As a proud inner westie already, One Penny Red in Summer Hill is just one more thing to add to the bragging rights that is the ever-evolving food scene in Sydney’s inner west. Located in a repurposed post office from the 1900s this restaurant is nothing short of seriously good looking, designed both for your Instagram feeds but also to complement owners, Nina and David’s ethos, of designing (and cooking) for sustainability in this split level venue.
Upstairs is perfect for people watching and where you’ll also find the ideal place to kick back with some brews or a damn good barrel aged negroni and your mates. The food on offer ranges from quick nibbles including my personal favourite, green Sicilian olives, to house made dips with olive breads. There’s also a range of small plates, like the salt cod fritters with their own take on a smoked chilli mayo as well as something a little larger like plum and molasses beef short ribs dished up with cabbage, kale and kohlrabi. Their beer and bagel Mondays combine two of life’s great joys, a craft brew with a smoked beef brisket bagel with warm gruyere, tomato jam, Dijon mustard and, of course, a pickle.
You can also head on up in the arvo for their grown up afternoon tea menu. There are no sad scones here but rather a great selection of One Penny Red specials like the salted caramel and banana beignet with chocolate dipping sauce, which is, you guessed it, yum.
Meanwhile, downstairs sits one beautifully fitted out restaurant that you could confuse for somewhere in Scandinavia. With a menu designed to share (which is always a huge tick in our book as you curb the food envy and get to try all the things) you can also choose to put your trust, and most importantly your hunger, safely in the chef’s hands with their tasting menu. I did, and you won’t be disappointed.
To begin, kick things off with the Palmer’s Island mulloway crudo with wild rice and bottarga followed by some of the most tender veal your buds will ever find with their vitello tonnato served with confit tuna sauce and capers. This is definitely your cheat meal and the time when you need to say a big fat oh hello to their buffalo mozzarella, goat curd and pecorino tortellini, it’s everything you want your pasta to be and just a little bit more.
Now guys, wine. We love it, you love it, your mum loves it and so do the guys at One Penny Red. Their wine list is nothing short of epic with wines from across Australia and around the big wide world, offering serious shout outs to growers that follow the same green ethos as One Penny Red. If you’re like the majority of us and find your wine list excitement often coupled with a little bit of ‘what if I choose the wrong wine’ freak out, Co-Owner David is also at the ready to answer any questions and may even let you have a sneaky taste of the latest specialty on offer.
This is a dining experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Expect good quality food in a setting that can take your date night, friends night or Monday failing-to-adult night to the next level.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso