Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar @ The Gardens, Mid-Valley KL

Sage Fine Dining KL

My better half booked us dinner at one of the best restaurants in KL during our weekend staycation at St Giles The Gardens. Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar isn’t directly affiliated with St Giles The Gardens but you can make reservations though them. They have a degustation menu (RM 398 per pax) and a gourmet menu (RM 298 per pax) when the chef is in but we were told Chef Daniel was in Sydney during the weekend.

Sage Restaurant Wine Bar

Sage KL serves a fusion of French and Japanese cuisine, and we saw a lot of interesting dishes on their website. I was quite surprised to see a lot of couples dining there. Most of the seats are for two, with several table arrangements for 4 pax in the middle. It has a view of KL for the tables flanking the restaurant and a view of the open kitchen for the tables in the center, where the chef would be working.

Sage Restaurant KL

The service was very attentive and patient, and we went for the Sage Menu (RM 218 per pax) which was the only option available. This allows you one (1) choice each of Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert from their a la carte menu. It’s essentially a 3-Course menu with Chef’s Appetizer and an Amuse Bouche.

Amuse Bouche

Sage Amuse Bouche

This was an interesting combination of diced salmon (raw) with macerated tomatoes and a citrus base. I thought it was decent enough, we actually thought the “Chef’s Appetizer” was the amuse-bouche but it turned out to be something else entirely.

Chef’s Appetizer

Grilled Scallops with Peaches and Walnut Sauce

Grilled Scallops with Peaches

Amazing! To be honest, I was mildly disappointed by the amuse-bouche, it tasted good but it didn’t have the “Wow Factor”. This had it in spades. The scallops were grilled to perfection and we each had two (2) large medallions. It was paired with unpeeled slices of peach (which my dear thought was apples) and walnuts, which was genius – the peaches provide a sweet and slightly acidic element while the toasted walnuts mixed in a textural element.

Vieux Chateau des Templiers

I also had a glass of Vieux Château des Templiers, Pomerol (RM 65 per glass). It’s a 2007 vintage French wine. The wine list is quite comprehensive but they only sell by the bottle or half bottle. This is one of two red wines they sell by the glass – they also have 2 types of whites, for RM 62 and RM 65. It’s quite good, with depth and a nose of dark berries.

Appetizer

Feuillete of Anago with Foie Gras and Cèpes Mushroom Veloute

Anago with Foie Gras and Cepes Mushroom

Anago is a salt water eel (vs unagi, which is a fresh water eel) and it’s cooked just the way I like it. There’s also a generous slab of foie gras on the plate, which I ate smeared on top of the freshly baked bread that was put in front of us during the start of the dining session. The cèpes mushrooms were wonderful! I gave my dear a taste and she really liked the mushrooms too. The feuillete pastry is under everything, it’s de-constructed so they can put more anago and foie gras inside (plus it looks better). Very well thought-out dish. I was very happy with my pick.

Warm Capellini Pasta with Trio of Seafood and Seven Flavor Chilli Pepper

Capellini Pasta with Trio of Seafood

This was my dear’s choice. She gave me a taste just after I had my first mouthful and the strong flavors overwhelmed my palate! I couldn’t eat any more if I were to enjoy my milder and creamier starter. It is very yummy though – the perfect starter, if you think about it. The chillis makes your mouth water and want more and the juicy large king prawns and scallops sealed the deal. It’s quite unfortunate that they ran out of Maine lobsters that night so there’s only two types of seafood inside. This was conveyed to us before we ordered but my better half still wanted this as a contrast to my dish so they gave her more prawns.

Main Course

Wasabi Crusted Wagyu Cheek with Flat Beans and Carrot Puree

Wasabi Crusted Wagyu Cheek

Flawless! I loved the freshly grated wasabi crust on my tender Waygu Beef Cheek. The beef cheek was so perfectly cooked that I can slice through it like a hot knife through butter! There’s plenty of fat and collagen inside and this was such a rich main that I had problems finishing it. The carrot puree was slightly too wet according to my partner, but I liked everything on the dish. I just wish there was more wasabi to cut through the richness of the Wagyu cheek – the saving grace was my glass of red wine, or else I’ll wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Confit of Ikejime Sea Grouper with Abalone and Iwanori Butter Sauce

Ikejime Sea Grouper with Abalone

My better half had this for her main. It’s quite ingenious, except a bit on the small side for a main dish portion. The abalone is sliced and scattered on top of the sea grouper fillet and it tasted quite good to me. Ikejime is actually a method of paralyzing fish to maintain its freshness, which originated in Japan. A spike is inserted into the hind brain, causing immediate brain death and preventing reflex action like muscle movement which would consume ATP and produce lactic acid to make the fish sour.

