Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sage 2008

Revisits in this blog usually mean that there was something that I liked about a particular place and that it was worth some effort getting another post up. Sage (11 Unity Street, #02 -12 Robertson Walk, S237995, tel:6333 8726) was one of the places which I've eaten in a couple of previous occasions and by far, the restaurant has always had something up their menu that had impressed me to a point whereby I tell myself I'd like to come back. So I'm back here today because I said "I'd like to come back" the last time I was here for dinner.

That being said, I'd like to venture into the topic of consistency in a restaurant. That was something Anthony Bourdain has mentioned once to be an important trait (I personally feel it is under rated) that should be ironclad because that would be what customers return for. A remembered experience that they would like to re-live again through revisiting. Needless to say, we're not talking about the bad experiences unless one has fetish for such.

Being well liked (by me at least) doesn't spare a restaurant from the ever present challenge of maintaining consistency. Service would be the least I figure, of the consistency issue. Speaking of which, service at Sage was very pleasant and still teemed with what I define as a human touch. The friendliness was never mechanical or cold. Culinary standards has a larger variable factor for which an experience of a restaurant is measured. These are affected by availability of ingredients, the skills of the chef and cooks, discipline in the kitchen and numerous strings of chaos theory which sometimes cannot be foreseen. The food would also be the one of the more memorable faces since it is essentially, the core of a restaurant's business. I'm quite glad that the variables at Sage do not stray far.

amuse bouche of chilled green pea soup with lemon cream and lumpfish caviar

Compounded with increasing expectations, subjective individual tastes and the rants on the web, much of the sense from all the previous rationale above is lost. But I rant senselessly...

...on with the dinner and the poor pictures my phone camera can manage in subdued lightings.

The Appetizers
A risotto of Burgundy escargot and tiger prawns flambéed with pastis, Parmesan crusted poached egg and Italian parsley foam

Pan-seared duck foie gras with roasted Granny Smith apple mille-feuille crusted with walnuts, fig compote and spiced glaze of port wine and balsamico

The parsley foam looked subdued and it made me assume that the kitchen either took too long to plate or that the foam wasn't done the way it should have been. Otherwise, the risotto which was filled with bits of prawn, snails an bits of parsley. I remembered their foie gras being creamier and had a more crisp surface previously. The char was done better then too. Today felt flakey. I preferred the accompaniment of the apple puree then to this apple mille-feuille and the old pistachio crust was also decidedly more fragrant. Still it was a pretty nice foie gras.

The Soups
Chestnut mousseline topped with double boiled consommé of oxtail, parmentier of oxtail meat with shavings of black truffle

Veloute of butternut pumpkin topped with pistachio froth, confit of foie gras and Navel orange marmalade

I felt the compelling need to do some justice to the soup here by extolling the sublime virtues of their flavours. Lol. Starting with the oxtail consomme, which was interesting pairing of the crystal clear savoury broth topped with it's foam and a sprinkle of fragrant pepper... with a rich sweet creaminess of the chestnut mousseline. The oxtail consomme reminded of a richer chicken essence while chestnut was simply luxuriant and not overly sweet. Impressive. The butternut veloute was piping hot and likewise, a cup of sweet richness like the oxtail consomme. I could certainly return just for the soups.

The experience of the soups here cannot be recreated by words alone. One has to experience it.

The Mains
Australian grain fed lamb short loin with a cassoulet of summer beans scented with garlic, thyme and lardons, crispy Parmigiano Reggiano and Roma tomato puree

Charcoal grilled U.S. Black Angus beef sirloin resting on pommes gratin topped with horseradish cream, glazed vegetables with smoked bacon and jus gras

In honesty, I was slightly disappointed with the mains. While I didn't have much in the way of complains and the doneness was quite spot on, I thought it could have been better. The lamb could have tasted stronger and I've decided that sirloin isn't so much my cut. I'll take a tenderloin and ribeye anytime. Still there were winners in the form of the crispy Parmigiano Reggiano and the potato gratin topped with charred cheese.


Ben said...

the foam is not done right.. pretty cool how they use words like parmentier for potatoes. not many use that term.

ladyironchef said...

wow! sage! hahaha. how much does it cost you in the pocket? : )

LiquidShaDow said...

This was about $200.