After leaving the kitchen at Oscillate Wildly, chefs James Parry and Dan Puskas had already planned to work together again, although at what point it wasn’t clear where and when. Sixpenny changed all that. Housed in a corner terrace not too far from Stanmore station, there’s less of Newtown’s frenetic pace, but there are similarities too. The space is small, the dishes are inventive and the dining is of an accessible high-end ilk.
The dining room is sparsely elegant, but by no means aloof, with warm wooden surfaces to cocoon you in an intimate dinner. A private dining room, usually reserved for parties of six and tucked behind a wall of wine, serves as a quasi-chef’s table, with a wide window peering into the kitchens.
Working with small, farm-direct suppliers for their meats and sourcing vegetables from a plot on the south side of Mittagong, means that the menu is at the whim of the seasons, with Parry claiming that this prevents boredom in the kitchen. But it also cultivates a real reverence for what produce is available. And it shows on the menu, which doesn’t elaborate far beyond the ingredients used for each dish.
The six or eight-course degustation menu comprises dishes that lean towards the gentle and delicate. Garden beans with soft cheese is a brothy, ethereal affair, while dishes like crab, silky macadamia and chamomile have an intriguing logic. There’s a kind of transparency to the ingredients; the produce is never obscured by unwieldy flavours, but nor is it ever left too bare. When the tea garden behind the restaurant is in full bloom, the tisanes on offer are sure to echo this theme.
Admiringly, the chefs would prefer you assume, rather than be impressed by, the attention paid to the produce. To them, that’s just how produce should always be.