Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dining Out @ Sage, The Gardens Residences, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur

so many rules ah????

Ever since Cilantro closed for renovations last year, there was a void in the fine dining scene. When rumours started on their sister restaurant i.e. Sage was opening, everyone was waiting with a bated breath. First it was scheduled to open its doors in July. However, July came and went but still there was no sign of it opening. Then it was pushed to another date and another until it opened with very little fanfare in October. However word got around that the place had opened and without any publicity....everyone in town was buzzing about it. Seems news of it opening even got down south, as my sister was asking me what was Sage all about, as her friends were raving about it.

bread to tuck in while waiting for the food, I like the softer whole grain one shown at the back

Splashie Boy and I decided to check the place out one night on the pretext of celebrating one of those forgotten occasions. Being together for so long, means both of us have amnesia when it comes to celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and etc. At the moment, we run a virtual "buku 555" on presents and celebration dinners we keep missing between both of us. Based on my ledger, my slate is clean but Splashie Boy's ledger still owes a couple of debits in terms of Valentine and birthday dinners and presents.

the amuse bouche of tempura prawn didn't amuse me much

Finding this place can be quite daunting, if you are a first timer here - probably because the Gardens Residences has yet to fully open. Walk through the front door of Gardens Residences and all you see is a security guard sitting at the lobby. However, once you arrive on the sixth floor, you can breath a little better as the front entrance of Sage beckons. (I found out later that if you take the lift from the Isetan side of The Gardens to the 6th floor, you will avoid all these hassles. Shame on me, on not reading other blog posts properly.)

chef's special for the night - very fresh sashimi with a piquant yuzukoshou sauce

Once you settle comfortably at your table - the menu is pretty simple to understand. A list of a la carte choices is available - appetizer(RM58), main course(RM78), dessert(RM30) and specialty items (a whopping RM178). Either choose individual items or go for the Sage Dinner (RM120) with appetizer, main course and dessert or the Gourmet Dinner (RM140) with the same three items and an additional Chef's Special of the Day. (Postscript - we rushed to make this dinner by the end of October amid rumours that the prices will go up. Betty, a friend just smsed Splashie Boy and told him the prices have gone up by RM20. Wonder if it will go up further or not...?)

my blue fin tuna carpaccio with asparagus topped with a parmesan wafer

There is also a Chef's Table - a counter in front of the open kitchen where Chef Takashi Kimura cooks behind a clear panel. You can order the degustation menu (with 7 items) for around RM240 there or at your table. The degustation menu items change weekly and sometimes depending on the availability, certain items on the a la carte menu may also change (for instance the guinea fowl, previously blogged by A Whiff of Lemongrass is not in the menu anymore)

the delectable cold fedellini with thin slices of hon maguro and bottarga

We settled down to our choices - the Gourmet Dinner for Splashie Boy while I decided to go for the degustation menu. While Splashie Boy was veering towards his favourites like beef rump, I did steer him to try the highly recommended Cold Fedellini with Hon Maguro & Bottarga for his appetizer.

creamy melt in the mouth roasted foie gras with duck and kabu

We started with a little amuse bouche, which I thought was kinda weird - tempura prawn! Didn't taste like any kind of tempura I have eaten before and it felt very ordinary tasting. I was a little worried after eating that, expecting the worst to come next.

pan fried fish with kobashira and ginnan

Luckily we were saved by Splashie Boy's chef special of the day - very fresh sashimi garnished with a piquant yuzukushou sauce, green chillies with yuzu juice. My first course from the degustation menu - the blue fin tuna carpaccio may have been a classic one but again the fish was very fresh. I loved the crisp parmesan cracker served with it - must make these one day as I remember they're pretty easy to make at home.

