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Review: Kimchi, bibimbap and Japanese omelettes at Sepial’s Kitchen in Salt River

Sepial’s Kitchen is a quaint little Northeast Asian-inspired restaurant situated in Salt River. The small kitchen team is run by head chef Sepial Shim (who used to work with Salsify’s chef Ryan Cole), and his smile lights up the restaurant. Zola Nene goes for a taste of chef Sepial’s innovative menu.

 

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Fast Facts:

Food type: Northeast Asian-inspired
Cost: R120 average main meal
Parking: Street parking only
Best for: A quick work lunch or a leisurely dinner with friends and family
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 4; Service: 3; Ambience: 2

Food

The menu is divided into two parts: the a la carte section, which is recommended for lunch or a light dinner, and two dinner tasting menus that both include a welcome drink. From the a la carte menu, you could start with the kimchi pancake. The homemade kimchi packs a lot of flavour and the pancake is thin, with a pleasant chewy texture. It’s the perfect start if, like me, you’re a fan of pungent kimchi.

 

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Next up is a Japanese omelette, which is made to order and takes about 10 minutes. It comes rolled in nori sheets, giving it a mild fishy flavour, and is garnished with spring onion, which adds a great crunchy contrast to the dish. Chef Sepial’s signature bibimbap is both visually stunning and delicious. It comes served in a deep bowl that shows off all the components that make up the dish. The multigrain rice is tender and nutty, the vegetables are vibrant, the beef – marinated in soy sauce – is tender and meaty, and everything is brought together by a punchy chilli dressing. In its entirety, the bibimbap is a textural and flavour sensation.

The slow-cooked spicy pork comes plated in a beautiful imported Japanese bowl and is served with nutty lavender-hued multigrain rice. The delicious aroma that emanates from the pork will have you instantly salivating, and the taste definitely lives up to it. The pork belly is tender, spicy, sweet and salty all at the same time; it’s an absolute pleasure to eat.

The dessert menu is very small and only has two items: a cake of the day and a granita served with cold brew coffee and bean syrup. (You can also add a mini matcha mochi to the granita dessert.)

Drinks

Sepial’s Kitchen serves a selection of homemade iced teas. The popcorn tea may seem like it would be sweet but it isn’t, and it has a very distinct popcorn aftertaste. Other iced tea flavours include jasmine and orange, lemongrass and pear, and melon and rooibos. There are also cold brew coffees and soft drinks available on the drinks menu.

 

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Which one do you prefer, jasmine green tea with orange segments or black tea with real peach slices? #tasting #capetownfoodie

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Service

Service is casual and informal. Because the restaurant is so small, the chefs take orders and serve the dishes. They’re happy to explain all the dishes on the menu, as well as how each is prepared. The restaurant is vegan-friendly and will accommodate any dietary requirements.

Ambience

The restaurant is very small and intimate, so be prepared to hear the conversation at your neighbouring tables. The kitchen is open-plan so you can hear and see the chefs working, which I enjoyed. The tables are minimally laid with Protea centre pieces, a plastic placemat and a set of silver chopsticks.

 

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And…

Sepial’s Kitchen offers Saturday cooking workshops. The first Saturday of every month is always a kimchi-making cooking course.

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Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

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