Week 44: The degustation

Six Penny

Nestled in one of the more random spots Sydney has to offer, Six Penny is an absolute dining must. For foodies and regular folk alike, I can’t recommend this enough.

When most degustation places can be a bit pretentious, Six Penny reverses that with amazing food, brilliant service and genuine passion about fine food. 

Nutrition- 7 (quality ingredients, but unknown in some dishes)

Taste- 10

Service- 10

Ambience- 9

Extra mile- 10

Budget – High

*Scores are out of 10

Six Penny rating – 46/50 on a highbudget

Table with a view

Dinner with this sexy lady

 Mike

There was a time, not all that long ago, where I would have said “Meh” to the idea of a degustation. Then I met NN, and seeing as she is somewhat obsessed with “small little bites of food”, and generally talking me into this challenge to begin with, a degustation was inevitable.

Now I’ll point out that I haven’t actually experienced any others, but I do have a friends very trustable recommendation and summation of them to go on (click here to read ManVersusBean’s take on them) so from this I can (and have) make the above assumptions.

NN and I visited Six Penny earlier this year for her birthday (insert brownie points here) and it was an absolute delight. Not only did we love the food, but the service was net to none, with quite possibly the world’s best and most passionate smellier.

I believe there are 3 types of people who like wine:

  1. Those, like me, that simply like wine, but don’t really know too much about it. It just tastes nice
  2. Those that like to know about wine. They seem preoccupied with talking about all the notes, purely for the appearance of being a wine buff. Often times painful to listen to
  3. Those that just fucking love wine. This goes far beyond wanting to look like they know about wine, these people do, and their passion comes through, regardless of whether or not they look cool.

Upon our first visit to Six Penny we had the latter. This dude was so passionate about wine he often struggled to get his worlds out. And that may sound unprofessional, or poor form, but it wasn’t. it was entertaining, informative and a plain joy to witness. It easily made the dining experience two times better.

 

Now, unfortunately for us, this guy has moved on to other projects, so we didn’t experience his fervor this time around. We did, however, get sat next to the kitchen, with a one-way mirror looking in, so we could spy on the chefs, yet they couldn’t see us doing so.

It made for an interesting evening, and certainly quashed any thoughts that all restaurant kitchens are hectic zoos. Six Penny’s kitchen was calm and methodical.

 The kitchen view from our table- one way glass

The kitchen view from our table- one way glass

We came in for the special 4 course spring tasting plate, but before we could get brought any food we changed our mind to the 6 course (the other option being the 8 course, which we had the first time round- with matching wines…).

 

Below is the menu we had. This is from memory (a note in my iPhone), and the spelling of some may be off, purely because I haven’t heard of some of them before.

  Nibbles:

  • Salt and vinegar chips

Salt & vinegar chips

  • Mini English muffin with ricotta and green tomato relish

•	Mini English muffin with ricotta and green tomato relish

  • Charred leaks with a sweet onion glaze

•	Charred leaks with a sweet onion glaze

  • Golden baby beets, roasted in a wattle seed salt crust with caramelised cream

•	Golden baby beets, roasted in a wattle seed salt crust with caramelised cream

  • Freshly bakes sourdough with mascarpone butter 

 

6 course dishes: 

  1.       Savoury fruit salad, in ripe strawberries and peaches with sour cream and Myer lemon

    1.Savoury fruit salad, in ripe strawberries and peaches with sour cream and Myer lemon

    1. Savoury fruit salad, in ripe strawberries and peaches with sour cream and Myer lemon

  2.       Steamed mud crab with creamy macadamia nut milk, shaved macadamia and camomile
  3.       Steamed bass grouper fish with stinging nettle and burnt rye butter
  4.       Veal rump malted  with an anchovies and butter emulsion
  5.       Milk sorbet with compote sorbet and poor man’s orange and mandarin sauce
  6.       Queensland pumpkin cooked in mead, with rice ice cream and white chocolate sauce

 

 

So, the questions becomes, what does one do when going to a degustation, yet they are trying to stick to a overall healthy eating plan?

My answer: screw it.

 

I will hazard a guess that this is the kind of meal that most people may never have, and some might have once or twice, therefore, regardless of what your current eating plan is- crew it and enjoy a dining experience like the one we had at Six Penny.

 

My dietary recommendations verge on tough for those who are making considerable change to their diet and lifestyle, however, outside of that, for those living a healthy life, and either maintaining body composition, or dropping fat at a sustainable rate- eating whatever the hell you want from time to time is not only acceptable, but I encourage it.

 

The question now for me it- do I try some other degustations, keeping in mind the review from Raphael earlier, or just stick with what I know and  hope the Steamed mud Crab & macadamia dish remains?

2.Steamed mud crab with creamy macadamia nut milk, shaved macadamia and camomile

2. Steamed mud crab with creamy macadamia nut milk, shaved macadamia and camomile

NN, I’ll let you discuss the individual dishes. I’m now salivating at the thought of this meal. Damn it.

 

Nards

 How would I describe the Sixpenny degustation? As a total explosion of experiences.  Everything about Six Penny is designed to give you an experience that you cannot forget – from the time they greet you at the door, to the chefs bringing out the dishes to the additional petit fours at the conclusion of the dinner, it is all designed to take you away from the mundane tasks of everyday life, and immerse you in a total dining experience.

 

I have been fortunate enough to have eaten at a lot of Chef-Hatted restaurants, and have enjoyed my fair share of degustation menus, but this is certainly THE best one I have had the pleasure of eating – and the best bit – there was not one foam dish in sight!  (Call me a food snob, but any sort of foam on a spoon is soo overdone!).

 

Food is fuel, and once broken down provides the body with the necessary nutrients for survival.  In other words food nourishes us, but not just physically at the cellular level, but also on a psychological and spiritual level.  We masticate, and then we experience.  Our brains register the taste, texture, smell, and visual elements of all that we consume, and depending on how we good (or bad) we perceive that to be we are flooded with a cascade of hormones that make us feel happy, joyful, content, or possibly sad, dissatisfied and sick. 

3.Steamed bass grouper fish with stinging nettle and burnt rye butter

3. Steamed bass grouper fish with stinging nettle and burnt rye butter

Fortunately Six Penny, is one of those experiences that left us feeling extremely satisfied, euphoric and ‘just-the-right-amount-of-full’.

 

Whilst each degustation dish is typically quite small, they are exceptionally well crafted, and contain loads of complex flavours that seem to work harmoniously.  Each little dish is a work of art, and painstakingly put together on the plate.  As each dish arrived, we took the time to visually drink it in and embrace the aromas, before taking the first bite (well actually, we also had to take the obligatory photos for this blog, which did make us feel righteously wanky). 

 

Even though each dish is only about 1-4 bites worth, over the course of the evening, you end up feeling quite satisfied and full without being stuffed.

4.Veal rump malted  with an anchovies and butter emulsion

4. Veal rump malted with an anchovies and butter emulsion

One of the major issues with some degustation’s is that they can end up dragging on, and on, and on, for hours in fact, which becomes quite boring and tiring.  For me anything that takes longer than 2 hours is a painful experience, but in the case of Six Penny, they manage to get all the courses out in a short time period, without it feeling rushed.  Their kitchen team has got the timing down to a fine art.

5.Milk sorbet with compote sorbet and poor man’s orange and mandarin sauce

5. Milk sorbet with compote sorbet and poor man’s orange and mandarin sauce

It is obvious that extreme quality has gone into their dishes, and the execution is flawless. 

 

My recommendation:  for one night cast aside any specific dietary methodology that you may be sticking to, and immerse yourself in a total dining experience. 

6.Queensland pumpkin cooked in mead, with rice ice cream and white chocolate sauce

6. Queensland pumpkin cooked in mead, with rice ice cream and white chocolate sauce

Do it with the love of your life, and it becomes so much sweeter.  Awwww….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s