Rump steak with carrot puree and anchovy sauce

Most of the dishes have Japanese elements in them - a touch of konbu seaweed on top of my asparagus served with the blue fin tuna, yuzukushou - a type of paste made from yuzu and green chillies with my Wagyu beef, a type of turnip known as kabu with my foie gras, gingko nuts known as ginnan with my pan fried fish and etc. A mix of Japanese and Italian - you find pastas and common Italian ingredients like bottarga and parmesan incorporated here.

chargrilled wagyu beef with sauteed mushrooms and yuzukushou

Splashie Boy's appetizer, the cold fedellini (a type of pasta) with melt in the mouth thin slices of hon maguro (tuna) is tossed with bottarga, a roe considered as a delicacy by the Italians. I like the flecks of wasabi on top of the tuna slices that wrap the delectable cold pasta.

bucatini pasta with lamb ragout and piment

I was equally impressed with my next dish - the roasted foie gras. Literally melting in my mouth, the creamy foie gras was excellent and something I have never tasted before. It felt a bit weird though, paired with duck and the kabu, a type of Japanese turnip. However, the duck jus (from the roasting) pooling on my plate was good stuff. Nothing could stop Splashie Boy from ordering beef - the rump steak served with carrot puree and anchovy sauce. Cooked medium (the way he likes it), there are 2 parts to this dish - the sliced beef rump and fork tender beef topped with the carrot puree. I didn't taste any anchovies though so it may be quite subtle or just not in the spoonful I had as a sample from Splashie Boy.

excellent almond blancmanger, kinda like a creamy and very wobbly panna cotta

I had a lot of catching up to do, since I had more courses - a pan fried fresh fish (suppose to be Suzuki Seabass but it was not available) served with a slightly chewy kobashira, a type of clam and greenish tinged gingko nuts. I liked the light taste of the dish paired with the very delicate flesh of the fish. Next was an perfectly charred Wagyu beef (nicely charred with a crust) but still medium inside. It is served with a spicy and citrusy yuzukushou (yuzu mixed with green chillies) and sauteed mushrooms. Really good stuff, which I quickly finished as I was lagging behind Splashie Boy. Last but not least was the bucatini pasta tossed in a rich earthy tasting and spicy lamb ragout and piment chili.

light but kinda ordinary tasting chocolate and grand cointreau souffle with vanilla ice cream

Just before my dessert, I was served a palate cleanser - sweet cubed rock melon with a cold tangy sorbet. My dessert - the chocolate and cointreau souffle was nothing fantastic and tasted kinda ordinary to me but Splashie Boy's highly recommended almond blancmanger was excellent. The waiter recommended this for dessert hence we knew it must be good plus we heard rumblings from Lyrical Lemongrass on how good it was.

At first I thought the transparent pieces on the side was ice cubes to keep it cold - a closer examination of it revealed black specks. Turns out it is vanilla gelatine. Really delicious when paired with the creamy blancmanger (that kinda reminds me of an excellent just wobbly panna cotta), mango sorbet and tangy passion fruit. I didn't get to try the wafer, since Splashie Boy chomped it all of as he loved it. We were served tea after that with little biscuits.

While some items didn't impress me, I thought on an overall basis I was very happy with what I got especially the roasted foie gras, wagyu beef and the lamb ragout pasta. Splashie Boy also loved his food. Both of us felt, for what we ate was excellent value for money. Definitely better I reckon from the other gourmet places in town. Another very big plus point is the excellent service and the best thing is, the waiters can answer my numerous questions here. I guess you can see me making more excuses to return here for lunch and dinner more often.

Sage Restaurant
The Gardens Residences
6th Floor, The Gardens
Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03- 2268 1188

(Pork free. Currently only available for dinners and closed on Sundays. Lunch should be starting anytime soon, call ahead and check if it is available. Expect more changes to the menu, pricing and the whole look of the place as they are still tweaking it.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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"Joe" who is constantly craving said... shall no longer b quiet anymore bcoz everyone will be reading abt it here..

havent got myself to come here yet..definitely shud do it soon b4 it gets crowded..

bizkutraya said...

wonder how is the atmosphere there...

Unknown said...

ah those jokers finally opened. was thinking of going a few weeks back but cancelled. the bloody marketing ppl at the hotel promised to call me to tell me when it was open when i called back in july but they didn't do jack shit about it. and the subsequent calls to them about this didn't improve either.

