Sepia, Sydney CBD

Whenever someone asks me for my favourite restaurant in Sydney, it is Sepia that I reply them with. The first time I dined at Sepia was more than two years ago and the overall experience from food to service was mindblowingly amazing. Winning multiple awards and being titled Restaurant of the Year and awarded three chef hats by SMH Good Food Guide 2014, Sepia offers either a four course ($150 pp) or a degustation menu ($180pp) and this time, we decided to go all out on the degustation menu. The amuse bouche was a tuna sashimi and goats cheese mousse on a tempura oba leaf. It was creamy but light as the goats cheese was served in mousse form, contrasting with the crunch of the oba leaf, we were off to a great start. Photo 18-07-2014 12 44 35 pm We thought it was a bit repetitive with both the amuse bouche and the next course consisting of Sashimi of Yellow Fin tuna; and similarly to the goats cheese mousse, the Jamon Iberico cream added some creaminess and saltiness. I loved how this was offset by the refreshing Hatsuka radish, apple and wasabi. The little nibs of umami-packed pork crackling was just what I needed to juxtapose the softness of the tuna sashimi. Photo 18-07-2014 12 45 00 pm   The house made chèvre was very creamy in texture but subtly tangy, with flavours mostly coming from the earthiness of the beetroot, tartness of the rhubarbrye crumble and beautiful native violets. The crumble by itself was a bit dry but mixed through with the rhubarb jelly and creamy chevre, it was a wonderful dish of textures and mostly sweet flavours. Photo 18-07-2014 12 45 23 pmPhoto 18-07-2014 12 45 49 pm One of the standout dishes of the night was the beautiful butter poached King George whiting.lardo, kombu, wasabi. It looked so simple but was actually full of flavour from the smoked pancetta, and a puree of white carrot and yuzu. It was my first time trying lardo and its texture was similar to extremely tender squid. I was so content with this dish but to top it all off, it also came with a delicate crisp of fish skin sprinkled with wasabi salt. It was so addictive, I wanted more! Photo 18-07-2014 12 46 30 pm   Photo 18-07-2014 12 46 07 pm All of Sepia’s dishes were exceptionally fragrant, and the Tasmanian black truffle that was shaved over the scampi grilled over charcoal was even more so. The flavour of the truffle was not as apparent as its scent, but I was all kinds of happy with such a succulent and plump piece of scampi. Another favourite of the night! Photo 18-07-2014 12 46 55 pm I was so pleased with everything that I had totally forgotten that we weren’t even served bread. The Japanese milk bread was served after all the seafood and before the meat dishes. Stupid me didn’t take a photo of the bread and butter because how good could bread be? But I was so wrong. The milk bread was served hot, pillowy soft and sweetly fragrant. Not long after came the charcoal grilled David Blackmore wagyu karubi which was slow cooked so that it was not too soft nor too chewy. The miso mustard was surprising as I was expecting the mustard to be overpowering but the miso flavour actually more discernible with only a slight kick of heat. It wasn’t necessary but I also loved the crunchy Japanese pickles and crispy ice plant.  Photo 18-07-2014 12 48 07 pm I’ve only ever tried venison once before and because it was not so pleasant, I never ordered venison again. But this last savoury dish was exceptional, amazing, remarkable! Being a lean piece of meat, I was surprised how tender the seared Mandagery Creek venison was. Photo 18-07-2014 12 51 13 pm It was accompanied by caramelised Jerusalem artichoke and sasho pepper but what we were really interested in was whether the leaves on the plate were also edible.To our surprise, the handcrafted leaves were not only edible but oh so delicious! The orange one was made of pumpkin but reminded me more of sweet potato. It gave such a delicate crunch and there was so much flavour in such a thin crisp. The red one was made of raspberry with lovely tartness that complemented the venison very well. Photo 18-07-2014 12 51 45 pm Photo 18-07-2014 12 55 21 pm Finally, it was time for the sweets! The pre-dessert was a goats milk sorbet, olive and fennel dusting, gingerbread crumbs and yuzu butter. It was refreshing and had a bit of everything – sweet, salty, sour and even a slight bitterness. Photo 18-07-2014 12 55 40 pm And Sepia’s signature dessert, the Winter Chocolate Forest, consisting of soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond praline, lavender and honey cream, blackberry sorbet, caramel and shiso vinegar jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs and crystallised fennel fronds. It was a decadent dessert with lots of complex textures and flavours but would’ve been even better if the quenelle of blackberry sorbet was bigger so there was enough to go with every spoon of the rest of the “forest”. Photo 19-07-2014 10 03 57 pm   Photo 19-07-2014 10 08 15 pm Not only was the food exceptional, their service was also excellent. My friend asked for some ice to add into her glass of water as she likes her water cold. During the night, the waiter automatically brought out a new glass of ice when he noticed the ice was melted. It’s the attention to detail that makes dining at Sepia such an experience and another impressive meal means that Sepia remains my favourite restaurant in Sydney!

- C

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