Dessert

Classic Crepe Suzette with Orange Segment and Grand Marnier Ice Cream

Crepe Suzette with Grand Marnier

My better half chose this for her dessert. The Grand Marnier ice cream is delightful – it actually tasted like Grand Marnier! However, the crepe suzette was disappointing. She did not even finish it and I was too full to finish it for her. I thought the Soufflé of the Day (which is also made with Grand Marnier) would have been a better choice.

Fresh Berries with Champagne Sabayon and Vanilla Ice Cream

Fresh Berries with Champagne Sabayon

I liked the vanilla ice cream, which is made with real vanilla pods. The fresh berries were altogether too sour and the champagne sabayon made it even more so. It’s a very tart dish and while it looks slightly more appealing than my partner’s choice, I had trouble finishing it too and left the rest uneaten. The dessert were the only disappointments during our visit.

Sage KL

We were also served a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and petit fours (chocolate and nougat dusted with cacao powder) were presented to us at the end of the meal. The service was flawless, the food was well thought out and executed, and we had a delicious dinner at Sage. However, the only downside were the desserts – both of our desserts failed to impress and we were left wanting.

Petit Four

Nevertheless, we had a great night and we enjoyed most of the food that was served here. The bill came up to RM 535++ for the both of us, inclusive of a bottle of Sole Sparkling Water and my glass of wine (which was charged separately). Thanks for the wonderful dinner, dear! <3 It was a great experience and I can see why Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar is consistently voted as one of the best restaurants in KL.

6 things we did during our Raya staycation

1. Had dinner at one of the best restaurants in KL

Sage KL

My better half surprised me with this treat. It’s actually the second most expensive meal we’ve ever had in KL (the first being the Michelin star Le Gavroche chef who came to town) but I thought it was worth it. Delicious appetizers and mains – thanks for booking us dinner at Sage dear.

2. Watched Ant-Man

Ant-Man

I’ve been wanting to watch Ant-Man for a long time. We even had passes to the premiere screening but missed it coz I thought it was the next day. Thus, I got ourselves Premier Class tickets (RM 63) at The Gardens to go watch the movie. I had actually wanted Gold Class but my dear thought it was too expensive. It used to cost RM 40 per pax but that’s the price of Premier Class now – Gold Class is double.

GSC Premier Class

It’s still quite an exclusive viewing experience though – the seats are all couple seats, which you can remove the middle partition so you can snuggle up together. That’s actually a *necessity* since the air-conditioning was so cold everyone in the Premier Class cinema was shivering. It’s still better than watching it in their regular cinemas though, this is a more intimate environment where no one talks loudly or uses their mobile phones – the higher ticket prices weeds out most badly behaved cinema goers. Ant-Man was awesome, a nice conclusion to Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

3. Ate escargots and drank Valrhona hot chocolate

Yeast Mid-Valley

We had lunch at a Parisian style bistro/bakery which also serves wine. I had Escargots a la Bourguignonne while my dear had a ham and cheese croissant (Croissant au Jambon et au Fromage). This was our lunch the day we checked in, she also had a Valrhona hot chocolate – we bought a lot of the famous French chocolate a while back, it’s not for kids, their single origin stuff is utterly bitter, in a good way.

4. Walked around the mall

Lifejuice Gardens

We loaded up with fresh cold pressed juice before spending most of the day walking around the mall. My dear wanted to get a clutch bag and we went to most of the stores in The Gardens and Mid-Valley but couldn’t find one that she wanted. I was secretly observing at what kind of bags she was looking at so I could KIV for our anniversary. smirk

Lifejuice

The Sun Kissed Stress Reliever (RM 13) is a mixture of ginger, red apple, pineapple, orange, carrot and grapefruit in a glass bottle. I liked the Nutty Professor Energy Booster (hazelnut, almond, cashew, soy milk, raw cacao, Medjool dates) and 50 Shades of Grey Stamina Booster (Earl Grey team hazelnut, Himalayan salt, coconut, agave necter) too.

5. Chilled in our hotel room

St Giles Gardens

I booked a room as St Giles The Gardens, the best hotel among the 3 at Mid-Valley. I also considered Pullman Bangsar (which has a shuttle service to Mid-Valley) but ultimately wanted to stay at Mid-Valley itself since we were out almost the entire day!

6. Had a hearty breakfast

Antipodean

This was at Antipodean, which my better half wanted to try. It was decent and cheap (relatively) fare but not as good as their original Bangsar Telawi II outlet, probably due to the huge crowd here. We had to wait five (5) minutes in queue while we got seated and that’s considered a very quick seating. The service was good though and I quite liked my order of Eggs Marlborough with Salmon.

