Monday, 28 May 2012

Dinner at Sepia: Birthday Goodness!

Birthdays in my family are all about the restaurant we go to to celebrate. Especially mine, because it's two weeks after Dad's so we combine and go somewhere extra nice. Last year it was Sake and this year it was Sepia Restaurant. And it was amazing!

A seven course degustation menu of deliciousness, that when you add in the palette cleansers and a few other little bits and pieces was actually 12 courses. Now there was nothing simple about this food, but it was sincerely amazing. Each dish was a complex mixture of flavours and textures balanced to showcase the hero ingredient. I wish I could say that I could attempt even the simplest of dishes we ate, but there's no way I could even try. So what did we goes (excuse the bad photos, there were taken with an iPhone with no flash in a dark restaurant):

New Zealand whitebait, dashi, smoked shitake mushroom, yuzu: Quite a rich start to the meal, and for some, the little fishy faces were a bit off-putting. I don't love the 'smoked' taste, so I didn't really love it. 

Sashimi of Southern Blue Fin tuna, oxtail consomme jelly, yuzu, daikon radish, native finger lime, sprouting lentils, toasted amaranth, shaved Katsuobushi: The textures in this were amazing, a mixture between jelly, sashimi and toasted lentils made each mouthful surprising.

Grey ghost mushrooms, roasted Chinese artichokes, goat milk fromage blanc and whey tarragon, buckwheat, flowers: So this might be controversial, but I'm not the biggest foam fan. I don't know why it because so popular and trendy, but it's here and there's nothing I can do about it. No matter what, this dish was delicious. Again, a surprising mix of textures. And despite the resemblance, those aren't witchetty grubs, but rather the Chinese artichokes. I think this was one of my favourites.

Butter poached shaved cuttlefish, heart of palm, Jamon Iberico, mandarin, licorice, wild rice, sorrel: An interesting combination, but probably not my favourite. Maybe it was because I don't like licorice?

Coral trout roasted in konbu, smoked bone marrow, eggplant cream, Hijiki, farro, roasted scales: Again, not my favourite. The eggplant cream was a little strange, and the trout was probably a little less cooked that I would have liked.

Slow braised pork belly in Saikyo miso, tiger prawn, fennel, Corella pear, quinoa and crackling, nori salt, mizuna leaves: Amazing. The pork belly just fell apart at the touch.

Seared Blackmore Wagyu, Nameko mushroom, garlic flowering chives, roasted red onion juice and wasabi, potato and kobu crumb, citrus soy: Again, amazing. The wagyu beef was a little pink in the middle, but I've never minded that.

Lemon leaf granita, bronze fennel, elderflower: A lovely palette cleanser. The elderflower was fresh and beautiful, and the fennel was an interesting compliment to the lemon.

Strawberry shell, strawberry sherbet, chocolate soil: This. Was. Amazing!! Every single one of us on the table could have had several more. When it came out, it looked like a delicious little strawberry shaped morsel of goodness. You literally had to crack through the strawberry shell with the back of your spoon, and on the inside was sweet, delicious sherbet. 

Raspberry ripple, white chocolate ganache, balsamic vinegar jelly: If I had a least favourite desert, this would be it, but it was still delicious. The balsamic jelly wasn't overpowering, but cut through the sweetness of the rest of the desert.

"Autumn chocolate forest" Soft chocolate, praline and chestnut, lavender cream, blackberry sorbet, pomegranate jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs, crystallised fennel fronds: This desert is a work of art. If you look closely, it literally looks like a chocolate forest. The individual elements look like the forest floor, including the crystallised fennel fronds which looks like moss. Again, a beautiful mixture of textures and flavours with the pomegranate jellies and blackberry sorbet breaking up the mound of delicate chocolate pieces.

Petits fours, passionfruit jelly (?) and chocolates: I wish I had have had room to fit these in. I managed half a bite of the jelly, and it melted in my mouth, but that's all I could managed.

So that was everything. I think we all rolled out of there with big smiles on our faces, but desperately needing to lie down. Would I go again? A big yes!! But I think I'd eat less during the day. One small disappointment is that because we went on a Saturday night, we had to have the degustation menu. But then again, can you really complain about any of the above?

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