83 Percival Rd
Stanmore, NSW 2048
Lockdown has put a serious dampener on the fancy food aspect of my life. Whilst there are plenty of good take-home packs being bandied out by the trendiest spots around town, very few of these places are within a distance that I can travel out to in good conscience. However, I did manage to luck out with the Sixpenny General Store, which is once again open from 9am-3pm on Fridays through to Sundays for all your baked goods needs (and a cheeky bottle of wine as well, if that’s what you’re into).
During better times, Sixpenny is nothing less than the smallest 3-hat restaurant in all of Australia. When the first lockdown hit, they shifted their business model to something a bit more casual, transitioning to a general store stocking take-home meal boxes, house-made baked goods, and the odd jar of artisanal pickles or jam. This proved to be so successful that not only did they manage to keep all their chefs on full-time, they even out-earned in a single morning what they normally do during a lunch and dinner service combined! And it’s just as well it was so successful too, because as soon as lockdown 2.0 was announced, the General Store was back, much to the delight of pretty much everyone.
The daily menu for the General Store goes up on the restaurant’s Instagram at 4pm the day before, and they give you a chance to order a whole cake to pick up the next day. For those who aren’t quite as ambitious, the alternative is to line up outside the restaurant and wait your turn. But not to worry – if you show up at about 11am like we did, you’re looking at a 5-10 minute wait tops, even if you do run the risk of some of the more popular items running out before then.
Unlike the last lockdown, there are no take-home meal boxes for sale at the General Store. There are however several hot sandwiches made fresh to order, and conveniently, a nearby park to eat them in. The Fish Burger ($16) is probably their most popular order, and even for those of you who would never touch a Filet-O-Fish, this one is still worth a try, because it is everything a good fish burger should be. Think not one, but two pieces of restaurant-quality fish fried in crunchy, golden batter, stuffed into a squishy brioche bun and topped with a gooey slice of melted American cheese, dollops of creamy tartar, and finished with crisp leaves of butter lettuce. With everything in just the right proportion, each bite was fresh and balanced, yet undeniably indulgent.
If fish isn’t your jam, then the Sausage and Egg Muffin ($15) is another goodie worth getting. Just like the fish burger, this is a classic sandwich done with the best ingredients. But the highlight was definitely the house-made sausage. Instead of being the burger-like patty we all know and love(?), this rendition is firm and meaty, with a spiced sweetness reminiscent of Chinese lap cheong.
But as nice as the savouries are, what everyone is really here for are the sweets. Carrot Cake ($8.5, slice) is one of my absolute favourites and by god was this a fantastic one. The crumb was unbelievably moist, and you could even taste a hint of the sweetness of the carrot through the balanced mixture of warm spices. The cream cheese frosting was of course, good enough to eat with a spoon. I have no shame in admitting I scraped up every bit of it from the cardboard box.
Less traditional was the Pear, Mead, and Mascarpone Cake ($8.5, slice), and although I was sorely tempted by the coconut and lime number, the luscious slices of pear layered through this won me over. The combination of light sponge, fresh fruit, and thick, creamy mascarpone was refreshing yet indulgent. My only complaint is that I couldn’t taste the mead, but otherwise this is the ideal choice for those who like their cakes on the light and fruity side.
Just like with carrot cake, I’m a strong believer that a good Lemon Meringue Tart ($8) is hugely underrated, and this tart certainly gave the carrot cake a run for its money. The lemon curd had a pleasantly vivacious tang to it without compromising on the underlying creaminess, and the meringue on top was airy and just the right level of sweet. I was also a huge fan of the pastry shell, which although thin to the point of brittleness (that’s how I like it!), was still undeniably buttery, complimenting the zesty citrus well.
Despite already having more than enough goodies, I couldn’t resist picking up a few more smaller items. The Portuguese Tart ($4.5) was a good call, with its eggy centre and flaky, caramelised edges. I was especially impressed with the dusting of powdered cinnamon over the top, which may not seem like much, but added an unexpectedly apt warmth and depth of flavour to each bite. Last of all was the Cruller ($3), which I actually hadn’t planned on getting, but was immediately won over by the way they sat in a pile, glistening with sugar syrup. Like many before me have mentioned, the texture of this was absolutely bonkers. The first bite was so airy it was almost like fairy floss, but once you start chewing, the buttery pastry just melts like cream. The despite the syrup seeming over the top, it actually added just the right amount of sweetness.
Ok so the cruller being the last thing was actually a half truth, as we had also grabbed a loaf of the House-Made Sourdough ($9) to chow down on at home. And just to round out the whole experience, this is likely the best sourdough I’ve had since Rockpool. Still warm when we got it home, the exterior was so crunchy it was hard to believe that a deep fryer wasn’t involved, whilst the middle was doughy and yeasty, with a complex sourness that developed as it was chewed. It was phenomenally good, and didn’t even last 24 hours before being entirely demolished.
I may not be a morning person, but the Sixpenny General Store was well worth the early weekend start (yes, getting up before 10 counts as early for me). But the funny thing is, despite any and all of the items being good enough to warrant a return visit, it’s the sourdough that really makes me desperate to go back. Though if anyone wants to drive by my place with an entire cake from Sixpenny, I guess I could take it off your hands.
Rating: 15/20 – worth its weight in pennies. gold pennies, of course.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.