Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sepia, Sydney CBD

Sepia is one of the three hatted restaurants that had caught my eye after reading raving reviews from numerous bloggers as well as critics. So naturally, it was an easy decision to make a dining reservation here a week prior in order to celebrate my younger sister’s 19th birthday accordingly. I wanted her to have a wonderful time to call her first fine dining experience!

The interior d├ęcor itself is very contemporary and quite dark. Quite the atmosphere for a date night I say. It was an easy decision to choose the spring set menu as there were two options per course, which meant between the both of us, we could try eight dishes all together for $140 per person! Too perfect.
Bread & butter
We were served bread and we ooh’d and aah’d over the perfect sphere of butter. It’s so round!
Amuse bouche
The amuse bouche was a jelly of sorts with little bursts of fish roe, all sitting on eggplant puree. Can’t say I was the biggest of fans of the flavour but I can appreciate the technicality of the dish.
Sashimi of Big Eye tuna, steamed Japanese omelette, white soy, apple and sheep yogurt cream, puffed buckwheat, wasabi
The first dish was the sashimi of big eye tuna. Normally, my favourite kind of sashimi would have to be salmon, but this slice of tuna was beautiful. It was cut wonderfully thin so that it almost dissolved on the tongue with the sweetness from the white soy, apple and sheep yogurt cream. Whilst I did love those elements along with the textural addition of puffed buckwheat and slight kick of wasabi, I cannot say I loved the steamed Japanese omelette that the tuna sat on top of. I would’ve preferred it if it was just plain egg, as opposed to the strange mix of flavours in this omelette that didn’t sit quite as well with me.
Poached Scarlet prawns, shiso jelly, cauliflower miso, rye, smoked salmon roe
This poached prawns dish blew me away by both its prettiness and flavour. I never knew prawns could be cooked to that level of tenderness. The cauliflower miso that the prawns were bathed in was spectacular in every way and the cubes of shiso jelly along with the surprise burst of saltiness from the little beads of salmon roe when you managed to spoon some altogether really united all the components.
Miso black cod smoked over Japanese charcoal, nori, wasabi rice vinegar, tonburi, artichoke, tree spinach
When this dish was served, the elaborate deep-fried paper-thin wafers of nori definitely made an impression. Don’t they look gorgeously crispy? These delicate morsels lived up to expectations that it would simply fragment into tiny pieces upon touch and melted on the tongue. The smokiness of the miso black cod definitely shone through with its fragrant charcoal essence and flaked beautifully as it was cut into. The creaminess of the artichoke puree really offset the  sweet acidity of the wasabi rice vinegar surrounding the miso cod.

Bonito, flavours of roasted chicken, umeboshi, upland cress, green tea, nori
I wasn’t quite expecting a bonito piece that was quite this slender but I could see why when I dug my fork into it and it just pulled away like it was butter. It was a trippy course to eat. It had the texture of sashimi but it tasted like chicken. The sprinkling of green tea powder also added a slight bitterness that was welcome to the tastebuds when eaten with the slightly tart umeboshi cream on the side. Very enjoyable to eat!

New Zealand Scampi cooked over charcoal, peas, shellfish mousse, sudachi, shiso caramel, shellfish powder
Scampi was something that I was looking forward to as it was not a shellfish I had eaten yet. It had a texture not unlike prawn or lobster, and rather reminiscent of a mix between the two. Whilst the shellfish mousse was interesting (I love how they make purees and mousses out of everything here), I cannot say I am a fan of the strong fishy flavour that it encompassed and preferred eating it without. The shiso caramel was powerfully sharp, though it was a shock that was not unwelcome and the citrus flavour was enjoyed quite thoroughly in smaller quantities.

