Sepia Restaurant, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

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Whenever this name is spoken of, everyone who loves fine dining in Sydney will definitely know of it, Sepia. Sepia is one of the most outstanding fine dining restaurants in Australia. The restaurant is located right in the middle of Sydney’s central business district, Darling Park Tower. Sepia is nonetheless to the majestic Quay. They have received many awards and one of them is the restaurant of 2014 by Australia Gourmet Traveler magazine. The cuisine here is Japanese inspired Australian. You can smell a hint of Japanese in almost every one of their dish but it doesn’t overcome a scent of Aussie. In fact, they combine together excellently. The person behind the success of Sepia is Chef Martin Benn. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to meet Chef Martin in person but he surprised me by his super special gifts (extra dishes out of the course). I saw him come out of the kitchen to look over the restaurant and then rushed back in to perform his magic in the busy kitchen.

Staffs were all polite and knowledgeable but they were not friendly and they spoke way too fast when giving explanations to each dish. Even the native who sat next to me couldn’t catch their words. Everything seemed rushed, which can be easily noticed. In contrast, I went to Sepia on a Saturday afternoon for lunch, it was completely different. The staffs were friendlier. The ambiance was nicer; not stressful. The setting is so romantic from my perspective. Every guest will receive a postcard from Sepia which is so beautiful.
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Table setting

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Let’s start the night with a refreshing glass of Riesling

For today, I went for the degustation menu of 180 AUD which consists of amuse-bouche, 7 dishes, pre-dessert and dessert. Once I chose the course, the amuse-bouche of salmon roe and sour cream was served suddenly. It awakes my taste bud.
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Sashimi of Yellow Fin tuna, Jamon Iberico cream, Hatsuka radish, apple and wasabi, pork crackling was placed down next. It was refreshing and light, yet creamy. The tuna was fine. The crispiness of pork crackling merged together with tuna and stuffings delicately.
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The second appetiser was House made chèvre, rhubarb, beetroot, rye, native violets. This dish was creamy, fresh and sour. The sourness was too strong which ruined the whole picture of the dish. This might be the least favourite dish among the course for me.
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A bread with the iconic spherical butter
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Butter poached King George whiting, smoked pancetta, white carrot and yuzu, lardo, kombu, wasabi was served accordingly. The poached King George was cooked to the perfection. The texture was just right; not too hard but not too soft. The white carrot and yuzu puree balanced out the creamy King George. Also the yuzu gave a pleasant smell to the dish. The white cracker improved the texture of the fish which was enjoyable.
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The last appetiser was Scampi grilled over charcoal, Tasmanian black truffle and mitsuba. The scampi was sweet and fresh. The mitsuba went along with truffle wonderfully.
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The magical ingredient ever, Tasmanian truffle!!

Before having the main dishes, Chef Martin benn surprised me with his special dish of lobster, seaweed, spice and crackling. I have to say that this dish is nearly to the perfection. It was well-balanced, complex and drooling.
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Now I’m commencing the mains. Let’s start with Charcoal grilled David Blackmore wagyu karubi, Japanese pickles, miso mustard and ice plant. The wagyu karubi was cooked to delicious tenderness. Japanese pickles balanced the creamy miso mustard excellently. The texture of ice plant was amazing.
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Seared Mandagery Creek venison, sansho pepper, caramelized Jerusalem artichoke, pumpkin and raspberry was superb. The venison was sweet, smooth and firm. This dish was not so interesting. It seemed too plain given by the one of the leading Australian chefs.
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Comte, roasted endive, pear jelly, fried walnuts, plum and celery
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If I recall correctly, the pre-dessert is a mandarin ice-cream with chocolate crunch and icing sugar. It was refreshing and light. It washed away all the previous flavour from the palate.
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Here it comes, the menu that was just shown on the Australian’s famous game show, The Masterchef Australia, The winter chocolate forest. It consists of various type of chocolate, iced plant and raspberry ice-cream. I was stunned by its beauty at first sight. I also paired this dessert with dessert wine from Normandy, France. The crunchy chocolate made this dish so enjoyable. The sourness from raspberry combined delicately with creamy chocolate. The iced plant did not seem to play an important role here though.
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Let’s look a little closer

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First, I thought it was the terminal of the meal for tonight. Once I raised my hand to check, the waiter came straight to me with the Japanese stones on his hand. So my last dish for the night is a special gift from Chef Martin Benn, Japanese stone. It is yuzu and grapefruit sorbet ice-cream coated with chocolate. I love it!! It was refreshing, light and drooling. I wish I could have it more. Thanks Chef!!
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Contact:

201 Sussex st. Sydney Australia 2000

Phone: 02 9253 1990
e-mail: INFO@SEPIARESTAURANT.COM.AU
website: http://www.sepiarestaurant.com.au/

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