Saturday, September 07, 2013

Sepia, Sydney

Sepia is one of those restaurants that has been on my wish list for well over a year. I had been saving it for a special occasion but then decided to be opportunistic instead and took the chance for a midweek meal while I was in town for uni earlier this week. Who said one needed an excuse to eat well?

At the time I made the reservation to dine at Sepia it was already rated as one of the top restaurants in the country with three hats against it's name. And then in the most wonderful of all coincidences, the night before my reservation Sepia went on to win 2014 SMH Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year award! Oh happy days (for Sepia as well as me)!

Sepia exudes a feeling of grandeur and elegance from the minute you step in through the big double doors. The impressive wine bar at the entrance divides the restaurant into two seperate sections. The colour scheme is understated yet opulent. Interestingly, seating is a mix of straight back chairs as well as couches and there are no signs of crisp white table clothes that you would expect from a restaurant of this caliber. Not a criticism; just an observation.

My dining companion and I decided on the seasonal four course menu ($135pp) as our midweek indulgence. The service was exceptionally refined yet with a tone of informality to it, which suited the overall vibe of the restaurant.

First up was a warm sourdough roll with the most perfect glistening ball of butter I have ever seen in my life. It tasted as amazing as it looked. Yes it's just butter but not butter as you know it.

Next up was an amuse bouche of a little ball of happiness. This smoked trout consommé with an eggplant purée was an exquisite work of art that was almost too pretty to eat. 

My first course was sashimi of southern bluefin tuna, steamed Japanese omelette, white soy, dashi onion cream, puffed buckwheat, green apple and wasabi. This is the best sashimi I have had in my life and was one of the highlights of my meal! The combination of the tuna with the creamiest of creamy omelette was just heaven on a plate.

Second course of winter bonito with flavours of roasted chicken, umeboshi, upland cress, green tea and nori had me going wow with each mouthful. Sashimi with flavours of roasted chicken? What an incredibly innnovative idea! This dish was full of complex flavours that was a perfect marriage and something I won't forget for a long time to come.

When this beautiful creation arrived at our table I was confused as I hadn't ordered it. But it turned out to be a complimentary course which was incredible considering the portion size was as big as those of the normal courses. I can't remember exactly what the other components were in this marron tail but it was tender, creamy and melted in my mouth.

By the time my next course of seared rolled David Blackmore wagyu beef with chestnut mushroom, roasted red onion juice wasabi, fried potato and kombu crumb and citrus soy arrived I was well and truly approaching a food coma. But how could I not lick my plate clean when this succulent wagyu beef was placed in front of me? The different textures and the flavours of the dish complimented the beef perfectly and let it truly shine. Another highlight of the meal.

And then it was time for pre-dessert and this intriguing looking dish of lime butter with sheep's milk sorbet, olive and fennel dusting and gingerbread crumbs arrived. Just wow! Again, it was more than a generous serving making this a course of it's own and the flavours were just heavenly. It cleansed my palette perfectly and the cool taste of the sorbet with the richness of the butter, the tang of the lime and the spiciness of the ginger and fennel made this one of the best desserts I've had recently.

And then along came the “Winter chocolate forest” and I had to try very hard to hold back my squeals of delight. This chocolate forest is made up of soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond praline, orange and thyme cream, sour cherry, sorbet cocoa brandy jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs and crystallised fennel fronds. How's that for a list of components to this exquisite looking creation? This actually wasn't part of the seasonal four course menu but I had my heart set on trying this so upon enquiring at the time of ordering if we could replace the desserts on the four course menu with this, our waiter was only too obliging to let me have my wish. That's what I call fine dining of the finest kind. Not only was this winter chocolate forest picture perfect, it was all kinds of amazing when it came to taste. So many components, flavours and textures each worked in perfect harmony to have a little party in my mouth (and belly).

So the verdict: Sepia was incredible on every level. I went with very high expectations and wasn't disappointed for a second. Each and every dish truly blew me away and considering that the four course seasonal menu ended up being the equivalent of seven courses, this was also incredible value for fine dining. Sepia truly deserves it's 2014 Restaurant of the Year accolade and I'm putting this down in the top three dining experiences of my life, slightly behind Tetsuya's and slightly in front of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Such was how perfect my experience at Sepia was!

Sepia on Urbanspoon


  1. Absolutely loved Sepia, I actually enjoyed it a lot more than Tetsuya's and agree that every dish was incredible - they truly deserve the restaurant of the year title!

  2. Dear god, that is the most perfect quenelle of sorbet that I've ever seen. How beautiful!