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Sepia, Sydney CBD

Ah fine dining. It’s my most expensive vice, reserved for special occasions, this time it’s for a belated Valentines (yes I celebrate Valentines and yes I realise it’s now June please don’t remind me of the ridiculous backlog of posts I need to make, just please) I’m a huge fan of the degustation, and the one at Sepia is nine courses at $175pp which is dear but the gastronomical experience is so worth it.

Ox cheek consommé and ox cheek gel with daikon radish

The amuse bouche was a delicate pairing of chilled ox cheek consommé and a roulade of cheek consommé and daikon radish. We were handed these dainty wooden spoons to use, practically useless for scooping liquids. It was a bit unnerving as the waiter stood watching me use my finger to move the last piece of daikon into my spoon. But I get that he just wanted to remove my plate as soon as I had finished with it.

"Sushi nigiri" - Sashimi tuna, seared smoked ocean trout, poached banana prawn

This is actually a photo of Ash’s dish with the banana prawn having been replaced with an omelette, garnished with puffed sushi rice.

Butter poached Port Lincoln squid, barley miso cured egg yolk, yuzu, sorrel

Having tried this butter poached squid, I can now gladly insist you do too. The piece of squid separated into little tender ringlets and egg yolk has been fashioned into rings that melt upon contact with your tongue.

Another of Ash's dishes

Ash’s replacement dish looked absolutely stunning and alas I couldn’t keep food envy at bay, it didn’t help that he told me it was insanely good.

Bonito, flavours of roasted chicken, umeboshi, upland cress, green tea, nori

Somehow, a strip of melt-in-your-mouth (seems to be a running theme here) bonito tastes more like chicken. Served with crispy roasted chicken skin this is also another dish I could happily have over and over again.

Complimentary dish: House made chevre, rhubarb, beetroot, rye, Linaria flowers

We’re surprised with a complimentary dish because we’ve really had a lot of food by this stage. Even with the tangy chevre and nutty rhubarb and rye powder blend, the beetroot puree made this quite a sweet dish, I wasn’t as smitten with it as Ash. I liked the combination of gritty and smooth texture but the sweetness just didn’t agree with me.

Grilled miso black cod, bitter lemon cream, baby gems, candied lemon aspen, pickled myoga 

Ash had different dishes at times when I had pork or shellfish and let me tell you, some of them exceeded mine in taste. Like this grilled black cod. It was smoky, rich and succulent, there definitely wasn’t enough of it.

Spanner crab and egg yolk rice, tarragon, Japanese land seaweed

Nevertheless, even though the taste of my spanner crab was overpowered by the creamy egg yolk rice, it contrasted with plenty of puffed sushi rice.

And a bread intermission

Butter ball.

Seared rolled David Blackmore wagyu beef, chestnut mushroom, roasted red onion juice, oba leaf fried potato and kombu crumb, citrus soy

Goodness this was delicious. But I’ll save some time and to sum this up I’d say it was a slice of perfectly seared wagyu meets a caramelised soy ketchup meets intense roasted onion flavours throughout .

Seared Mandagery venison, Boudin noir, chocolate crumb, coconut yoghurt, blackcurrant, shichimi pepper

The venison steak was gorgeously soft, the slightly bitter chocolate and Boudin noir blood sausage crumble were muted by the coconut yoghurt.

Ash's replacement venison dish

 

Pre dessert - Yuzu sorbet, olive and fennel dusting, gingerbread crumbs and lime butter.

The yuzu sorbet was so refreshing.  The olive and fennel dusting was like superfine, recently fallen snow above a curd-like, tart, lime butter.  I think Martin Benn has crafted a wonderful creation of savoury/sweet that cleanses the palate in this pre dessert.

Summer chocolate forest - soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond praline, lavender and honey cream, sour cherry sorbet, rose and violet jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs, crystallised fennel fronds

This insanely complex dessert had us bowling over ourselves, it’s an edible forest with a bunch of floral accents and a kick-arse sour cherry sorbet,  it still remains intensely chocolatey and looks bloody incredible. This is going to sound completely wanky but eating this, I really was transported to a forest with leaves and twigs crunching underfoot. (when proofreading this, Ash said: “You’ve obviously never been camping before” Oh he’s such a comedian.)

Japanese stones $38

During research for Sepia, I was dead set on having the famed Japanese stones. This dish is no longer on the menu but I heard that it’s available upon request. They look like smooth pebbles…

But what you have is a  lottery of sour cherry, passionfruit and chocolate fillings in charcoal-powdered stones.  My absolute favourite were the sour cherry and passionfruit ones, I hate to admit it but I was quite chocolate-d out by our degustation dessert and so didn’t take to the chocolate-filled ones as much, which is my fault entirely.

Marco Polo tea

$8 for a macchiato and $11 for tea is extortionate, and sneaky when I wasn’t told about these additional charges, factor in that we were having the degustation, but I didn’t let it ruin the entire evening for me. I enjoyed as much of my overpriced Marco Polo (similar to earl grey) as I could.

Petit fours: mint choc

Accommodating service and fantastic food. Sepia, you made an evening wonderfully memorable.

Sepia on Urbanspoon

Opening hours

Sun & Mon: CLOSED

Tues, Wed & Thurs: 6pm to 11:30pm

Fri & Sat: 12pm to 11pm

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