Sage taste test

I hadn’t been very enthusiastic about publishing (or writing) this blog post but since Sage has finally completed their 5 week taste testing and are launching their new menu, I thought I’d better get around to it. image

I received a sms (ages ago), it read that Sage was having a 5 course degustation tasting menu for $60.00 per person. I was super excited to trial their taste test and grabbed three friends and headed there for a late night Thursday dinner.

They gave us each a stamped score card on the butcher’s paper table cloth, I thought it was super cute idea and also found it very handy to keep notes but this also meant that I got to find out what everyone else thought of the same dish.

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Complimentary bread and butter.

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Course #1artichoke soup served with an artichoke crisp. So airy and light in texture yet there was so much flavour. This was a really good start to the night, I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next!

score: 9/10

J: 8/10

T: 9/10

T: 8.5/10

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There was a bit of a wait between these courses, I was starting to think that they forgot about us and there weren’t that many people left when we were having dinner (with an 8:30pm start).

Course #2Braised oxtail, olive snow, artichoke, rosemary with a parsley blob. The braised oxtail was very tender but when eaten by itself I found it a little dry and it needed the vegetables or the olive snow. I’m not the biggest fan of strong salty olives so I found the tapenade a bit too much.

score: 7/10

J: 7/10

T: 7.5/10

T: 6.5/10

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Course #3Non seafood option: pumpkin ravioli with sage. The classic pairing of pumpkin and sage, you can’t go wrong.

J: 9/10

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Murray cod, leek, asparagus, kipfler potatoes. I thought the kipfler potatoes were cooked to perfection, crispy yet tender in the centre but all it lacked was seasoning, I was surprised it didn’t have any salt on it. I didn’t mind the fish but if you’re going to pan fry it, I prefer the skin to be (at a minimum) little crispy.

score: 6/10

T: 6/10

T: 5/10

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Course #4 – Roasted duck breast with foie gras, Heirloom carrots, celeric and green apple salad with hazelnuts. With the right person, this dish would probably be perfect, but for me, I’m not a fan of foie gras and I’m very picky with my duck.

The duck skin was not crisp at all and was almost rubbery to cut. I did enjoy the salad though as I found all the crisp and sweet textures refreshing to the disappointing duck and I’m always a fan of Sage’s superb purees. I gave this a score of 4 not because I don’t like foie gras, but I felt that this dish didn’t hold it’s own when I omitted one element and that major component of the dish were not executed well.

score: 4/10

J: 5/10

T: 6/10

T: 7.5/10

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Course #5 – Yoghurt bavois, oat biscuit, ginger ale jelly, rhubarb compote, pepper honey and almond ice creamThis was so disappointing and that was represented by the score. Where to start? The almond ice-cream wasn’t to my liking and it tasted very much like a strong marzipan. The rhubarb compote was overwhelming so I could not taste the ginger ale jelly or the bavois unless I ate it on its own (and even then the jelly flavours were very faint).

My favourite aspect of the dessert was the oat biscuit and that can’t be good.

score: 4/10

J: 8/10

T: 7.5/10

T: 5.25/10

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Numbers were dwindling as I went down the score card. It will be interesting to see what made the cut and what didn’t when Sage releases it’s Spring menu this Thursday. I hope the soup made it on there!

Happy Sage day to you!

——-24/10/2012——-

It was Timmy’s birthday so I whisked him away to Sage for lunch. Sage are currently have a lunch prix fixe menu where they try and have you in and out within the hour.

Lunch prix fixe menu – Tuesday to Saturday 3 courses ($50.00)

Complimentary bread straight from the oven.

Entree~

Cured ocean trout – horseradish meringue, fennel, leek, lemon, hazelnut. Stunning presentation but I found the horseradish a bit overwhelming and hard to fuse the different elements of the plate together.

Jerusalem artichoke soup caramelized baby onion, crème fraiche, px glaze. This was a great surprise. The soup was very light in texture but not light in flavour and it went really well with the complimentary bread.

