Sydney’s newest premium steakhouse has opened at the site near where the first cattle to stepped foot in the fledgling city, as part of a $32 million redevelopment of the Campbell’s Stores.
The place where the first cattle stepped hoof in Sydney in 1788 — before they went missing — has become the city’s new premium steakhouse.
6HEAD, named in honour of those six bovines who it was discovered years later had made their way to the Nepean Valley with, opened in the historic Campbell’s Stores building on Tuesday.
L to R: 6HEAD restaurant designer Calli Van Der Merwe, executive chef Sean Hall and somelier Ben Preston. | Image John Appleyard
The restaurant, located in a an almost 200-year-old building at Campbell’s Cove, overlooks the water with views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Despite its prestigious spot, executive chef Sean Hall said he wants customers to feel as if they were “sitting around the dinner table” at home.
“We want to be different,” Mr Hall said, who was the group executive for Jamie Oliver’s Australian ventures. “We want to put a steak on the table at a price that’s accessible to the public.
The new restaurant is in a preserved 1839 heritage sandstone building at Campbell’s Cove, the Rocks. | Image John Appleyard
Inside at the bar. | Image John Appleyard
It features several dining areas. | Image John Appleyard
“We don’t want to be a destination restaurant where you come once a year, we want people to be able to come here once a week or once a month.”
It is one of the first venues in a new dining precinct emerging in the three-storey heritage precinct, which has undergone a $32 million remediation in recent years.
The Campbell’s Stores were built in 1839.
Somelier Ben Preston said the wine list was chosen with a focus on the Sydney market. | Image John Appleyard
“It’s been a thrill to create something from conception to reality,” beverage manager Ben Preston said.
“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to be the first restaurant here as well.”
Award-winning architect Callie Van Der Merwe’s design has incorporated nautical and agricultural influences. It features a bar carved of wood.
He said it had been a “steep learning curve” working in such an old building constructed “in a time before spirit levels and laser levels”.
“Nothing is horizontal or plumb,” he said. “Everything is handmade and almost everything was crafted on the site rather than in a factory.”
The menu features a mix of seafood, chargrilled quail, a mushroom and leak pie and beef, including the dry aged wagyu and bone marrow burger and steaks so tender you could cut through them with a spoon.
It has an extensive wine list mixing Australian favourites with some of the best drops from overseas, plus a few cocktails and a solid beer menu.
The braised short rib croquets. | Image John Appleyard
Central Sydney was given a two-course meal of the braised short rib croquettes and the 300g rib eye steak with a side of dripping potatoes.
The croquettes were served three across with aged parmesan, herbs, beetroot powder and nduja aioli.
Simple but fantastic flavours, and a near perfect start to the meal. The crumbed outer had a nice crunch to it and the braised rib inside was tender.
300g wagyu rib-eye steak with beef dripping potatoes and peppercorn sauce. | Image John Appleyard
Next came the rib-eye — served medium rare with peppercorn sauce.
It barely took the knife to press down on the meat before it began to separate, revealing a perfectly cooked centre.
It was melt-in-your-mouth good, and would get the seal of approval from any lover of steak.
The crispy potatoes came with the fat drippings from beef, adding an extra kick to the dish.
Overall, the presentation was great and the service excellent. Central Sydney would definitely be coming back.