2 Birds, 1 Stone @ Sixpenny, Stanmore

Date of Visit: November 10 2013

Anybody read the November 18 2013, Time Magazine edition ‘The Gods of Food: Meet the people who influence what (and how) you eat’? There is a family tree where Cafe Paci and Sixpenny were mentioned.

According to the ‘family tree’, Chef Pasi (of Cafe Paci) had both worked with and co-authored a cookbook with Mark Best of Marque – comes from Alain Passard’s branch in L’Arpege, Paris whereas Sixpenny (James Parry and Daniel Peaks) –  is an offshoot of Andoni Adurlz of Errentera, Spain who in turn came from the kitchens of Ferran and Albert Adria of el bulli, Pakta, Tickets, Bodega, 1900, 41’s fame.

Anyway, on every second Sundays, Sixpenny organises collaborations with a guest chef to shake things up a bit. On this particular Sunday I booked, it happened to be a collaboration between Cafe Paci and Sixpenny, thus killing 2 birds with 1 stone at a fantastic deal of A$125 per person!

We had 4 Snacks for Starters… For each course, the chefs who prepared the dish will make an introduction. We started off with Cafe Paci (CP), then Sixpenny (S) – whereby, the signatures from each restaurant followed one after the other.

Fish & Chips (CP): A neat twist of the good ol’ fish and chips, using Barramundi fish skins and deep-fried thinly sliced potatoes arranged into crackers. On its own, the fish-skins had no taste, but eaten with the overly salt-and-vinegared potato crisps, taste was liven up.

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Fish & Chips

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Crispy Barramundi Skin aka ‘Fish’

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Potato crisps aka ‘Chips’

Semi Dried Pickles (S): These are akin to the pickled Japanese ume (Japanese plums or apricots) known as umeboshi, which were very oiishi! These are carrots, beetroots and radishes were pickled in fruit vinegars (e.g peach, apple, etc.)

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Semi Dried Pickles

Shag Pile Prawns (and an Asparagus Spear for me)

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Shag Pile Prawns

The asparagus freshly picked spear that I had had been coated in lemon curd then encrusted with poppy seeds – very crunchy and delectable!

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Asparagus Spear

The last of the snacks were the aromatic heart-shaped cutie Blood waffles with the accompaniments of creamed butter and loganberry jam.

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Blood Waffles

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Creamed butter studded with bitter fern tips

To drink: Collector Shiraz 2009 Mark Tree Red, although wine-matching is also available.

We also had house-baked bread rolls.

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Sourdough roll

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Mascarpone butter

We were actually getting rather full when the 1st course was served… in any regards…lets loosen our belts and dig in!

Course #1

Something green, something sweet – and something sour to round ’em up! This is from Sixpenny kicked whereby the sous chef came out to pour the refreshingly fragrant pea juice over the snap peas and sour cream curd.

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Beans, Peas & Sour cream

Course #2

The 2nd course was from Cafe Paci.   My 2 dining companions had the veal tartare and smoked bone marrow were tossed with dry shrimp prawn floss and prawn roe and onions.

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Veal tartare, Smoked Bone Marow & Prawn

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Veal tartare, Smoked Bone Marow & Prawn

I had the no-shellfish option, so was given lamb tartare instead.  This was served furikake-style – furikake is a popular Japanese condiment used mainly as a seasoning for rice.  This comprised of  toasted sesame, sweet capsium crackers/tacos,bits of nori, puffed rice (?) and spices.  I love the sweet peppery taste

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Lamb Tartare Furikake

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Lamb Tartare Furikake

Course #3

Adorned with a deep-fried sweet potato leaf sprinkled with salt, the blue eye travella was perfectly cooked.  The flesh flaking when a fork was pierced into it.  Foie gras on top of the fish and water cress purée blanketed around the fish.

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Lightly Steamed Blue Eye with foie gras

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Lightly Steamed Blue Eye with foie gras

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Lightly Steamed Blue Eye with foie gras

Course #4

This is dish Cafe Paci is renowned for.  A very smart, play-on words of pho (Vietnamese noodles) and potato (potatoes) – hence, potato noodles – a fusion of Vietnamese and Finnish (where Pasi was originally from).

The noodles are strands of enoki mushrooms and finely threaded potatoes cooked in garlic butter and vinegar.  The beef is a thinly sliced Wagyu chuck tail flap, seared on 1 side and seasoned with salt and some horseradish.  One squeezes the grilled wedge of lemon to separate the taste and also to get a citrusy hit.

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Photato: The best Hanoi-Helsinki fusion

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Photato: Crunchy vinegared potato ‘noodles’

Next up were the 2 desserts, which I found rather under-whelming since I am not a fan of ‘moussey-saucey’ stuffs.

Course #5

The reddish piece is quandong jelly on lemon myrtle sauce and sprinkled with frozen panna cotta snowflakes.  I liked the tart taste, in particular the chewy cured quangdong which sicks to my teeth!

