During Omnivore, the French food festival labelled “100 per cent Jeune Cuisine” which made its Sydney debut during Good Food Month, hatted restaurant Sixpenny in Stanmore teamed up with Chef Sven Chartier of Saturne in Paris to present an Omnivore Amazing Dinner.
Sixpenny is located in the inner western suburb of Stanmore, a dégustation-only restaurant that humbly describes itself as “a little restaurant in Stanmore”. The fitout is kept minimalist in beige and timber tones with sheer curtains evoking the simplicity of another era. Botanical paintings grace the walls and the lighting casts a warm orange glow on the dining room with a central bar in the middle. Brown-aproned chefs make brief appearances serving the food and explaining the dishes to curious diners.
The experience begins with a glass of Alexandre Filaine champagne, an ex-assistant of Bollinger, with an aperitif style champagne made of predominantly Pinot Noir. The dégustation dinner is to consist of eight courses, with a few extras. No menu is presented, and the curiosity is piqued further every time the chefs bring a dish to a neighbouring table.
Salt and Vinegar Chips
From the artful presentation of the Salt and Vinegar Chips, you know you are in for a special experience. Overlapping strips of Kipfler potatoes are seasoned with salt and vinegar, an adult presentation and a flavour that brings back childhood memories.
Zucchini, Pumpkin Seed Cream and Nori, Puffed Pig Skin, Chicken Liver and Anchovy
A series of amuse-bouches follows. The first is a two-part dish by Sven Chartier. Rolled zucchini strips with pumpkin seed cream and nori sing the flavours of the vegetable, a dish reminiscent of the Saturne Delice the chef served at the Omnivorious Party. The second is a bouchée of chicken liver and anchovy on puffed pig skin, a combination of creamy and salty flavours that complement one another.
Carrot with Toasted Mascarpone Curds
Next is Carrot with Toasted Mascarpone Curds. The home-grown carrots are cooked in mascarpone and topped with toasted cheese.
Golden Beetroot with Caramelised Cream
Presented like a bird’s nest, the Golden Beetroot with Caramelised Cream are baked in salt and wattleseed and unveiled at the table. The accompanying caramelised cream is simply irresistible to spread on the beets. It is made by boiling the cream until it catches them mixing it with the burnt parts to give a creamy, sweet and slightly salty flavour.
Home-made sourdough bread is served with a light and creamy mascarpone butter.
Fruit Salad with Sour Cream and Fresh Bergamot
The first course begins with an elegant Sixpenny dish, Fruit Salad with Sour Cream and Fresh Bergamot. Thin layers of green strawberries, celtuce (a root vegetable) and green peach surround a dollop of sour cream. Savoury with a hint of sweetness, the addition of bergamot makes it extra special.
The dish is exquisitely paired with Moriki Sake from central Japan, a spirit made according to traditional methods with no dilution or charcoal filtration yielding a full-bodied and sweeter style of Junmai.
Tomato Gazpacho with Black Olive Ice Cream and Ricotta
The Tomato Gazpacho with Black Olive Ice Cream and Ricotta, a dish by Sven Chartier is presented in two parts.
A quenelle of black olive tapenade sorbet sits on top of frozen ricotta. The chef then pours the tomato gazpacho around it resulting in the most amazing umami flavours with a hint of creaminess from the cheese. This dish is simply a taste sensation, icy cold with all the flavours amplified.
It is paired with Mylène Bru Lady Chasselas Blanc from Languedoc, a grape variety often found in Haute-Savoie. The wine is known for its intensity and minerality with a a little sweetness that offsets the savoury gazpacho.
Blanched Oysters with Pear, Beetroot and Shallot Cream
Blanched Oysters with Pear, Beetroot and Shallot Cream is the dish that Sven Chartier demonstrated at the Omnivore masterclass. Beneath the thin squares of beetroot lie briny oysters that have been steamed in their shell then cooked with beer and served with cream that has been whipped with vinegar and shallots, with tiny “pearls” of pears adding a little texture.
A crisp and vibrant Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine “Clos de Briords” from the Loire makes a good accompaniment, a wine that is quite mineral in character on the nose with high acidity on the palate.
NZ Scampi with Baby Potatoes, Hay. Beach Herbs and Vin Jaune
The next dish by Sven Chartier, New Zealand Scampi with Baby Potatoes, Hay, Beach Herbs and Vin Jaune is sublime and arguably the best scampi ever tasted. The crustacean is lightly grilled to the point that it is just cooked and almost sashimi-like. The sauce is made from scampi heads and the accompanying melt-in-the-mouth potatoes are cooked in hay and rolled in ash.
Matched with a very special label-less wine brought from France by the Saturne contingency, Vin jaune is made by Jean-Marc Brignot using the Savignin grape which is grown in the Jura region. The wine develops a voile, or veil of yeast which reduces oxidation. The wine is cloudy, a little Pongy and yeasty on the nose. The flavour starts rather astringently then ends up a little on the sweet side.
Pork Jowl Pastrami with Baby Gem lettuce and Cider Braised Garlic
A Sixpenny dish follows. The Pork Jowl Pastrami with Baby Gem lettuce and Cider-Braised Garlic is tender and succulent with a very crispy crackling. The pork melts in the mouth and the sweetness of the meat and cider goes very well with the white wine from Domaine Léon Barral, made by leaving the skin on the grapes which gives it tannins and structure.
Malted Veal with Roasted Cabbage
The next dish, Malted Veal with Roasted Cabbage is visually intriguing at first. The dark exterior hides a sweet, succulent and caramelised pink veal accompanied by a creamy cabbage in anchovy butter – a combination that convert anyone into eating the vegetable.
The matching wine comes from a boutique winery in the north-east of Spain, Mendall, a blend of several varietals such as Garnacha, Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine has had contact with skin which gives it good tannins and a high fruit concentration.
Carrot Sorbet, Grapefruit Cream, and Fresh Cheese
The first of the desserts is a playful dish of Carrot Sorbet, Grapefruit Cream, and Fresh Cheese. What looks like a sponge cake is a grapefruit parfait, the egg yolk is a carrot sorbet and the egg white is fresh ricotta.
The matching wine comes in a clay bottle amphora from Austria. Werlitsch Amphorenwein White is fermented on skins in clay amphora which is buried deep in the ground, giving the wine a savoury character.
Hickory Smoked Ice Cream with Blueberry, Apple and Frozen Almond
The last of the dishes is a moreish Hickory Smoked Ice Cream with Blueberry, Apple and Frozen Almond paired with a French wine from the Loire valley, made of romorantin, a late harvest grape that is slightly oxidative giving it a rich character, acidity with a hint of sweetness.
A selection of petits fours, with chewy rhubarb, lemon curd and sesame tarts, and a cookie jar with hazelnut and amaretto madeleines, dolce delice and shortbread is served along with a refreshing bergamot tea.
L-R: Ewen Lemoigne (Sommelier, Saturne), Daniel Puskas (Sixpenny), Sven Chartier (Chef, Saturne), Guilhem Rihet (Saturne), James Parry (Sixpenny)
The Omnivore Amazing Dinner with Sven Chartier and Sixpenny was nothing short of sensational. From the seamless integration of dishes from opposite ends of the world, to the impeccable biodynamic and natural wines matches by sommelier Sebastian Crowther, service that is fluid and well-informed, the Sixpenny experience defies superlatives.
The Omnivore Sixpenny/Sven Chartier dinner was held on Sunday 6 October 2013.
17, rue Notre-Dame des Victoires
75002 Paris France
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