I think we spent only 10 hours or so total in our room but it was fun and we got to spend the time with each other during our staycation. :)

Our Hari Raya Aidilfitri Staycation @ St Giles The Gardens

The Gardens Hotel

I decided to surprise my better half with a night at a local hotel during the long holiday weekend. Yup, it’s our biannual staycation, where we spend a night (or two) at a KL or PJ hotel and chill, eat and shop. My better half suggested Mid Valley this time but I don’t really like Cititel Hotel (although it’s the cheapest option, the rooms reek of cigarette smoke).

MidValley Gardens

Thus, it’s down to St Giles Boulevard or St Giles The Gardens. The latter is slightly more grand, a step up in both standards and price so I splurged a little and went for that. The rooms are significantly larger than St Giles Boulevard (27 sq m) and make the ones at Cititel Mid Valley (18 sq m) look almost like closets. smirk

St Giles The Gardens

All three hotels are managed by the same people – it’s supposed to be for different segments of the market with St Giles The Gardens as the premier choice, with larger rooms (38 sq m). I paid USD 116.26 (RM 442.35 per night) for our room and thought I overpaid coz I forgot to switch the currency to MYR. It turns out that MYR was even more expensive at RM 452 so it’s a good thing I have a PayPal account with USD inside.

St Giles The Gardens Rooms

I almost went for the 72 sq m 1 bedroom suite which is about RM 80 more but I ended up going for a deluxe room instead and the extra cash went towards a single glass of wine (more on that later).

St Giles The Gardens Us

It was a lot of fun, we crammed all the things couples do into a 24 hour period – ate at a restaurant rated as one of the best in KL, watched a movie we’ve missed and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great and relaxing staycation, plus we managed to stay within the budget of RM 1,500 for everything – can’t wait to do it again! :)

I’ll write more soon.

Our biannual staycation in KL!

Hotel Royal

We have made a tradition of taking time out to do a staycation (which refers to staying at a local hotel, not staying at home) twice a year in addition to our yearly overseas trips (Melbourne last year and Frankfurt and Paris this year) and our shorter trips like to Hat Yai about a month ago.

Pavilion KL

You could say that travelling is our passion in life. :)

Timelapse Hotel

It’s actually a lot of fun and you get to experience the city where you live from a visitor’s perspective!

Hotel Royal KL

This time around, we stayed at Hotel Royal in Kuala Lumpur and basically:

Staycation Food

1. Ate a lot of food

Mamma Mia Musical KL

2. Caught a musical

Blurry Photo

3. Enjoyed each other’s company.

Staycation 2014

I’ll write more tomorrow, part of the purpose of having a staycation is to get away from the daily things you do and not do anything remotely work related. smirk

Posted: 10:38 pm Kuala Lumpur time

8 things I got for Chinese New Year

cny 2014

Chinese New Year is coming up! Here’s 8 things (a very auspicious number) I bought for Chinese New Year:

1. CNY Hamper – Majestic Spring

hamper cny

I got this hamper for my dear’s family. There are heaps of hampers at BIG in Publika and I wanted to get one that doesn’t contain a lot of cookies (coz she already makes them). This hamper is called Majestic Spring.

cny hamper

I like how the hampers nowadays are packaged with this wrap – it makes it look nicer than the old “pyramid” style hampers. Her parents have been absolutely bang on awesome to me and I thought that the least I can do is send a hamper their way as a token of my appreciation.

2. Pineapple Tarts from Maxim, Hong Kong

maxim cny cakes

This is a wonderful CNY metal gift set from the famous Maxim bakery in HK. They have two versions – one contains biscuits and cookies (sold out) and the other is pineapple tarts (there’s only a couple left and I got one). It’s mahjong themed so each pineapple tart is shaped like a mahjong tile and *individually wrapped* with the tile picture! It’s RM 88 per box though.

cny cookies

My dear also baked my family some awesome Chinese New Year cookies! Thanks for that! <3 3. Jeep Trainers

jeep shoes

No, I didn’t get myself a Jeep! Haha! These are their footware apparel. Jeeps were used during World War II – it played the role that Humvees are playing in theatres of war today. That’s the interesting fact of the day, if you didn’t know it already.

jeep

I got myself a pair of trainers at just RM 149. It’s 50% off from it’s original RM 300 price tag. I reckon it’s a good buy, it’s my footware for CNY!