Main~

Grilled porterhouse – pomme frittes, béarnaise, watercress. This is the biggest portion I’ve ever seen at Sage! I loved the ‘chip jenga’ stack but they could have been a little bit more crispy. It wasn’t the best piece of meat I’ve had.

Roast chicken – fondant potato, mint pea a la française. When people ask me what my least favourite food is I say ‘peas’ in a heart beat, so I was just as surprised as Tim when I finished everything on the plate. The chicken skin was really nice and crispy with juicy meat. The fondant potato was underwhelming but the combination of peas, cabbage and pork made up for the vegetables on the plate.

Dessert~

Vanilla rice pudding and strawberry compote. Not the most appealing look or texture, I much prefer the other dessert.

Fresh raspberries & crème pâtisserie. The raspberry sorbet was delicious and intense. The beautiful colours made this dessert really pop. 

Sage re-run Autumn menu

——-17/05/2012——-

When I saw that Sage dining rooms was doing a special of a surprise 8 course degustation for $95.00 per person on their FB page, my friend and I jumped at chance of going again. My friend doesn’t eat seafood so they kept that in mind and the courses varied between us.

With the millions of different elements and the waiters talking so fast, please excuse if I didn’t get the description 100% correct.

A quick snap shot of the whole night

Let the dinner begin!

Course #1~

Mushroom amuse bouche- It had a thick foam layer and the ‘soup’ was very salty with a distinct mushroom taste. Great for dipping the bread into I thought.

House made sour dough with dehydrated sage and tomato butter

Course #2~

Confit of mackerel with rhubarb gel and a dehydrated grape. Very interesting to say the least especially biting into the dehydrated grape.  The rhubarb taste was subtle with a weird gel toothpaste consistency. The mackerel was a nice salted fish which balanced out all the sweetness of the rhubarb and grape.

Beetroot variations with freeze dried mandarin and coriander. They had beetroot cooked in a variety of ways including poached and fresh finished with a smoked ricotta. Pretty on a plate but obviously not very filling.

Course #3~

Tuna and foie gras with sashimi, mojama, crackling, chervil and PX dressing. Really delicate and really tasty although the crackling was more about texture than taste.

Honey peppered heirloom carrots with malt powder, caramelised yolk, cumin sponge, finished with a carrot glass. With so many different elements and textures, it was hard to distinguish between the flavours.

Course #4~

Wagyu bresaola with foie gras foam. The foam had a very strong horseradish texture which I would usually be put off by but it went really well with the thinly sliced beef.

Course #5~

Seared scallops with a pumpkin fondant and amoretto biscuits. Another textured delight for the senses between the pumpkin, puree and seeds. Nicely put together.

All gone!

Pork ‘all’sorts’– slow cooked belly, braised cheek with pork chips and radish. The pork cooked to perfection and we really enjoyed this dish.

Course #6~

Roast duck with licorice gel, confit duck terrine rolled in pistachios, orange and carrot puree and pickled red cabbage. The duck had a nice layer of fat under the skin which really added to the flavour. I thought the pickled red cabbage gave the dish a nice sweet touch but my favourite part of this dish (despite my love for fatty duck) would have to be the orange and carrot puree. Wow it was soooo amazing and I made sure that my fork got every last bit of it. This would have to be the most memorable dish of the night.

Dessert~

We were counting the courses as we were going, so when we saw that they were serving desserts at course #7 we were excited at the thought of having two desserts.

Course #7~

Rhubarb and raspberry– quinoa crunch, raspberry sorbet, creme brulee foam, rose petals with a raspberry sponge. The creme brulee foam was so light, creamy and delicate. I was surprised to find the poached rhubarb cold and sweet and I thought it was a great contrast of raspberry with the sponge flavour being so subtle against the very vibrant sorbet.

Course #8~

Chocovado– chocolate cremeux, hazelnut cocoa crumble, lemon gel and avocado cream. The aftertaste of the avocado cream left my tongue like it had just eaten an unripe banana. The actual chocolate portion itself was like a thick rich chocolate mousse, it was very smooth which was contrast to the crunch of the rice grains that are decorated on top.

