Friday, May 24, 2013

Degustation @ Sepia

On my birthday this year, Daz decided to take me somewhere special to celebrate and as Quay is booked way in advanced, he decided to go with the supposed second best restaurant in Sydney, which is Sepia... having booked only a few weeks in advanced for a Friday night, we only managed to get a table at the bar/lounge area

Entering the restaurant, I immediately realised how attentive the usher and maitre'd were... the restaurant was elegant and yet not intimidating which meant that I felt comfortable and cosy in it... the table although not exactly a proper dining table was comfy and so I didn't mind it but I can tell why some others would be annoyed to still be paying full price for sub-par seats...

Sashimi tuna, seared smoked ocean trout
and poached banana prawn
The first dish came and it was sushi nigiri, made of sashimi tuna, seared smoked ocean trout and poached banana prawn... rice puffs were placed above the sashimis, so instead of cooked sushi rice in normal sushis there were dry rice puffs above the fish pieces... the fish were fresh as you would expect... now that is the beginning of the problem really... you enter a 3 chef hat restaurant that has won numerous awards and you expect to be absolutely blown away, therefore the pre-requisite of seafood to be fresh is a must... there were grains of green powder smeared on the sushi, which I am guessing to be green tea powder as it tasted a bit bitter... there was also drops of gel that was sweet and tangy... can't tell what they were... now that is the beginning of a good degustation as you begin to taste things that you have never tasted and have no idea what they are!

The next dish butter poached Port Lincoln squid, barley miso cured egg yolk, lemon, wild woodland sorrel... that's a mouthful... again this tasted like not many things I have tasted... the lemon made it tangy... sorrel is a herb that in large quantities can be fatal! Not a commonly used herb in cooking and interesting in that it gives a sharp taste that is due to the poison oxalic acid...
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

 The next dish was scampi cooked over Japanese charcoal, sudachi lime, shellfish mousse and seaweed.  What's so special about Japanese charcoal you may ask... it is a prized charcoal by chefs as it is a very pure high carbon charcoal made from oak and because it is odourless, it allows food to be charred and yet retain its original flavour. Sudashi lime is a Japanese citrus fruit that is often used as a substitute for vinegar... this dish has a special citrus taste which made it quite memorable :)

Charcoal smoked freshwater eel, yuzu curd,
fresh pistachio, tapioca, licorice, nasturtium flowers and seaweed

The next dish was charcoal  smoked freshwater eel, yuzu curd with fresh pistachio, tapioca, licorice, nasturtium flowers and seaweed. At this point, you must be wondering why the chefs had not just made a name for each of these creations instead of just naming the ingredients. What I loved about this place is that the dishes are a product of great passion for creating dishes as the chefs sourced and experimented with combining many different unique ingredients and the result of many trials and errors resulted in some very wonderfully flavoured dishes. This one was no exception. Yuzu is another Japanese citrus fruit and the curd was like a lemon flavoured mayonnaise if I really had to find a similar thing to compare it to. The nasturtium flowers were amazing an ingredient as it made the dish very fragrant and to be eating a flower is quite an experience. I am always a big fan of eel so to have it cooked in such a different way was great. 


The next dish that was served to us wasn't what was on the degustation menu. At the time when we were eating it, we had not realised that. It was meant to be lamb, goat cheese and sake kuzu dumplings, fennel cream, black olive, miso vinaigratte, fennel molasses. However, it turned out to be a seafood broth/soup, which I unfortunately do not know about. Now that I think about it, I feel a bit ripped off. Especially because the following meat dish was the best of all the dishes so looks like we missed out on a very good lamb dish!

Seared rolled David Blackman wagyu beef,
chestnut mushroom, roasted red onion
juice, wasabi fried potato and kombu crumb
citrus soy

The final dish was definitely our favourite, partly because Daz is a meat eater more than anything else. I remember Daz saying he thought it was the best beef he has had in Australia. Probably true but you know how people are when they have short memories and how your current girlfriend/boyfriend is the best because you are with him or her at the moment hehe...

This dish I must say was memorable... the beef was very tender... the flavour was amazing... the portion could definitely have been doubled! Overall, I was quite satiated by the end of the courses, however Daz being a guy that can eat 1kg of steak, the portions were not big enough for him and he even joked of having McDonald's after but of course, we wouldn't insult this glorious food with that hahaha

Done with the savoury, came the sweets! We had a pre-dessert, which I honestly think is unnecessary because I can't even remember what it is and can only remember the main dessert... nevertheless, it was a nice gesture... It was a kind of cake... It must have been! I honestly have no recollection of what it was haha

"Summer chocolate forest"
Soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond praline, orange and thyme  cream
sour cherry sorbet, native fingerlime green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs
crystallised fennel fronds

When my main dessert came, it was special because they have realised it was my birthday and so there was a candle and writing on the plate... the dessert was absolutely delicious! I was very happy to substitute it for a birthday cake... the combination of sweet and sour, hot and cold and very well done... divine :)


Food: Delicious, innovative... divine

Ambience: Relaxed, yet elegant and not pretentious

Value: A special dinner for a special price, well worth the experience although portions could be larger

Nutritional value: Fresh ingredients, seafood, meat and many exotic Japanese ingredients used... food was light and even dessert wasn't too rich

Overall: Dazzling & Deelicious!!!!

Sepia on Urbanspoon

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