Seared rolled David Blackmore wagyu beef, chestnut mushroom, roasted red onion juice, wasabi fried potato and kombu crumb, citrus soy
I love nothing more than a piece of perfectly cooked beef and this was just so. The wagyu beef was sliced ever so thin and then rolled up so the outer could be seared yet the centre remained medium rare. Scattered amongst the kombu crumbs were morsels of chestnut mushrooms which were gratifyingly juicy. The wasabi fried potato was converted into a puree that was silky smooth and I couldn’t help but lay it on top of every bite of the beef along with the citrus soy for that hint of tartness.

Pre-dessert
This pre-dessert in the shape of a mountain really reminded me of Christmas! Don’t you think it looks like snow? Though I have to say it was the combination of gingerbread crumbs and green herb that looked like a Christmas tree that really gave me that idea. In the midst of all that powder was a tangy lemon sorbet to cleanse our palettes in preparation for our next dessert course. Dessert stomach space activate!

Caramelised apple, house made clotted cream, malted meringues, salted buckwheat toffee, muscovado blackcurrant and sorrel leaves
Ah, this contemporised version of apple pie was quite nice. Presentation was stunning and it instantly reminded me of a forest, no? The caramelised apple pieces were extremely soft and so sweet that it was almost too sweet, but the clotted cream and salted buckwheat toffee really pulled it down a notch.

Frozen strawberry, champagne chiboust, alpine strawberry jelly, strawberry sherbet, pistachio
But out of the two desserts, this one really won me over. I would have to say it was the dish of the night! I was wondering how they managed to de-seed the strawberries and hollow them out at the same time so that they could be filled with the champagne cream. It really just blew my mind thinking about it. So crafty of Sepia! Everything from the strawberry jelly and sherbet to the strawberries and pistachio crumbs was just so fabulous and melded together so well that my tastebuds were doing a happy dance. What an outstanding way to end our meal.


All in all, most of the dishes were executed pretty much perfectly and I was impressed with our four course meal. My sister was very happy dining at Sepia and it surpassed her expectations – her enjoyment was all I could ask for!

Sepia Restaurant
201 Sussex St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Dinner Tuesday - Saturday from 6:00 pm.
Lunch Friday & Saturday from 12:00 noon

Sepia on Urbanspoon

20 comments:

  1. We loved our meals at Sepia too! They are so creative and they are so gentle with the ingredients too allowing them to shine :D Glad your sister liked it too!

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    1. They really do let the natural flavours shine! Incredibly joyful to eat everything there :D

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  2. The degree of ingenuity behind Sepia chef Martin Benn is incredible. Expect to go in being wowed. Sepia remains the fine diner to beat in my opinion. Everything's just so amazing.

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    1. I was wowed throughout the entire four courses - in both presentation and taste!

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  3. ive been wanting to visit this place for the longest time! the photos look amazing tho!

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    1. You must go! I find the four course menu to be insanely good value as if you order a three course meal a la carte, it's pretty much the same price!

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  4. Sepia is amazing. I was lucky enough to eat there for my birthday last year!

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  5. sounds like an amazing meal! beautiful presentations and that apple pie dessert sounds incredible

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    1. I think I just love apple pie anything in general!

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  6. I saw a video of someone cracking open the frozen strawberry. So amazing! Will have to return soon to try them myself!

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    1. The frozen strawberry is such an ingenious idea I was in a state of wow the entire time whilst I was eating it! Ooh, I must find this video to relive the experience :P

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  7. Dear Sherrie,

    The food is pretty cutting edge and great for photos. They have come up with some interesting dishes that's been the talk of the town.

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    1. They're plated beautifully aren't they? I have to say, the chef really handles all the produce with care and that's why a lot of the dishes are so fantastic!

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  8. I love their presentation! This is one of my list to eat, but I haven't had the chance to go there yet. Hopefully soon :P

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    1. It was almost too pretty to eat! Key word: almost. It just smelled too delicious :D

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  9. love the presentation of all the dishes! i haven't been but can't wait to go and taste their amazing dishes!

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    1. Very beautiful isn't it? And so incredibly cutting edge! Their dishes are well worth the rave :)

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  10. been wanting to try this out for so long. heard lots of good reviews :)

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