I have been waiting for such a meal for a long time. Nic, Jay and I love eating out and this is probably the best degustation we’ve had in Australia. No surprises, this 3 hat restaurant is top 3 in Gourmet traveller’s list (which I regard highly). There is an ala carte menu available on the weekdays, however on the weekends, only degustation ($160 pp) is available. Other than the degustation, I tried other items off the ala carte menu that would sure to interest you. Read on.
Upon entering, our jackets were taken and we were seated. Sepia is elegant in a modern Italian sort of way. Dark wood, side couches with geometric patterns. It was great for dates and group meetings. The service was impeccable. The service was alert, humorous when the time came for it and accommodating. Staff was almost elegant themselves – well-kept women and men.
Now for the wonderful meal.
Swordfish belly, finger lime, smoked trout roe, ponzu
The Amuse bouche certainly set high expectations. Looking at it, you would think its a bit of belly topped with roe. I thought it was cute that there was a cute little flower set at the edge of it. How sweet! It wasn’t that you’d have to separate this nugget of a dish into 2 bites but I wanted two tastes of it! However, I found it slightly challenging. Giving up, I placed the whole thing in my mouth; realising there was indeed a skin encasing the mind blowing smoky flavours of creamy swordfish belly and the surprisingly firm texture of roe! The roe rolled around on my tongue before bursting into amazing sea flavours. All this while being absolutely complemented by the citrus soy sauce (ponzu). Incredible.
Sushi Nigiri – Kingfish, smoked seared Ocean Trout, poached Banana Prawn
Not what you would expect, isn’t it? The sushi is reversed in a sense. Instead of rice that topped the fish, it was a slice of jellied stock. The plating consisted of powdered seaweed and drops of ginger and tamari sauce – The pink sauce tasted just like the pink ginger served with Sushi. The Banana Prawn came up as a favourite – succulent, fresh tasting with the melting of the jellied stock and ending with crunch of the rice crisps. I loved the Ocean Trout which was thick, fresh and silky on my tongue.
Beetroot butter, goat milk chèvre, rhubarb, apple balsamic, rye, goat milk crisp
As usual, the plating is exceptional… Most people find goat cheese to be rather strong tasting, however the goat milk chèvre was mild in flavour, fluffy in texture and flavoured by the distinctly smooth beetroot butter and almost nutty rhubarb crisp. The apple balsamic slivers were sweet and tart which was a great contrast to the goat milk crisps which were honey comb in texture and milky when dissolved.
Marron, toasted quinoa, shiso, samphire
I was so excited to see this. I love marron! The marron was beautifully fresh, buttery and succulent. Every bite was juicy goodness. Contrast that with the crunchy toasted quinoa with shiso and samphire. This doesn’t have to be creative – I liked it for its quality and wholesomeness. I didn’t quite understand what ‘sandfire’ was but now I know what I’ve been missing out on! Samphire is native to South Australia…and blanching the green base gives a salty flavour of the sea.
Yellow Fin Tuna, Jamon Iberico, poached egg yolk, fried nori, crackling, mustard flowers
Jay and Nic had this instead and described the dish as unbelievably smooth and silky – even the Jamon! They also expected a large contrast of flavours but was surprised at how mild it was. Perhaps the runny egg yolk muted everything as it usually does.
Roasted Scampi tail, Shellfish mousse, Scampi shell crumb, Sudachi, Japanese land seaweed
First of all, I found ‘ Japanese land seaweed ‘ a contradiction. It didn’t taste anything like the sea and had the texture of dill. Confusion aside, I found this to be the most flavourful dish of the night. Slurping the light and fluffy shellfish mousse, I thought it was like a bisque foam wonderfully interrupted by the crunch of tasty shell crumbs. As I carried on eating, I was pleased to find a chunk of succulent scampi tail.
Seared rolled David Blackmore Wagyu beef, Chestnut mushroom, roasted red onion jus, wasabi, fried potato and kombu crumb, citrus soy
Sepia was clever in designing light meat dishes so it would not be overpowering. The beautifully soft Wagyu was a rolled up slice with a red middle, making it an easy eat. The chestnut mushroom foam/cream was flavour packed. Together with the roasted red onion sauce, it gave the beef a lovely mushroomy creamy dimension. I was really surprised that kelp (Kombu) was involved in a meat dish but somehow it helped bring the flavour together.
Seared Mandagery creek venison, chocolate boudin noir, shichimi pepper, pickled cherry puree, coconut yoghurt
Tony, whom we bumped into, reckoned this was his favourite dish. The dark chocolate crumbs and coconut yoghurt added a deep richness to the juicy bleeding venison. More of a surprise than chocolate was the pickled dark cherry puree which added a touch of tart sweetness.
Rhubarb and Hibiscus, White Chocolate, Frozen Ginger and Lime Meringue
The ginger was surprisingly strong but made a good palate cleanser when combined with the tart Rhubarb and Hibiscus. The white chocolate crumbs added a good creaminess.
Homemade strawberry, Sherbert, Lillet
Lillet Rose is a Strawberry rose with a hint of orange – a beautiful dessert wine to have at the end of the meal. Or in some cases, recommended before dinner. I’ve never had it before and was really delighted to be introduced. I imagine it would go really well in cocktails at Hen nights! Indeed, Martha Stewart had the same idea. When we were served this dessert, I thought ‘ ahh… Strawberry filled with cream! ‘. The waiter then instructed us to knock it gently with the back of our spoon. Doing so, we were surprised to find it cracked spilling what looked like powder. It was not powder – it was sherbet that melted on your tongue at contact. It wasn’t a frozen strawberry – it was candy! Set upon coco pastry crumble, it was a really surprising little dish!
Apple and Blackcurrant
The elegant sphere is made of blackcurrant ice and filled with blackcurrant mousse. My favourite part of it was the apple caramel which tasted like apple toffee! It was smooth, rich and ended with a caramel fragrance at the back of your nose. Yet the overall dessert was refreshing like an ice cold drink on a summer’s day. Mmm. Wish I had one of these right now in scorching Perth!
Summer Chocolate Forest – Soft Chocolate, Hazelnut and Almond, Rose Geranium cream, Sour Cherry sorbet, Blueberry jellies, Green tea, Liquorice, Chocolate Twigs
This is the dessert that drove Nic to book this restaurant. When it arrived, it looked like a bird’s nest with a berried egg on top. There was a mix of different textures in the ‘nest’. Chocolate twigs, crunchy hazelnut and almond, chewy blueberry jelly surprises and a slight liquorice flavour. It really did feel like you were eating off a forest floor. As we crunched on, we were surprised by a fragrant rose cream. I was crazy about this!
As elegant as desserts come, these green tea powder topped pebbles would surprise you with either chocolate, mulberry or salted white chocolate with passionfruit! At this point, we started getting really playful. We started guessing the filling and the loser had to eat it all! (We were really full at this point). Despite how stuffed we were, all of us finished it simply because it was awesome good quality chocolate coating and the filling was really yummy. The chocolate wasn’t extremely rich – it was like a mild cold chocolate ice cream? The mulberry filling was thick and smooth. I imagine my friend Prithi would really like the salted white chocolate with passionfruit. The passionfruit flavour came through strongly despite my expectation of a white chocolate dominance.
Petit more than four
Just when we thought it was over, the chocolates came to go with our special teas. Here’s a tip, have peppermint tea at the end of a big meal. It aids digestion.