It's 3 and a half years since ex-Tetsuya head chef Martin Benn colaborated with George Costi from De Costi Seafoods to form Sepia. It's evidently a match made in heaven; Benn's very Japanese grounding (being obviously a very seafood driven cuisine) and a reputable seafood entrepreneur in Costi. It has since gone to receive glowing reviews and has been at the forefront of Sydney's gastronomic attention.
It's quite an impressive although not entirely unique space. It seems like to would attract the corporate audience more so than any other with it's location at Sussex, the some what intrusive jazz soundtrack and a classic design that typifies any luxe olden day fine diner.
We went all out. I don't think there's anytime that I'm with A that we don't do a degustation. It's 160 for a degustation, 130 for a 4 course menu or you can go A la carte but it's not everyday that we find ourselves at Sepia so why not?
|Sydney Rock Oysters 5 ea|
We were fascinated by the perfectly formed sphere of butter that made its way onto our table. Bread was good; crusty outside and pillowy insides.
Sashimi Tuna, seared smoked ocean trout, poached banana prawn
|Butter poached Port Lincoln squid, barley miso cured egg yolk, lemon, wild woodland sorrel|
|New Zealand scampi cooked over Japanese charcoal, sudachi lime, shellfish mousse, Japanese land seaweed|
|Charcoal smoked freshwater eel, yuzu curd, toasted almonds, tapioca, licorice, watercress and nasturtium|
|South Australian lamb, goat cheese and sake kuzu dumplings, fennel cream, black olive, miso vinagrette, fennel molasses|
|Seared rolled David Blackmore wagyu beef, chestnut mushroom, roasted red onion juice|
wasabi, fried potato and kombu crumb, citrus soy
|Saint Agur and mascarpone cheese, crystallised macadamia, celery cress, roasted chicory granita 15 supplement|
|Sherbet, strawberry, chocolate|
|"Summer chocolate forest"|
Soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond praline, rose geranium cream, sour cherry sorbet,
blueberry jellies, green tea, liqorice, chocolate twigs, crystallised fennel fronds
|Blueberry, vanilla caramel, brick pastry, blueberry jelly, cinnamon custard, candied orange zest, sugared almonds|
frozen creme fraiche
|Japanese Stones 32|
It's not the first time I went to Sepia. I think it was a year and a half ago before it received it's third hat in 2012 that I first tried Sepia and since then, the menu has changed substantially. It's exciting what they have going on and besides their highly raved Chocolate Forest that I don't think should ever be removed and their spanner crab risotto on the A la Carte, everything else is different. There's so much innovation going on and it's really evident on their Saturday's degustation where every dish is different to the previous week.
A Japanese-like respect for presentation and elegance in flavour, imagination and fun meeting control and restraint and the use of molecular gastronomy so subtle that it's to only lift ideas rather than dominate ingredients with its spectacle; this is the epitome of what Sydney fine dining has to offer. They're at the top of their game but I believe they can go even higher.
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