Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sage, Sage, Sage. Where do I begin?

Upon entering the premises, we were hit by the staleness in the air.

What’s that smell? Is it coming from the walls? Cramped dining interior? Damp air? The food??! I hope not. Part wet dog and plastic, I can’t put my finger to it. Whatever. Let’s just hold our breaths and order. Urp.

Then came the question, “Sparkling or still?”

“Tap please.”

“Sure ma’am. No problem.”

Score 1 for the quick and correct answer. And strike 1 for calling me ma’am. Lol! I kid.

The service was attentive. So overall, there are really no complaints there. It’s possible, I might’ve sensed a slight air of haughtiness from the main server but then decided to let it slide when she mispronounced amuse bouche. Guess you’re more nervous and new than you are smug.

We ordered the full degustation course to share, and the winter truffle and celeriac soup because I was craving something comforting.

First came the amuse bouche, a shotglass of watercress soup with lemon cream and caviar. Cold, buttery, rich and somewhat starchy. Nothing spectacular. There were no expectations, and therefore no disappointment to follow. It tasted kinda like the spinach soup I make at home, though mine is usually served warm in big bowls with a side of country bread.

Then came the salad. Whatever it was, it was clearly unforgettable because of the rancidness of the dish. Yes. I said it. Rancid. In an acclaimed restaurant. The baked strips of root vegetable just didn’t go with the random sprinkling of walnuts and grassy greens. Ech! And the rancidness! I couldn’t get over it. Like the smell of the place, it just wouldn't go away! Was it the nuts? Or the oil used for the vinaigrette? We couldn’t tell. But it left a bitter taste in our mouths and we decided to stop eating halfway. Yuck.

Along came the side order of soup with consommé. Ahh… Nice and hearty, with just enough truffle. Not bad.

Shortly after the seared Hokkaido scallop floating in green mouselline arrived at our table. Ok. I hate to use the same negative adjective over and over again, but this was NOT phenomenal. The bf commented that it was overcooked and yet not seared enough on the outside. Agreed. I feel like I’ve had better scallops at Hokkaido, or California for that matter.

Next please!

The quail came, and was probably the teeniest bird I’ve ever seen in my life. And yet again, I kid you not, it was floating in some kind of sauce. Where’s the creativity people???! *Yawn. The bird was nice and gamey though the chef must've been heavy with the salt rendering it difficult to eat after few bites. Strike 2.

The foie gras was served and I thought, "This is the defining moment." Being quick to adopt liver of all kinds, I let my guard down. The crumble was a nice departure from the usual brioche or toasts, so score 1 for creativity. While this was likely one of the better dishes at Sage, and I bet the chef knows it, it was still veiny and overly salty. Just a little less salt would’ve made ALL the difference. And I can't for the life of me understand how any dining establishment could get this wrong. Gotta love the generous portion, though a little more crumble wouldn't hurt.

Following that, I vaguely remember fish that came in a pale pool of sauce (again??!) and venison.

Course after course of forgettable dishes the bf started getting restless, and was already drumming his fingers. Mind you, we weren’t rushing off anywhere. He just “couldn’t take it anymore.”

So when the final dish came, we were somewhat relieved to be done with the whole ordeal, though it wasn't to end on a good note. Upon taking a bite of the porcini mushrooms that came with the veal, the bf lost his patience (and certainly manners along the way) and exclaimed, “these mushrooms taste like a cow’s anus!!!”

We paused for a split second, then burst into peals of laughter. What a pathetic dining experience!

When the blueberry chocolate dessert was placed before our eyes, we grudgingly reached for it with our forks. "How bad could chocolate be after all?" I said optimistically though I’ve never really explored the possibility of the chocolate and blueberry combo. Do these two even go well together? Right as I was, the mildness of blueberries was masked by the chocolate, which wasn’t even rich to begin with. Manjari huh? And the creme anglaise it was floating on (yes, I kid you not) left a film on the roof of your mouth.

There you go. Dinner at Sage? No deal.

I'm not an expert food reviewer by any means, but I feel like people should know what they're in for when they decide to spend decent money for a meal. How this place got an 8 in HungryGoWhere really makes me question the community’s palate.


agrasshopper said...

Where's Sage?

okwang83 said...

Bestie, how do I subscribe to your blog?

maameemoomoo said...

Sounds awful!

But we've dined there a couple of times and always, the food was great. Maybe the chef was having a bad day?

Or maybe.... i don't dine at fine establishments often enough :P

BUT then, our experience was before the move to the new location.

Danielle Bumblebee said...

swk: on mohamed sultan road where i work. it's right near the patissier, which is one of the better bakeries in sg!

livie: hey livie, u could click on the "Subscribe To" link right under the Macarune fanbox or just add the URL on your google reader (if that's what u're using)

cherie: it's possible he was having a bad day, but i doubt i'll go back to try :D shucks

Petrina said...

Wow sorry you had such a bad time at Sage! I will definitely let the staff know when I next go there (although it has been less frequent of late).

Btw, the food there is slightly different from before because the chef has changed. Chef Takashi has gone back to Cilantro so Sage is now headed by Chef Daniel.

I find Chef Daniel's food a bit on the heavy side and once some of the dishes were too salty. Some dishes such as the truffle pasta were really good though.

And, if you're comparing things like the scallops to ones in Hokkaido, sadly I dont think any restaurant in KL can compare! (That is we prefer going to Singapore for fine dining)

Would you be willing to try Cilantro the next time you're in town? Let me know beforehand and I can inform Jason, the manager.


Danielle Bumblebee said...

hey pet, this sage was in sg. though i heard there's one in kl too that's just so-so. think it was suen who told me? anyhow, would love to try cilantro when i'm home. though it's always such a pain to travel from the jungle where i live :D

Petrina said...

Ahh that explains it! Was thinking that you went to the KL one when you came back here. Okay we can try Sage/Cilantro together next time then!

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