the slow spiral of joy at Sepia

I admit it, it was a mistake to not dine at hatted Sepia for all these years, a mistake I have thankfully now remedied, only seven years late! I remember a vague sense that a restaurant located in the towers of IT and accounting would be all business suited and boring and not worth my bother. Whether that was ever true or not, it was irrelevant, and in the meantime I missed out on some wonderful dining.

Running late for the splendidly three hatted Sepia

This is fine dining with a cheeky joyous edge. Polished service professionals with quirky personalities are happy to chat about the most unusual aspects behind the dishes. And the dishes themselves do not disappoint. Whilst I was a very late arrival, battling a monsoon with a taxi driver determined to take every wrong turn, my dining companions made an excellent decision to start with the oysters. Oysters are a wonderful introduction to the trio of succulent seafood to come.  There is a smooth shiny ball of salmon, the prawn translucent through it’s barely there dumpling skin, and the kingfish delightful with its crunchy nori and dashi jelly.

Sepia - Oysters
Sepia – Oysters
Sepia, saikou salmon, smoked roe, sudachi, chrysanthemum
Sepia, saikou salmon, smoked roe, sudachi, chrysanthemum
Sepia, smoked scales prawn, pickled daikon, shiso
Sepia, smoked scales prawn, pickled daikon, shiso
hiramasa kingfish, dashi cream, tatami iwashi, nori, dashi jelly
hiramasa kingfish, dashi cream, tatami iwashi, nori, dashi jelly

Four more hero seafood dishes

Sepia’s strong Japanese influence shows in the wonderful range and variety of seafood on the menu. The spanner crab is the prettiest dish, all white and green flowers and dusting of pea across the top. Scallops are a constant favourite of mine and the addition of the “scallop crackling” is a masterstroke, a very grown-up version of a prawn cracker. The abalone is not to everyone’s taste but certainly to mine in a rich, meaty dish. And a classic bonito with caviar is perfection in indulgence.

Sepia, spanner crab, sake vinegar jelly, brown butter emulsion, pea and horseradish
Sepia, spanner crab, sake vinegar jelly, brown butter emulsion, pea and horseradish
Sepia, sea scallop, macadamia nut cream, quail egg, umeboshi, scallop crackling, linaria
Sepia, sea scallop, macadamia nut cream, quail egg, umeboshi, scallop crackling, linaria
Charcoal grilled black lip abalone, sea vegetables, dashi cream, lardo, mitsuba, cabbage, wakame oil
Charcoal grilled black lip abalone, sea vegetables, dashi cream, lardo, mitsuba, cabbage, wakame oil
Bonito, roasted chicken cream, smoked soy, caviar
Bonito, roasted chicken cream, smoked soy, caviar

Moving into the meatier part of the menu

The complementary palate cleanser is a boon, as there is still a lot of menu to come. It’s the season for truffle, and Sepia pairs beautiful shavings with rich jerusalem artichoke and miso. The duck is a tiny slice of perfection, and the charcoal grilled wagyu is a fantasy forest on a plate. All this richness is filling me up fast.

palate cleanser
palate cleanser
Jerusalem artichoke, miso, Tasmanian truffle
Jerusalem artichoke, miso, Tasmanian truffle
Sepia, Roasted Aylesbury duck breast, lemon aspen, sheep yoghurt, mulberry vinegar, sorrel
Sepia, Roasted Aylesbury duck breast, lemon aspen, sheep yoghurt, mulberry vinegar, sorrel
Sepia, Charcoal grilled David Blackmore wagyu, roasted onion and mustard, nameko mushroom, shiso
Sepia, Charcoal grilled David Blackmore wagyu, roasted onion and mustard, nameko mushroom, shiso

 

Sweet satisfaction at Sepia

In spite of feeling well satiated by this stage, we can’t refuse the fabulously created Comte (cheese) pear. This wonderful piece of tasty trickery is an optional extra on the menu, and not one we’re going to turn down.

We nickname the two chocolatey treats the “summer” one and the “winter one. Summer is like a fantasy bowl of chocolate treats, and winter is like the worlds most delicious forest floor. Although both are perhaps too much after our lovely comte surprise.

Sepia, comte, pear jelly, roasted endive, fried walnuts, plum, celery
Sepia, comte, pear jelly, roasted endive, fried walnuts, plum, celery
Sepia, chocolate, caramelised apple cream, artichoke, blackcurrant, cocoa nib, pecan brittle
Sepia, chocolate, caramelised apple cream, artichoke, blackcurrant, cocoa nib, pecan brittle
Winter chocolate forest, soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond, violet crumble cream, blackberry sorbet, verjus and lemon balm jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs, bronze fennel, native violet
Winter chocolate forest, soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond, violet crumble cream, blackberry sorbet, verjus and lemon balm jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs, bronze fennel, native violet

Idiosyncratic drinks make an intriguing matching drinks list. Fresh and tasty sake and the japanese wine (a bit pinot grigio-like) are highlights. The christmas cake smelling madeira is much less sweet than it smells, and the “pear” Granit a wine tasting of cider. It is a nicely paced long night of eating and drinking.

matching drinks list for our chefs menu at Sepia
matching drinks list for our chefs menu at Sepia

I was so wrong about Sepia, how about you, have you been or want to go?

Best bits: Is it too cliche to say “everything”!

Worst bits: The worst I came up with was that their promised “half glasses” of the wine matching menu were far more generous than that, I had a bit of an unwanted headache the next morning.

Where am I?

Sepia Restaurant

241-249 Sussex St, Sydney 2000, Australia

Vicki P Written by:

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