Friday, October 24, 2008

Sage @ The Gardens

The view from the sixth floor of The Gardens Hotel & Residences, coupled with the technicolour skyscape the evening has graciously offered, was beautiful. There was no rain. From afar, Wisma Telekom looked like Burj Al-Arab. The milk tea streaming along the Klang River was obviously not a sight for salivation, but like all things gau (dense), it was rich in history and once, aspirations.

One can only be distracted by that much when in Sage.

Transmitting through the generous spaces between tables, the soundscape, consisted of pattering heels, clattering utensils and lushful whispers, diminished progressively to the state of oblivion. The perfect dim played a part as well.

And there was music. The Look Of Love sans the sultry voice of Dusty Springfield. A shame actually, as the original version would have added a touch of sophistication to the overall ambiance. So, there it began, the night of covers of the classics.

As some may agree, Seal's version of Dionne Warwick's Walk On By resembles a polished 1967 Ford Mustang convertible in red. Complete with a Grammy nomination for that extra shine. It may not describe the creative direction of this French/Japanese fusion haven, but the interpretations, to be elaborated later, undoubtedly runs along the applaudable parallelism. To associate it with Kyu Sakamoto's Sukiyaki, however, is a little far-fetched.

Frank Sinatra’s Summer Wind was a personal favourite that could accompany the loneliest of wines. As far as the imagination can go, the bread could perhaps, replace her in the song. The same her that was taken by the summer wind. Soft, fresh, multi-grained brown slices aside, the combination of white bread and marinated, chopped tomatoes was delicious. A substantial sandwich, once extrapolated and laced with cheese and bacon. Apparently, imaginations do travel beyond boundaries.

Sinatra’s version was actually a cover of the original by Wayne Newton.

Remembering Astrud Gilberto’s amusing, inimitable Girl From Ipanema that opened up to the whole João Gilberto experience. An amuse-bouche?

Sage’s amuse-bouche (of the day) came in form of a spoonful gelatinous chicken with miso/sesame dressing and crunchy zucchini slices. A rich dressing that heightened the optimism of what’s to come.

Chef’s Special Of The Day; Magaki Oysters With Ponzu, Cheese And Caviar. A Japanese girl in a classic Saint Laurent number, strutting about the upper side of New York to the sounds of On The Street Where You Live. Nat King Cole’s version, not Vic Damone’s. The taste was as interesting as the imagination. The succulent oyster drenched in flavoursome ponzu was already a baring, natural masterpiece by itself.

Just found joy,
I’m as happy as a baby boy, baby boy...

Meeting Sweet Lorraine was perhaps one of Nat King Cole’s many joys. Despite being a cover of an all-time jazz favourite, it was an infectious, joyful rendition. Like meeting the much talked-about Feuillete Of Anago With Foie Gras and Artichoke Puree. Not mentioned in the menu were a generous amount of shitake mushrooms and crackling pastry (filo, perhaps) to sum up a stunning starter. A bite of the perfectly seared foie gras, combined with the rich anago, savoury artichoke puree, mushrooms and crackling texture of the pastry was sensational.

With another brand new choo-choo choy,
When I met my sweet Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorraine.

Now when it’s rainin’,
I don’t miss the sun,
Because it’s in my baby’s smile...
(Another verse from Sweet Lorraine.)

Joy is indeed infectious. Applicable to tantalising starters as well, apparently. Another starter from Sage; Cold Fedellini with Hon Maguro and Bottarga which translated to an interesting mesh between olive oil marinated bluefin tuna slices and lightly seasoned, al dente strands of pasta. A creative combination of colours and tastes that worked. Not to be forgotten were the light touches of wasabi and avocado dices. And there was the expensive caviar that made the difference.

New on the menu was the Confit Of Muscovy Duck Leg With Sauteed Scallion, apparently a replacement for the guinea fowl. Cooked to perfection, the meat was soft and flavourful. The piece of handsomely seared foie gras accessorising the duck was unexpected as it was not mentioned in the menu. A pleasant surprising indeed and as Tony Bennett would put it, "Oh, the good life...".

