Friday, November 9, 2007

Sage - The Restaurant

Exactly 7 days ago, I was privileged enough to be invited to join a monthly dinner at Sage (Robertson Walk) hosted by Kelvin from TimelessFacade (one of my Foodspirations). I must say I was thrilled as it was my first food outing since starting my blog 2 months back. It was not just a opportunity to savour some delicacies but also a chance to interact with other floggers (and bloggers) as well as to learn a thing or two about blogging from them.

As I entered the restaurant, I was greeted with a minimalistic-styled interior, which in my opinion, represented the type of cuisine Sage serves, which was modern European (particularly French). An opulent interior would have suggested a more traditional approach to the dishes, I presumed.

Despite tasting rather bland, the petitely cut herbed bread was rather fluffy. Similarly, the complementing butter also tasted bland. Salted butter would have heightened the flavour of the bread.

The complimentary amuse bouche (which literally means mouth amuser in French) was served next and looked rather interesting, thanks to the very contrasting colours of the layers in the shot glass. The cream-coloured lower layer of the glass consisted of compressed cooked pork and was covered by a layer of burgundy-coloured jellied tomato paste. The slight tanginess of the tomato paste complemented the richly flavoured ground pork very well. Once sandwiched between bread, it could be turned into a main dish instantly. An interesting opening for the night.

Next on the list was the first entreé for the night, the Seared King Scallops on a Salad of Homemade Squid Ink Capellini, Marinated Ocean Trout and Avruga Caviar, Braised Scallop Lips and Leek & Potato Vichyssoise. The scallop was well cooked and tasted very fresh. The al dente capellini complemented the savoury trout and caviar very well too, with its blandness. The caviar was also not too savoury nor tasted "fishy" and provided an interesting texture to the dish. The rich vichyssoise was flavourful but not overwhelming. A great dip for the bland herbed bread earlier. However, I wished the vichyssoise was served cold as it would provide an interesting contrast to the warm seared scallop.

The second and last entreé for the night was the Pan-Seared Duck Foie Gras with Pistachio Crust and Fig Compote, Granny Smith Apple Puree and a Dressing of Red Grape Mustard Vinegar. The sinfully rich and creamy liver was well seared (complete with a layer of crisp skin) and went well with the crushed pistachio coating, in terms of texture. The foie gras basically melted in the mouth, releasing an aromatic flavour, leaving everyone with a smile on the face. The chef must have contemplated on presenting a well-balanced creation in terms of taste as the compote, apple puree and mustard vinegar (each with its own distinctive taste) provided optimal tartness, which complemented the foie gras very well. Tres bon!

My main dish was the Caramelized Black Angus Beef Cheek Topped with Melted Foie Gras Mousse and a Fricassee of Mushrooms, Compote of Butternut Squash and White Onions. Despite the wonderful presentation, the ensemble tasted rather bitter, presumably due to the caramel sauce (slightly burnt, perhaps). The foie gras mousse did not provide much hindrance to the bitterness as it was by itself, a rich and bitter-prone ingredient. The compote on the other hand, tasted rather bland. Albeit the disappointment in taste, the beef cheek was actually very well cooked as it was flaky and soft at the same time.

Those who chose the Cod and Bouillabaisse seemed to have enjoyed the flavourful stew very much. The dish consisted of an Effeullie of Cod and Grey Prawns in a Seafood Bouillabaisse with Ratte Potatoes and Garden Vegetables Accompanied With Rouille on Toast.

No one chose the Lamb Loin for their main. A short description of the dish would be an Australian Grain Fed Lamb Short Loin with a Cassoulet of Summer Beans Scented with Garlic, Rosemary and Lardons, Crispy Parmigiano Reggiano and Roma Tomato Coulis.

Dessert consisted of Lavender Créme Brulée with Blood Orange Sorbet on Redcurrant Jelly and Navel Orange Meringue. The Créme Brulée was creamy in texture with good control of sweetness but I could not detect the scent of the lavender. Perhaps overpowered by the vanilla flavour. The meringue was light and crispy but did not ignite any amusement. The sweet sorbet and tangy jelly complemented each other well in terms of taste and texture as well, thanks to the creaminess of the sorbet and the firmness of the jelly.

Throughout the night, we also had a bottle of Pinot Noir (2005) from Huia (Marlborough, New Zealand) to complement the dishes.

The bill came up to approximately S$1000 (for 10 pax). A tad high for a dinner but I must say that most of the dishes were noteworthy and memorable, especially the scallop and foie gras. A great culinary adventure nonetheless, with great company to boost.

The taste of the excellent foie gras lingered on my mind until the next morning.

For more on Sage, check out this website:


wenching & esiong said...

Do you travel really often from KL to Singapore? It's a great thing that you get to blog about food in both places!

This restaurant looks good. Love the presentation of dishes of French cuisine, that alone could satisfy me!

Big Boys Oven said...

Oh the food looks lovely... but the price is exclusive.... more exclusive if converted to malaysia dollar.

Nic (KHKL) said...

wenching & esiong - yupe, i usually come back to kl for the's great to blog about 2 places which are different in taste...but can be tiring too :(

Big Boys Oven - yupe, i agree...i think the price is similar to kl's frangipani or lafite...i'll just have to survive on bread for the next 2 weeks..hehe...

Camemberu said...

Nice blog (and a fellow Malaysian too), I'm adding you to my blogroll! :P

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wow..well i guess dollar for dollar its pretty good man..even converted haha i dont seem to be scared because the food seems pretty darn good looking!

~Christine~Leng said...

the food presentation itself is already lovely :)
it's worth it I suppose.. they looked marvelous!

Nic (KHKL) said...

Camemberu - Thanks for the compliment...Wow! another malaysian flogger in singapore..great! Will need to seek food advise from you... ;)

Joe - Yupe, i think you will surely enjoy the food. the foie gras is really good! Btw, hope you had a good time in Australia.

Christine - The presentation was very modern and complemented the dishes' theme, i think :)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

For the type of food you've described, I think you got really good value! The description of the foie gras with granny smith apple puree and red grape mustard vinegar had me salivating. Am definitely gonna bookmark this restaurant!

Nic (KHKL) said...

Lyrical Lemongrass - The foie gras was definitely the star of the night. The tangy sauces went really well with the rich foie gras. Yupe, you should check out this place if you are coming down to Sg. Meanwhile, I should check out Cilantro before the renovation begins.