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Whipped Quangdong Jelly, Lemon Myrtle & Frozen Ricotta

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Whipped Quangdong Jelly, Lemon Myrtle & Frozen Ricotta

Course #6

The last dessert was something akin to McVite malt biscuits under the malty white chocolate sauce, foam and shavings.

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Rye, Camomile and Chocolate

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Rye, Camomile and Chocolate

Coffees were served together with petit fours.

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Malt Floss, Rye Macarons, . Native Ginger Granny Smith Apples

I’d definitely visit Sixpenny again – and also visit Cafe Paci in Darlinghurst the next time I am in Sydney!

At the time of posting, Sixpenny scored 88% out of 130 votes.

Sixpenny on Urbanspoon

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The heritage building were Sixpenny is located

A Casual Shared Lunch @ 4Fourteen, Surry Hills

Date of Visit: November 20 2013

4Fourteen is another restaurant by chef Colin Fassnidge of Four in Hand (my review here and here) with Carla Jones as head chef .  It opened last year and was the talk of ‘Twitter-town’ – in essence, Fassnidge had alerted the world of the imminent arrival of his new venture on April 6 by tweeting over 8000 times to his 4000+  followers.

The stripped-raw high-ceilinged warehouse space with industrial downlights was efficiently divided into an open kitchen backed with green tiles, white marble island bar, timber wine cave at the back, red vinyl banquettes along the right side of the open-plan room and bentwood table-sittings.   Coupled with brisk and warm service makes this a very smart casual diner.

Since it was a busy restaurant and practically full every night the last couple of times we dined there, we decided to try our luck without a reservation today .  As luck could have it, we got our table and were the lone diners there, thus receiving plenty of attention from the friendly waitstaffs!

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Raw ‘edgy’ vibe of mottled walls, industrial downlights and exposed timber rafters

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Retro-industrial meets downtown-chic

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Pop of colours for the mottled walls: Canvas paintings and Red vinyl banquettes (also fantastic space saver!)

The restaurant menu was designed with sharing plates in mind – ‘Something to nibble; Small plates; Large plates; Salads and starches’.   This is modern comfort food with generous hearty portions.   We ordered 2 small sharing plates and 1 large sharing plates to start.

The House Smoked Mackerel ‘Rillette’ came first, it was drizzled generously with  a very green coloured pesto oil and accompanied by a watercress and sliced radish salad.  The rillette was a very soft and smooth, spreading easily on the chargrilled sourdough bread.  Although rather oily,  it was delicious and make a fine appetiser.

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House Smoked Mackerel ‘Rillette’, Lemon Curd, Grilled Bread ($16)

The next small plate was Charred Lamb’s Tongue.  We’ve had beef tongue often enough and decided that a lamb’s tongue will make a nice change.  There were 4 slices of tongue to share together with cos, sliced radishes (again), and a long strip of char-grilled sweet pickled cucumber   The toasted baguettes could were as hard as stiff cardboards, cutting the  roof of my mouth – 👎 .  Nevertheless, my dining companion and I enjoyed the charred  and smoky lamb’s tongue which were tender to the bite.  This is also a very moreish plate rendered by  tahini dressing and the very refreshing mint-cucumber jelly- going well with the smoky charred tongue and pickled cucumber.

I liked the idea of vinegared mint-cucumber gelée and no doubt, I shall be making these at home as cool-me-downs during the hot sweltering summer!

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Chargrilled Lamb Tongue, Sweet Pickled Cucumber, Cos, Mint ($19)

Our main was the  Roast Skate Wing Bouillon.  This is a full-flavoured  broth dish, the ham hock imparted smoky saltiness whereas the mussels gave the sweet freshness reminiscent of the ocean – kinda of land and sea collide!  😜  The skate wing was slightly under-cooked so the flesh did not flake off the bone.   All forgiven – no worries – as the soup was delicious.

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Roast Skate Wing, Ham Hock Bouillon, Mussels ($34)

Although we were rather full, we could not resist the temptation of dessert…

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Dessert Menu

It was tough decision but in the end we chose Roast Pineapple, Coconut and Yoghurt which was ample for 2 to share.  I am not a fan of fresh pineapples, but roasted pineapples is another story – the pineapple was sweet and juicy sans the acidity.  Under the lime sorbet was the creamy yoghurt panna cotta.  Other supporting items to the dish were thick-cut roasted coconut flakes, flaxseed tuile and strips of cucumber -which I normally won’t associate with dessert!  Still, they came together beautifully – taste and presentation-wise!

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Roast pineapple, coconut and yoghurt ($16)

It was a fantastic lunch.  The lunch bill came up to around $130 (+1 glass of wine + sparkling water +tips), on par with fine dining prices in the City and not exactly ‘casual neighbourhood prices’, could price be the reason that we were the 2 lone diners in the restaurant that day – perhaps it gets busier for dinners and over the weekends. We shall see!

At the time of posting, 4Fourteen scored 74% out of 235 votes

4Fourteen on Urbanspoon