The bar area’s become a dining destination all of its very own. It’s about as luxurious as eating in the restaurant, only a lot more casual. You get the benefit of head sommelier Rodney Setter’s wine experience (we’ve never had and enjoyed so much Greek wine in one sitting), plus Martin Benn’s food. And you don’t need to book.
It also means you can eat as little or as much as you like. Come in for fine, delicate slices of yellow fin tuna sashimi dressed with soy and olive oil, mustard cress and a glass of Champagne (they do a thing called Sashimi and Friends here – a selection of sashimi with a flight of wines for $55) or dig your heels in and stay for the grills.
Get sommeliers Rodney Setter and Benjamin Brown to set you up with some tastings. They might pour you a half glass of Grace Koshu – a Japanese table wine (who knew?) with a plate of sweet and vinegary little Barletta onions grilled until their green tails wilt. Or maybe there’ll be a biodynamic Gruner Veltliner from Lark Hill with a pile of spongy little shitake mushrooms with a light and sour ponzu dressing.
Tender little baby squid thread on sticks hold all the flavour of the grill, delicately dressed in soy, ginger and olive oil, while giant Queensland tiger prawns are firm and sweet, served with Japanese mayonnaise. Corn-fed chicken breast doesn’t have quite the same Jesus-H-Christ-this-is-juicy factor as, say, the yakitori chicken thighs or the chicken skin threaded onto skewers and served with tingly, citrusy sansho pepper and sea salt.
If you haven’t already had your dose of animal fats, go all out with the grade 9 (that’s one marble score away from a coronary) David Blackmore wagyu beef, rolled onto skewers. It’s literally double the price of the rest of the menu, but then you’re getting double the fat. Those cows won’t massage themselves.
This is Sepia at its most approachable and fun. Don’t get us wrong – you could still throw down a big wad of cash if you were of a mind (that wagyu alone is $40) but you don’t have to. We’d go for the onions alone.