Tummythoz said...

*sigh* Alas, cannot remember fine dining etiquettes anymore. Pricey. Need to save up for practise.

Unknown said...

one more thing... got spiritual successor to truffle butter?

fatboybakes said...

sob sob, am i the last person in KL to go there!!!!! sigh............

J2Kfm said...

so fast increase another RM20? opened barely 2 months right?

probably the chef found it 'amusing' to serve simple tenpura prawn. or out of idea?

Ciki said...

just when I thought it couldn't be written up any better, you seem to have researched it even more thoroughly! nicely done.

Rarebeet said...

Mmmm I think its time for a second eating at Sage. I was underwhelmed by my choices last time. Think will ask Hunky to take me there for his birthday ;-)

FooDcrazEE said...

rich food . . . .cant afford now ..with 2 kids . . . hehehe. i have been quiet now bz with kiddos.

HairyBerry said...

kabu and foie gras! what interesting combination. sure does make a good alternative to the usual apple puree.

yuzukushou! woah, more exotic! high marks for creativity, that's for sure!

Selba said...

The sashimi looks so beautiful delicious!!! *slurp*

sc said...

that's quite a lot of food...a looks delicate and decadent though...but man, the rules, so strict ler

6th Sis aka Marirama said...

nice pictures, would you like to share with us what camera you're using for those nice snapsss.

CHER-RY said...

Thank u for linking me. I just went to Sage last nite. Never fail me as alwiz.

Will go again this Saturday (Chef's Table).

Cheers everyone!!!

Julian Si said...

Ah hah... YUM! Must go , must go :-)

Thanks for the tip!!

ps - Great photos as always :-)

boo_licious said...

Joe - better go, loads of changes already to the menu and prices. BUT then I guess by the time you get there, they would have hopefully got their new furniture.

bizkutraya - it's a nice place to fine dine, more modern and not overly fancy.

lanatir - they keep changing many of them kept going and leaving that I couldn't even keep up too.

tummythoz - LOL, better start now or else will forget completely....

lanatir - nope don't have. Go get your own by buying Tetsuya's prepacked version. Last I saw, Mr. Ho's had a bottle. Dunno if they have any more.

fbb - oi, am sure u will be going and getting some fat discount for dining there with your "card"!

j2kfm - yeah, prices of roti canai may be coming down but not here....definitely 10 times better than Indulgence.

thxs cumi & ciki (I'm sure that is ciki). Adding another spin to it, as, me no good at poetry.

Paprika - LOL, I like how Hunky has to take you there for his birthday? I thot he shld be deciding where???

foodcrazee - ah, kids are the best! Go enjoy them. Mine are 4 legged ones so it's easy to fine dine without them...

nic - but I do love the caramelised apple version, Cuisine Studio does. It's really more sinful esp when paired with thick slabs of foie gras.

selba - very fresh, I heard from Splashie Boy as he ate that very quickly.

6th sis - I'm using a baby DSLR, the Canon 450D. Not a pro yet, still struggling to get it right.

cher-ry - no problems dearie, you are constant visitor there. Can't keep up with you but it's good as I get to see what else he serves. Must go try the new menu...

Julian - hiya. We found out that Splashie Boy, your brother and cousin in Spore are all working in the same co! Small world.

Hendrik said...

is this the restaurant with the chef previously from Micasa ?
some 6-star chef i heard.

boo_licious said...

Hendrik - yes, ex-Cilantro from Micasa. Do give it a try. Hope you like it.

Simon Seow said...

Ah, must save up, must save up.

Unknown said...

Sage is a must try!! the salmon dishes are heavenly.. the wagyu however is average.. ,the wagyu at Opus is much more flavourful and melt in your mouth-ish.. everything else was just delectable!

Julian Si said...

Hey dear Masak2 :-)

Was just reading this old writeup of yours, can't believe Sage is already 2 years old. Time flies!

I still miss the old Cilantro ... wonder what the reopened version is like, yet to go!

Cheers , and BLESSED CHRISTMAS ahead!!

Jules, the UAE

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