4. Sanbanto Pork Jerky

sanbanto bakua

I nearly didn’t manage to get the coveted organic Sanbanto pork jerky made from free-range pigs with no added preservatives. It’s RM 48 for the minced ba kua and RM 49.50 for the sliced pork jerky. It sold out real quick!

sanbanto pork jerky

Luckily, I managed to secure myself six (6) packs – 3 of each type. You just can’t get it now, they sell out really fast! The individually wrapped packages you see are already booked and ready for collection. I told my dear I’ll get her these last year and I gave her some this year! :)

5. Arrowhead Chips

arrowroot-= chips

Yup, this is the famous ngaku chips. It’s made from arrowroot. I can never figure out why these are so popular. My dad even got some from Kuching at RM 19. Mine was cheaper at RM 11.

6. Dorothy Perkins

dorothy perkins cny

I *didn’t* suddenly decide that I’m a female trapped inside a male’s body. I’m *not* saving up for gender reassignment surgery. I just wanted to get my dear some CNY clothes! smirk

dorothy perkins

She had bought me my Chinese New Year shirts and I wanted to buy her some too! I wanted to get her shoes as well but she didn’t see anything she liked.

7. Oink Floss

oink floss

Pork floss! It’s a must for CNY! I got three flavors – pork, chilli pork and seaweed pork. It’s RM 16 per can but I got it for RM 45 for 3.

8. Empurau Fish

ikan empurau

This is the (in)famous empurau fish from Sarawak! I saw it on sale while driving my dad and aunties out for a spot of CNY shopping just now. It’s *notorious* for being expensive, the prices are driven up by consumer demand over here since rich tycoons snap them up as if they’re going out of style.

empurau fish

This empurau fish is slightly longer than 1 meter and costs thousands. It’s the most expensive fish here, much more expensive than white cod, due to the unique qualities of the flesh – it doesn’t degrade much after chucking it into the freezer.

I’m neither rich nor a tycoon so unfortunately I didn’t get it. I was sorely tempted to but we don’t even have a steamer big enough to cook it. Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :D

I found Finnish fireworks for sale in KL!

jewel of the nile

This is the first fireworks post of Chinese New Year! Well, it’s close to CNY anyway. I found this fountain / cake hybrid at the local market at a list price of RM 28 each. It’s called Niilin Jalokivet (Jewel of the Nile) and the quality of the packaging is like none I’ve seen before!

finland fireworks

The wrap details the optimal viewing distance (30 meters), minimum viewing distance (10 meters) and even how long it lasts! It says to *expect 20 seconds* of fireworks from this tall fountain and aerial repeater from Finland. I found the amount of information very impressive.

finnish fireworks detail

I got this at the local market. I’ve always found KL to be a bit dry in terms of fireworks and firecrackers compared to my hometown of Sibu. I managed to get 2 of this for RM 30, making it RM 15 each. There are firework cakes (multi-shot aerial barrages) listed for RM 780 (!!!) which I can get for RM 250 in Sibu.

fireworks in kl

I also saw the cheap generic 8888 Chinese firecrackers (usually RM 8 – got some during CNY eve) which doesn’t have the finish and sheer girth of the RM 200+ premium Chinese firecrackers selling for RM 25 here. The stuff here is 3x the price of what we pay in Sibu retail stalls (comparing apples to apples).

niilin jalokivet fireworks

I just wanted to let it off for my better half though, since CNY is coming soon, so I lit one across the road and another one closer to the house, which toppled. Luckily the Niilin Jalokivet doesn’t shoot up very high – 12 feet at it’s max.

There’s a center tube acting as a fountain and 8 + 2 tubes surrounding it which shoots up balls of flaming fire and whistling sparks respectively. It reminds me of the smaller version of the popular old perennial Desert at Night.

fireworks tubes

It’s not too bad, but we’re used to paying much lower prices. It was still a good find though, the fireworks display was pretty awesome, especially the first one I let off, which didn’t topple over halfway. Haha!

niilin jalokivet

I just let it off last night after dinner. I always feel like Chinese New Year is around the corner when I start playing with fireworks. :)

The Stall with No Name – great herbal chicken

stall no name

There is a stall in town that doesn’t have a name but serves up great herbal chicken twice a day. The operation is quite quaint and rather appealing in a sense – tables are lined along the side of a narrow lane and you can practically see flora growing out of cracks in the centuries-old building.

quaint operation

The food choices are quite simple – there’s herbal chicken drumstick (which I highly recommend) and stewed pork (which doesn’t taste good to me). They both cost RM 6.

herbal chicken stall

All the provisions for washing up and cooking is located right by the stall itself. The clientèle consists of office workers around the area, according to the proprietor.

