Sepia to close in December as Chef Martin Benn and Vicki Wild plan Melbourne restaurant

Three-hatted fine dining institution Sepia, one of Sydney’s most celebrated and popular dining hotspots, has made a big announcement. The team driving the restaurant, acclaimed chef Martin Benn and his partner Vicki Wild, will not only be departing the venue after eight incredibly successful years and numerous awards (they’ve maintained three hats every year since 2012), but will also be leaving Sydney to spearhead a new restaurant in Melbourne.

The reason behind this lies with well-known Melbourne restaurateur Chris Lucas (Chin Chin; Hawker Hall) who has tempted Benn and Wild away from the harbour city to help him open a restaurant in Melbourne CBD, due sometime next year. It’ll be his second high-profile opening on the horizon, with the first being ambitious Japanese-inspired restaurant Kisum√© at 175 Flinders Lane later this year.

“Today we’ve announced the journey we started eight years ago will be coming to an end on 31 December 2017”, said Benn and Wild. “We want to thank our longtime partner and friend, George Costi, for his support over the years which has allowed us to follow our dreams and achieve so much at Sepia”.

George, who will be retiring and will not be renewing the leads for Sepia’s Sussex Street location, will not be joining Benn and Wild on the move down south.

The team plan to continue wow’ing diners at Sepia from now until the end of the year, promising to put everything they have into the restaurant’s final months to farewell Sydney’s discerning diners with “appropriate finale worthy of such a great restaurant”.

Though Lucas may be depriving Sydney of one of it’s most reliable and revered chefs, the restaurateur’s The Lucas Group will be making their mark on Sydney later on this year. Plans so far involve opening a Sydney venue for the popular Chin Chin brand, fitting into the historic 100-year-old Grittiths Teas building in Surry Hills come August.

“Martin has not only been referred to as the next Joel 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”, explained Lucas. “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”.

Sepia will continue to operate as usual until New Year’s Eve.


Address: 201 Sussex Street, Sydney
Contact: + 61 2 9283 1990

Images: Lucas Allen.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.