Choosing a Beatles song to suit the ambiance at Sage is quite challenge, to be honest. The closest that comes to mind is Michelle. Or the ever-relevant low tempo tune, And I Love Her. A slightly humorous description of the feeling towards the Rump Steal With Carrot Puree And Anchovy Sauce, this. From a cut of the Wagyu type, the meat tasted fresh and subtly sweet which contrasted well with the dense, savoury anchovy sauce. Parts of the flaky beef, with bits of fat (or collagen) still stuck to the meat, were topped with a carrot puree. Tasted almost pumpkin-like, the slightly sweet puree was a good diversion from the savoury anchovy sauce.

And I love her.

Joanna was the girl who made the man a child again, the one Scott Walker couldn't forget. "She'll always be just a tear away", he sang.

Life would have been much easier had Mr. Walker loved the Warm Chocolate Biscuit With Chestnut, Nougat and Rum Ice Cream instead, just like all Sage regulars. Apparently, this is the unofficial signature dessert that patrons come back to. The biscuit was actually embedded under a warm chocolate cake of optimal sweetness.

The Almond Blanc Manger With Mango Sorbet And Passion Fruit dessert was as sweet as the melodies of Te Quiero Dijiste. An explosion of textures; crunchy caramelised wafer, smooth crushed ice, soft manger and bits of gelatin. All of different but complementing levels of sweetness.

Pairing it with a glass of selected sweet house wine was like blending King Cole's voice to the song. Magical.

A cup of tea and a piece of the castella-like biscuit ended the impressive showcase of culinary expressions at Sage. And it would have been perfect had King Cole's Let There Be Love was played instead of the repeat of The Look Of Love cover.

Then again, a tasteful experience goes beyond music and words. It's all about the chemistry of things. And Sage excelled in that aspect.


The Gardens Residences
6th Floor, The Gardens
Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:(+603) 2268 1188

* The gourmet dinner set costs RM140 nett; inclusive of a chef's special of the day, an appetizer, a main course, a dessert (excluding the house wine mentioned above) and coffee/tea.

* And to Lyrical Lemongrass, thanks for the wonderful evening of stories and laughters! I still think that Dusty Springfield's version of The Look Of Love is better than Diana Krall's. Haha!

Romantic experiences at Sage:
Lyrical Lemongrass
Cumi & Ciki


CUMI & CIKI said...

oh.. i agree.. you are talking about ABC's rite? It's the look... the look of love ! great write up... one question.. did we meet at Sage.. lol:D

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

aiyoh im dying to eat here..shit shit..i really need to make a reservation already..argh!!!

Life for Beginners said...

Songs to go with my supper... what a sensation!

I have to agree with Nipple Joe lah... I'm dying to eat here but not cos of its "pre-reputation" (ala Cilantro), rather cos of your inimitible style of description...

If some write foodporn, you surely write foodromance, no? :)

mimid3vils said...

The steak is too raw for my liking~~

PS: Your photos make the food look so yummy :) U bring ur DSLR everytime u go out ar?

Big Boys Oven said...

looks lovely, is the food looks better than the photos taken or the photos looks better then the food? . . . . any I am gonna taste the really one lol!

fatboybakes said...

i am SOOOO jealous! did you eat all that by yourself? WOW!!!
what was the damage?
fantastic write up as always....

Nic (KHKL) said...

cumi & ciki, lar, not the ABC version. the 1960's version actually.. :D but i guess it's still about the look of love lar..hehe...thanks for the compliment! glad u liked it!

and no lar, we din meet in Sage. if yes, i would have popped over and said hi! hehe...from the angle of your shots i think we sat at the same table lar. woohoo!

joe, when i was there last saturday night, there were still many tables available. but heard it can get kinda crowded as well. looking forward to your post on sage!!!