roadside food stall

The herbal chicken is cooked in aluminium foil and this retains a lot of the moisture of the drumstick.

reconstituted pork

The meat for the stewed pork on the other hand is picked from a container and then mixed with hearty broth from a large simmering pot by the side. I don’t think much of “reconstituted meals” like this – it works for some items, but not pork, since what comes out will be one tough piece of un-kosher meat.

herbal chicken

I am hugely impressed by the herbal chicken though. The tasty broth bursts out of the foil when it’s opened and the hot, hearty soup goes very well with rice – it’s very salty.

lane stall

The chicken is ultra-tender too – the meat literally falls apart from the bone when you pick one up. Delicious, and a rather good find in the alleyways of KL.

great herbal chicken

The Stall with No Name is located in Lorong Bandar 4. It’s open from 10 am – 3 pm and then again from 5 pm to 10 pm. Go for the mouth-watering tender herbal chicken. :D

Kim and Gareth’s wedding @ The Saujana Hotel

kim gareth wedding

The first thing I noticed was the K&G for Kimberly and Gareth ice sculptures which dominates the entrance to the ballroom where the wedding was held. There’s also an archway above with roses – nice touch, that.

candy station

This is my favorite bit – there’s lots of nostalgic candy with witty place cards at the lounge where wedding guests can help themselves to.

sweet station

I haven’t had some of these since I was in primary school! It certainly brings back fond memories.

wedding registrar

…so much so I had a brain fart while writing the guest book. Lives, not lifes. -_-

kim gareth wedding rules

Kim and Gareth’s wedding was held at The Saujana Hotel last Saturday on the 27th October. I was there at 6:30 pm for the cocktail reception.

vintage coke

Vintage Coke bottles from Thailand.

yee haw

Here’s Yee Hau with Yee Haw! That’s the tag for the haw flakes of our childhood.

childhood candy

Rabbit Candy! Anyone remember these? I still love them.

kim gareth replacements

I think this was a really great idea too – having photo cutouts to take photos with while the bride and groom were busy, very tongue-in-cheek. Heh.

volleyball

The wedding favors on the table were hugely popular too – we had an impromptu game of volleyball while waiting for it to start, made by Nicholas with the goo you can blow up into a balloon (also an artifact of 80’s babies – we had them in school).

kimberly gareth wedding

Kim and Gareth both had speeches going and I thought it was really nice, what they said, weddings always makes me feel good.

chinese wedding food

There’s also an 8 course dinner, with the soup dish called “Save the Sharks Seafood Soup” – obviously no fins in there but it tastes surprisingly good with the mini abalone and other seafood inside and it’s a great departure from traditional wedding soups by being clear, yet flavorful.

A lot of us at the table went for second helpings, myself included…and I’m not even a fan of soup.

yamazaki single malt whisky

I love the single malt whisky that was offered too – had a dram each of Yamazaki 12 y/o and a The Glenrothers Select Reserve. I preferred the latter, despite the novelty of drinking a Japanese single malt whisky – it had more character and complexity.

yam seng

Here’s the obligatory table-to-table yam seng session!

kim gareth hb

…and a photo with the (real) bride and groom at the end. Hope you have a wonderful life ahead together, Kim and Gareth! :)

Pilfered breakfast in bed

pilfered breakfast

Bread: Near expiry locally made potato buns picked up from 7-Eleven several days ago
Spread: Pina Colada jam from Club Med, Phuket which is still edible, much to my surprise
Utensils: Disposable cup noodle fork (I eat two at once and keep the spare)
Tea: Gryphon’s English Breakfast Tea (from hotel’s complimentary array) brewed in a cheap ceramic cup with a knockoff design that was a free gift from a twin giant pack toothpaste purchase and a mini thermo lid which I have lost the receptacle from where it came

I was surprised at what I could dig up at home from basically nothing, creating food out of thin air. I’m still lazing around, reading an ebook and I reckon I’ll continue doing that. I haven’t even finished my breakfast, I just came over to write this. Heh.

breakfast in bed

It’s the breakfast of kings! :D

I ate someone’s sweat

spit

Okay, I was on my way back home late last night when something very disgusting happened. I’ve posted about it on Facebook but I wanted it here for posterity…

…coz it’s really disgusting. :x

I’m still a bit grossed out by what happened last night – this security guard I was trailing to get directions on where my car is took off his cap and brushed his sweaty hair before I could tap him on the shoulder and say excuse me.

Obviously, this resulted in surprisingly copious amounts of sweat being flicked to my face and inside my open mouth. (!!!)

I got the directions but it left a bad taste in my mouth. ;)

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