Sepia moves to Melbourne

Sepia's Martin Benn, Vicki Wild and Chris Lucas

Sepia's Martin Benn, Vicki Wild and Chris Lucas

Closing the doors on their Sydney three-star restaurant, Martin Benn and Vicki Wild set their sights south.

In a week where all eyes are on the Melbourne dining scene, Victoria just got another feather in its cap. After Sepia closes its doors on 31 December 2017 ahead of the lease expiring on its Sydney CBD site, Martin Benn and Vicki Wild are moving to Melbourne - and setting up shop with veteran restaurateur Chris Lucas.

The new restaurant, opening in the Melbourne CBD in 2018, will trade under a new name. The Sepia name and concept, says Wild, which won the restaurant international acclaim over the past eight years on Sussex Street, will be put to rest with the Sydney restaurant when the doors close. "And we're proud to go out on a high. We've achieved more than we ever dreamed here."

What's not done is the couple's commitment to fine-dining. Quite the opposite, in fact. "I don't think we know how to do anything else," says Wild, "And Martin's style is Martin's style."

With the backing of The Lucas Group, which operates Chin Chin, Baby, Kong and Hawker Hall in Melbourne, along with the soon-to-open Kisume, and a Sydney branch of Chin Chin, she says, they'll have the backing to take things up a notch and run the restaurant without the compromises they had to make as a smaller business.

"We can really dial it up without limitation," says Wild.

Lucas, for his part, is chuffed to have lured Benn to Melbourne.

"Martin has not only been referred to as the next Joël Robuchon but, more importantly in my view, is regarded here and internationally as 'the chef's chef', a man who is profoundly committed to his art," he says. "With such a global profile, they could have easily headed overseas with huge offers from Hong Kong, New York or London, but I'm proud to say that they will be making Melbourne their home. Together we hope we can create, without compromise, something truly special."

Wild stresses that the move is not a comment on Sydney's dining scene. "You go where the opportunities are." Besides, she adds, the couple already drinks coffee and owns a lot of black clothes. "I might have to start wearing red just to mix it up."

sepiarestaurant.com.au


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
KingFish opens, sampling poke, hip-hop and matcha treats
07.09.2017
Bridge Bon Appetit, the latest addition to Hubert, opens tonight
06.09.2017
Get to know Orana, Australia's Restaurant of the Year 2018
25.08.2017
Melbourne is now home to a Champagne vending machine
11.08.2017
Is Kisume’s new upstairs menu Melbourne’s most luxurious degustation?
03.08.2017
On the Pass: Fatuma Tikuye, Blue Nile
24.07.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2013

There are a lot of food shots on Instagram: the good, the ba...

Where our chefs want to eat

We asked Australia's leading chefs to name the restaurants t...

Hot 100 2015 - Restaurant news

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

What the hell is Gelinaz anyway, and why is it shuffling?

On the eve of the second outing of one of the world’s strang...

Nahm named best restaurant in Asia

The 2014 50 Best Restaurants in Asia were unveiled this week...

Restaurants cooking with seaweed

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

On the pass

Tell us about Tomahawk’s menu, Ali...

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vin...

Dan Barber talks sustainable food

Farm-to-table is a neat catchcry but, argues Dan Barber, one...

Alessandro Pavoni, Ormeggio, Sydney

You’ve just released your first cookbook, a tribute to Lomba...

The 2016 GT Restaurant Guide Top 100

Here's the list of our 2016 Restaurant Guide Top 100. How ma...

First look: 108 at Noma, Copenhagen

Rene Redzepi may be headed to Sydney next month, but he's ba...

Dear Sainte Eloise to open in Potts Point

Sydney’s new wine bar is going back to basics.

Party-starting playlists

Music is a key ingredient that can turn your party from good...

Grant Achatz interview

Pat Nourse talks to the chef of Chicago’s Alinea ahead of hi...