kenny, woah, i'm so flattered by your compliments ar! thanks, dude! :) music does that to people, doesnt it? inspiring, i mean. when i heard The Look Of Love playing at Sage, i almost knew that i wanted to do it this way...hehe..very shiok-sendiri hor? hehe

foodromance? i recently learnt a new word called bromance. but foodromance? woah! deep! but i guess we all like a little porn sometimes, dont we? foodporn, i mean...hehehe

mimi, the steak was medium. i liked it that way cos it's more tender... but sometimes, i like mine well-done as well. :)

hehe, yupe, i bring my baby dslr every time i go, if you see an old uncle shooting food with a Nikon D40X, that might be me...and say hi, ok? :)

bigboysoven, woah, deep! but i guess the food tasted really good! better than my pics :) especially the anago.foie gras starter...delicious!!! even the bread as check out! :)

fatboybakes, no lar...i went with the goddess of blogging realm, lyrical lemongrass...we ordered 2 gourmet sets...the damage? hmmmm, i think it's about RM348 or sumthing liddat...thanks for the compliment! king cole's playing in my head since yesterday! haha! aiyah, no need jealous. we go again lar, ok? :)

ling239 said...

i want the Foie Gras and the beef!!!
the beef must be very succulent and tender....^_^

mel^^mel said...

my god.. everything just look so good... slurrrp....

Simon Seow said...

Just above MTM Custom Blend Facial, the place I go for facial treatment lol. RM 140, gulp, if bring a date means RM 280 T_T

Shell (貝殼) said...

sifu sifu, can teach me how to take such a nice & sharp photos?

Nic (KHKL) said...

ling239, oh yes! the foie gras was good!!! and the beef was succulent and tender! :) the anchovies sauce was slightly too dense but overall, yummy!!! do give it a try, ya! :)

mel^^mel, hey, thanks for stopping by! :) hehehe...yupe, the food looked and tasted good! :) i can still remember the taste of the anago/foie gras starter...hehehe

simon seow, woah! you go for facial treatment one ar? wah liao wei! but i'm sure it costs more than RM140, right? hehehehe....oh, actually, can order ala carte as well. :)

Shell (貝殼), aiyoh, i'm no sifu lar...*malu*..hehehe...well, i believe the important thing is to hold the camera as steady as possible. something i still need to learn. especially when my hands shake cos i'm hungry and there's a a plate of delicious food in front of me..hehehe...

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Who woulda thought you had all those songs playing in your head that night! Brrrrrr. :-P Great writeup, though. I shall bookmark it for future reference (and also to remind myself to order the damn blancemanger instead of going for mass appeal). were great company.

backstreetgluttons said...

form the romantic 樂府 of the 3 kingdoms to the sitramahaj of the el agra to the o blue eys , you got em all covered well done...

unwithstanding the heightened Emperors' Sages now demanding impatiently you take some upper case shots of the secret now no more secret Gardens especially the grey twigs and yellow petals which you have discreetedly missed

Nic (KHKL) said...

lyrical lemongrass, haha! well, music is kinda filling sometimes...the moment i heard that look of love song, i knew i had to include it somemore...hehe...ohhh, i think you will be able to taste the blanc manger again real soon...hehe...hey, thanks for the all the jokes and kisah benars...haha!!!

backstreetgluttons, thank kew, thank kew! there are still many unknown boundaries that we mortals should savour in the taste of mankind, the taste of life. and yes, my Sage Emperors, i shall oblige and journey on to the quest for the other half of the all pictures...the upper half of the missing shall be done...for when there's head, there's tale..and tail.

BiologicalClockTicking said...

Another Foodie!!! :) I guess we malaysian bloggers contribute a lot to the makan GDP of the country.

Well done, will certainly checkout yr blog for more great food places! :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

biologicalclockticking, hehehe, i agree with you. eat more to grow...thanks for the compliment, dude! see ya around! :)

Keropok Man said...

I am tempted by the itik! :-p

Nic (KHKL) said...

keropok man, there's a similar one at robertson walk. i like that place a lot.

mahu pergi? mukabuku (FB) saya lar! hehehe...

ck lam said...

Hi Nic...I have browsed through your blog...It is so nicely done, with crystal sharp photos ( especially the glass of wine).

Nice photos with your sweet flowing words...its just Magical!

Btw...thanks for taking the time to drop by mine :)