Stunning delicacies at Sixpenny

The other week, I had the pleasure of having a delightfully long lunch with a few professional chefs here in Sydney (no big deal).  It goes without saying that I immensely enjoy the company of chefs and learning about the restaurant industry here, and as an added bonus, they literally all know each other and thus anytime I go to a restaurant with chefs I inevitably feel more important than I actually am (but it is exciting).  Sixpenny has been around for almost two years now and I went to it shortly after it opened and before I started this blog.  It was wonderful to see that since my first visit the food and service have improved even more from their already excellent state.  It is located in a humble building in an inner west suburb and only seats about 30-40 people.  The service there is probably better than any other restaurant I’ve been to in Sydney to date (and I’ve been to a lot).  They have a fantastic set-up where all the wine and utensils and plates are in an island in the centre of the dining room, and the service is really exemplary.  Every need you have is attended to immediately and believe me, in Australian restaurants, that is a rarity, so this was a welcome change!

Moving on to the food…obviously if this is a place that professional chefs frequent, it’s going to be pretty spectacular food.  It’s not cheap, at $100+ a head with no alcohol, but in some ways it can be preferable to the even steeper costs of the slightly trendier and more centrally located fine dining Sydney restaurants.  This place has become a destination for its more down to earth nature while still churning out incredibly innovative and really delicious fine dining dishes.  The below is just a sampling of the many delights we had…I accidentally forgot to take pictures of a few courses!

IMG_6867The meal starts off with a multitude of delightful snacks, the first of which were salt and vinegar crisps.  I don’t actually like potato chips, but believe me I could eat these all day long.  They were little handcrafted morsels of super thinly sliced potato goodness.

IMG_6868Next snack…little homemade mini English muffins with spinach, ricotta, and green tomato marmalade.  One bite wonder!

IMG_6869Pickled golfball turnips.  These were slightly warm and utterly delicious.  I have never eaten a whole turnip before and I wouldn’t be sure how to prepare one myself, but man these were good.

IMG_6870Salt baked golden beetroot.  This was even better than the turnips – they were these sweet warm beets, baked in the shell, and you took it right out of the shell and ate it with your hands.  And adorable presentation too, right?

IMG_6871After all that, we finally moved on to the first course, which was a savoury fruit salad, with peaches, green apple, and house made sour cream (with a few edible flowers on the top of course).  Honestly I can typically do without sour cream – the flavours of the fruit itself were delicious and tangy enough for me!

The second course which I wrote down but of course accidentally forgot to photograph was steamed mud crab with macadamia nut milk and shaved macadamia nuts.  It was a bit too milky for me (for me the less creaminess the better), but what they did with the macadamia nuts was incredible – they literally looked like white chocolate shavings.  Talk about extensive prep. 

IMG_6872Next course was blue eyed cod that was hidden by sweet potato leaves (which were delicious and crunchy – I’ve never had one but it reminded me of crispy kale leaves)…

IMG_6873Which when opened revealed the fish which was meticulously draped in a watercress sauce and sweet potato sauce (green and brown respectively).  I liked the flavour of the watercress particularly.  I did think both sauces were a bit heavy for the very light fish but they were delicious regardless.

IMG_6874Cider braised pork cheek accompanied by cider braised garlic and some braised lettuce.  Braised is clearly the name of the game here.  The pork was super fatty but incredibly good.  I’d never had cheek before, just belly, and the cheek was definitely fantastic.  I also loved how tender the garlic and lettuce were.

IMG_6875Venison (or veal? I forget) marinated in malt powder with roasted cabbage.  I typically prefer beef to veal/venison but this was fantastic.  It was perfectly cooked and I loved the roast cabbage on the side.

IMG_6876And now the desserts begin – first a palate cleanser of lemon curd with frozen yogurt and lemon verbena.  It was so amazingly cold and lemony – really incredibly refreshing.

IMG_6877Pear and chocolate ganache dish – which included a vanilla ice cream component, a thin layer of chocolate ganache, a thin slice of pear, and a whole covering of utterly delicious toasted milk crumbs.  I was particularly excited to discover the fantastic chocolate ganache since you couldn’t really see it at first glance.  The pear was rather hard and could have been softer to make eating the dessert with a spoon easier, but the flavours still all combined really well.  Toasted milk crumbs is a win under any circumstance basically.

There was one final one which I forgot to photograph sadly, which was a slice of pumpkin cooked in mead so it was quite sweet, served along side a little scoop of rice flavoured ice cream.  I love anything pumpkin related so this was fantastic, but I probably still preferred the pear/chocolate/milk crumb one to it.  And then as if you are not full enough, they send you home with little goodie bags of freshly baked cookies (TOTALLY something I would do if I ever owned a restaurant).

Sixpenny is the type of restaurant which can either be suited to a very special occasion or a relatively casual (but long – commit 3 hours) Sunday lunch.  They manage to turn out very fancy food in a refreshingly relaxed way, and it’s clear they are constantly changing their menu and flavours to continue to innovate with the seasons and produce the highest quality food.  It is definitely worth your money!

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