(no pork served)
Hallmarks of a great Chef differs from person to person. If I were to pick 3, it will be
1. Excellent Cooking Technique
2. Attention to detail including the choice of ingredients
3. Creativity and Passion
Cooking technique can be perfected if there is a right instructor and through practice. Attention to detail and using the finest ingredients are possible with adequate financial resources to back up the chef. Creativity and Passion. This is the most difficult to attain. Years of cooking school, hours behind the stove, all the money in the world cannot buy you creativity and passion. If you would like to taste a good Vichyssoise soup, that's not difficult. Can't find it in KL? Fly to Paris and dine in Le Cinq or Alain Ducasse. But to find Sashimied Hokkaido Scallops in the soup with artichoke puree? A stroke of pure genius with a streak of arrogance and in your face kind of nonchalance, available only at Sage.
One must have considerable confidence and a perfect understanding of occidental and oriental cuisine before presenting such twists and artful combination of both. The focal point of convergence at Sage is the artistry and skill in creating beautiful, inspiring dishes that are breath taking both in it's audacity and the successful fusion of tastes.
This week's menu may seem a little bit sedate and less adventurous, but be assured that it was still a culinary adventure. I started off with Seared Salmon with Asparagus and Aonori Sabayon. Perfectly seared top grade salmon, with a slightly raw centre served with Aonori (Japanese Seaweed) in the creamy Sabayon Sauce. The Sabayon here is not the light and souffle like version. The version here is heavier (I can hear purists screaming sacrilege!) and creamy and rich, and the sauce and seaweed blends perfectly with the rich creamy taste of Salmon. Very Japanese inspired, and I could taste a touch of Teriyaki in the Salmon which lent it some saltiness as well.
I chose the beef for mains. One more reason for dining here is that the lunch menu is limited to 2 choices each for the starters, mains and dessert. It's like dining at home, just eat what Mama cooks. I never know what's being served the next week and go there for a surprise. Being a very picky eater, I would not have ordered fish if I was given a wider choice. Going to Sage has opened up my mind and allowed me to taste what I would forgo in another situation and thus deprive myself from the many gastronomic wonders and adventures.
Grilled Angus with Braised Daikon and Yuzukoshou. It's easy to get a good piece of beef in KL nowadays as compared to 15 years ago. Many great steak houses offer a myriad of choice prime cut beef from every corner of the world. But to find grilled Angus served with braised Daikon (Japanese Radish) that has it's distinctive but slightly bland taste together with some mashed Yuzu (Japanese Citrus) would be difficult. The Yuzu has been spiced up with some spicy salt and has a sourish, tart and tangy taste with a dash of mint like freshness and mustard kind of pungency here. It served as a brilliant accompaniment to the rich beef and takes away the satiety of the beef. The daikon also neutralized the satiety as well.
Almond Nougat Glacè with Raspberry Sorbet was my choice for Dessert. The glacè was rich and sublime and the Raspberry Sorbet is what you'd expect from perfection. Lovely, fruity and tart with the right balance of sourness, it was a splendid sorbet that matched the glacè exquisitely.
I'll be off somewhere to work for the next two weeks, and if you were to ask me what I'll miss the most about KL, I would say my weekly lunches at Sage, with it's understated elegance, Billie Holiday/Sarah Vaughn playing in the background and the wondrous food.
Other choices this week:
Patè en Croute of Duck with green Salad for Starter
Étuvée of Red Star Garoupa with Tsubagai and Cereliac for Mains
Gardens Hotel and Residences