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.

Dragon cod poached in red wine and eggplant steaks

cod poached red wine

I found a nice piece of what’s called dragon cod at the huge fish supply market. It’s a 1/5 of the price of regular cod and the only English references I could find in Google is allegedly from a fast food place in China substituting it in their fish burgers. It’s called 龙鳕鱼 in Chinese.

cod dragon

Dragon cod is supposed to have fat that the human body cannot digest but I ate a piece of the sample (the tiny bit that comes in the package – you know, for like tuna) raw and it tasted fine to me.

cod okra

I ate it like that coz it’s from one of those huge fishing clearing house that can have much fresher produce than your local fishmonger.

dragon cod fish

It tasted really good and paying RM 12 instead of RM 58 for the same size sounds like it’s worth a try! :)

dragon cod

I pan-fried the dragon cod after patting it dry with serviettes. The good thing about dragon cod is that it has no bones (except for the obvious one) – much like a regular cod.

pan seared cod

However, it has a very high moisture content. I wanted to dry it sufficiently so it’ll have a nice sear on the fish steak.

red wine poaching

I used a lot of butter for frying the dragon cod. I initially wanted it to be served like that – with a reduced butter sauce before I saw a really old bottle of red wine in my fridge.

red wine cod

I poured the entire remainder of the Crimson Cabernet bottle into it – about 1/4. It’s a very sweet red wine. Think of the sweetest red one you’ve ever had and multiply it by a factor of 10 and you’ve got an idea of how this wine tastes like, which is why I couldn’t finish it.

red wine sauce

I let the dragon cod poach in the red wine for a while and then took it out and reduced the sauce before thickening it with some corn starch for some bubbling goodness that I spooned over the fish.

sliced okra

My other half was responsible for the eggplant steaks. She just sliced them down the middle…

fried okra

…seared them, and before

okra sauce

….made an awesome sauce of chopped garlic, shallots and chilli fried in oil to bring out the flavor.

okra steaks

It’s poured right on top for a delicious meal we ate together with rice! :)

cod red wine reduction

I’m quite proud of the dragon cod poached in red wine. It tasted really good, the taste of the sweet Cabernet still shines though in the sauce and the cod was flaky and moist!

3 survival meals made with leftovers and bread

I call this slightly tongue-in-cheek post the Vagabond Edition of my continuing bread story. smirk

Anyway, if you’re in strict budget mode these are some meals with bread that you can go with and it’s still quite tasty…in it’s own way. ;)

1. Bread with ketchup / chilli sauce

bread ketchup

I read Roald Dahl’s first biography – Boy as a kid and there’s an anecdote about his growing years inside. He and his mates ate sandwiches with just a dash of ketchup to give it a bit of flavor while one greedy individual had his full of pork and wouldn’t share. I distinctly remember the meat being bigger than the sandwich.

I did this with those small leftover single serve packages of chilli sauce I found at home. You can eat it with the same packets of ketchup too. It tastes rather good actually, especially if you have an egg to nibble on.

I had sandwiches with a fried egg and chilli sauce when I was in primary school and those were my absolute favorite! This reminds me a bit of that. ;)

2. Bread heaped with Milo / Ovaltine / any powdered malt drink

This is again another one from my childhood…and it tastes fabulous, but rather messy.

bread milo

It’s for those times when you’re sick of dunking it in a hot malt drink and wants a different texture. The trick we used to make the powdered drink “stick” to the sandwich is sweetened condensed milk as a kid.

However, I found that kaya works too and the grainy texture of the powdered malt drink is delicious on bread! :)

3. Bread with wine

People have been eating this for well over at least two thousand years…B.C. time. Jesus himself gave the last supper with bread and wine (albeit his was unleavened bread to conform with Jewish traditions at that time).

bread wine

Just generously anoint the bread with wine and savor it.

It’s surprisingly delicious! The wine is one I haven’t even tasted myself, it was opened ages ago and I was half afraid it had turned into vinegar! It hasn’t. It works best with red wine, chilled. The dates are correct, Anno Domini means Year of our Lord but He was born long after 1 A.D. – there’s a dating mistake somewhere along the line during the switch from Before Christ to AD, it’s 6-7 years off.

I reckon it’s a fitting one for Sunday too with the Eucharist and all that. :D

Denis Place cafe & restaurant review

denis place

Denis Place cafe & restaurant is a well-hidden gem in the old
part of town. Nestled between rows of old shop houses, this charming
restaurant manages to work with the existing infrastructure and create
a luxuriously decorated interior at the same time.

denis place interior

The ambience of Denis Place once you step into it is palpable. The
lighting is dim and diffused, and there are racks of wine everywhere.

denis place stairs

There is also a staircase leading to the upper dining section and
sections which have ceramic bowls filled with water and fresh flower
petals, as well as candles everywhere.

denis_place_decor.jpg

I love the effort spent into creating a warm ambience here…

denis place flame

Denis Place is very big on candles and flames, as you can see.

denis place wine blueberry

I had a glass of house red wine (RM 12) and a Blueberry Coolest Shake
(RM 8), which is a blueberries and ice cream blended drink. It’s nice
and creamy. My dining companion opted for the more conservative freshly
squeezed carrot juice (RM 14).

denis place house steak

She had the House steak (RM 21) for the main dish.

denis place house steak f

It’s the signature dish of Denis Place, with 250 grams of well-done
prime Australian mince meat, grilled with melted cheese and served with
fries and chilli cheese sauce. It’s alright, once you find the steak.
It’s there somewhere under the other adornments. ;)

denis place house sandwich

I had the House sandwich (RM 15), another Denis Place signature dish. This sandwich is huge…it’s impossible to open wide enough to get a bite. Seriously, it’s that good.

denis place house sandwich f

It’s a generous triple deck of toasted bread with salad, chicken, a whole fried egg, and beef bacon, served with crinkle fries.

denis shared dessert

We shared a dessert billed as Chocolate made in heaven,
with chocolate ice cream decked with pure chocolate fudge and Oreos for
RM 9. I was amazed by the sheer portion of the ice cream serving when
it came out…

denis place choc made in heaven

Behold! The Chocolate made in heaven in
all of its glory! Just look at that sinful concoction of Oreos
slathered with chocolate fudge in a huge bed of chocolate ice cream…

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