Last week I joined my friends CW, her hubby CHW and her friend Mr O for dinner at one of the best restaurants in Sydney, Sepia. Having been to Sepia once before (way back in September 2011) I already knew what to expect. Great food and great service! But what happened to me that night surpassed all my expectations!!
We arrived a little earlier and decided to sit at the bar and chat over a drink and some great oysters! Out came some really nice champagne which obviously went very well with the oysters! It is hard for me to say how good they were since I am not keen on oysters and I left it to the rest of the group to extoll how good the oysters were. Apparently they were very good.
Everyone working at Sepia knew Mr O. I could not believe how well known he was! I felt I was dining with a VIP of some sort! I can already imagine MR O's head growing bigger even as he reads this! :) And that's assuming he does read it.
As we were sitting at the bar, Chef Martin Benn came out of the kitchen and dropped to say hello to Mr O and was introduced to the rest of us. I was star struck! I didn't expect this at all and could not resist asking for a photo and when it was suggested I pose with him, I was seriously quite embarrassed! Little unknown me who will never ever be able to cook at this level felt quite small (not only physically)! But I was chuffed! I got a photo with Martin Benn! Yay!!!!
We then adjourned to our table and that's when our food adventure began. I was warned beforehand by my friends that we would most probably get a few extra dishes because of Mr O. But even knowing that, the dishes just kept coming.
I have decided to list all the savoury dishes and not go into descriptions on how good they were dish by dish. Didn't want to bore my readers to tears. Thought it best to summarise at the end of this section.
Note that as it was a Saturday night, we had the degustation menu.
Amuse bouche was John Dory cured in batters kombu and pickled daikon radish.
Sashimi of Yellow Fin tuna, steamed Japanese omelette, white soy wasabi and sheep yoghurt.
Carid prawns, heirloom tomato, white cucumber, Creme fraiche, tempura batter and Matcha tea oil.
Housemade goat's milk chèvre, beetroot butter, rhubarb and rye bread. Note this was an extra dish.
Sashimi of Bonito, flavours of roasted chicken, umeboshi, Matcha tea. Note this was an extra dish.
An amazing looking ball of sheer perfection! It was butter served with Japanese milk bread. I was loathed to cut into the butter.
Poached bone marrow, smoked salmon roe, bamboo, roasted onion, thyme and mustard, nasturtium.
Crab rice, egg yolk, tarragon, Japanese land seaweed.
WA Marron tail, shellfish and shiso emulsion, Dashi, tapioca, fried nori. Note this was an extra dish.
Wagyu rump, hatcho miso, sea urchin and wasabi butter, shallot and garlic chips, potato and kelp.
Seared Mandagery Creek venison, boudin noir, chocolate crumb, coconut yoghurt, Blackcurrant and shichimi.
Of the above, my favourites were the Sashimi of Bonito, Poached bone marrow, Marron tail and the Venison. The dishes were all good but these stood out for me. I don't believe I have had bone marrow before but I think I am converted. The bonito dish was amazingly full of flavours and textures. I absolutely loved the Marron tail and could have had more! By the way, the Marron tail dish was the dish Martin Benn cooked for the World Top Chef's dinner last year during the good food month. This was a variation of the original dish. Blow me away! And the venison was so so tender!
Then desserts came and boy was I blown away again!
The Pearl - Martin Benn's signature dessert. A beautiful looking sphere of sheer perfection and it did look like a work of art! I had to crack its beautiful shell and inside was a nest of frozen gingerade and finger lime! It was cold, tart and very much 'punch in your face' full of flavour! Wow, wow and wow! Note this was not in the menu. And they served us Sake yuzu liqueur with the dessert.
Peach cream, rose and raspberry and yukari. Talk about peaches and cream!
Frozen strawberry, champagne chiboust, and pistachio crumb. Note that this was not on the menu. A beautiful looking dessert and I felt like I was having strawberries and cream and watching tennis at Wimbledon.
Cherry and apple pie, goat's milk dulce de leche. A smooth and creamy dessert but I felt it needed a crunchy texture, to offset the creaminess.
Summer chocolate forest - Soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond, lavender and honey cream, sour cherry sorbet, rose and violet jellies, green tea, licorice and chocolate twigs. This brought back memories of my first meal at Sepia. Loved it then and loved it this time around. I seriously felt I was eating chips of wood as I savoured this dish. Amazing textures!
Japanese stones - another of Martin Benn's signature dish. Note this was not on the menu. Another work of art, I couldn't help but have a good close look at them. They so look like stones! Amaze balls! My favourite was the passionfruit filling!
The guys had wine paired with their meal and the sakes and wines were generally exceptionally well paired. Some of the sake was of exceptional quality.
As you can imagine we were almost about to roll out of our seats and roll out the door, groaning and heaving with all the delicious food we were privileged to have.
It was an absolutely epic meal. Thank you to the team for your exceptional service and Jimmy, you rock! Your wit and warmth was very infectious!!! :)
To Martin Benn, your generosity was amazing and very much appreciated. It was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you!
To my friends who asked me to join them, I say thank you. And to Mr O, what can I say?!? It was lovely to have met you, hope we can stay connected and I say thank you for bringing your VIP cred that night!!!!
P/S Martin Benn came out to say goodbye! How cool! And we didn't pay anymore than the set degustation price for all the stupendous extras we were served!!! Altogether there were 6 extra dishes. Even cooler! :)
201 Sussex Street
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