 12pm and dinner – Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm. Sixpenny is flawless and friendly, we love the chefs bringing each dish to the table and explaining them.
We sat in quiet contemplation on the train back to the city and thinking of what a perfect meal we had at Sixpenny fine dining restaurant in Stanmore – knowing there was nothing left to be said about Sixpenny!
Wine list: 8/10
83 Percival Rd Stanmore