And a cappuccino to finish off the night (not included in degustation)

Staff were attentive and polite as always and I’m always impressed when they can describe each course at no hesitation and yet with so much detail. I must admit even after 8 courses I could have eaten another meal afterwards but I resisted temptation to not ruin my palette. I’m looking forward to next season’s menu.

From their website:

Sage Closed from 1st July -17th July for an inspirational trip to France and a new kitchen.”

Sage- fast becoming my favourite herb and restaurant

——-02/12/2011——-

Sorry for the rewind, but it was too delicious to skip past posting this. Definitely the place to be this Summer at the trendy bar and romantic restaurant that is Sage and the Mint bar.

 

I don’t know who just left their sliders just sitting there unattended but they looked awesome and made me very hungry .

With so many delicious looking things on the menu, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try 4 courses each ($80) (although I was keen to do 10 courses- maybe next time  ) 

With a cute selection of house baked bread it was hard to choose but we settled for sour dough with sesame seeds and brioche with local herbs ($3.00), it of course was served with sage butter . The brioche was sweet and fluffy but I think I preferred the sour dough.

 

Course 1~

King fish checkerboard- beets, iced fennel, sorrel: I felt that this dish was overpowered by the beetroot as that was basically all I could taste, although it was an interesting contrast between the warm and cold.

 

Truffled duck egg custard- crispy bacon, parmagianno regiano soldiers: A fancy take on the good ol’ egg and toy soldiers but oh man this was delicious as the custard was salty and flavoursome.

 

Course 2~

Yellow-fin tuna ravioli- mojama, avocado cream, garlic croutons, px dressing: It was a lovely mixture of textures as the garlic croutons were hidden under the soft thinly sliced tuna.

 

Slow cooked pork belly- compressed nashi, cucumber, crackling, cider jelly: the pork was cooked under vacuum “sous-vide” and left the meat very moist. The cider jelly went really well with the pork and who doesn’t love crackling- mmmmmm.

 

Course 3~

Roasted lamb rump- smoked eggplant, baby capsicum, preserved lemon, rosemary jus: also cooked under vacuum and was absolutely divine but I personally found the black olive crumb too strong and the capsicum had a weird charcoal burnt taste that I didn’t enjoy.

Duck a l’orange- crisp skin breast, duck leg terrine, pickled red cabbage, licorice: The purple potato crisp was a beautiful piece of artwork, the waiter said it was the chef’s take on the potato chip.See the beautiful black drops on the plate? It was liquid licorice sauce and it was so nice! And because my friend doesn’t like licorice, guess who was a lucky girl?  The whole dish was simply beautiful.

 

We couldn’t not order the paris truffle mash! Salty and addictive. Taste wise not worth sharing but calorie wise, it’s probably best to share. 

 

I ordered a green tea to wash everything down.

Course 4~

Butterscotch creme brulee- elderflower ice-cream, brandy snap, salted caramel: I have never seen a creme brulee outside of a ramekin but it had everything, a thick creamy custard-y centre with a hard toffee hat. The elderflower ice-cream was almost like a marshmallow fluff which went very well with the salted caramel powder that they make on-site.

 

Warm chocolate & lapsang souchong fondant- kiwifruit foam, passionfruit sorbet: The passionfruit sorbet was spot on and was very refreshing. The tangy kiwifruit foam went really well with the molten ‘chocolate-ty’ centre which had a hint of of smokey tea flavour.

 

Top marks for Sage. Not only were the waiters gorgeous people but their knowledge about the food went above and beyond just repeating the menu (I could barely remember what was said about half the dishes, there was just so much detail). The food was beautifully presented and the flavours were all very fresh and complimentary to each other.

I had to take so many photos from different angles to try and capture all the beauty on the plate. It would be the perfect place to meet up with friends at a nice trendy bar to have drinks before a lovely dinner or sit under all the fairy lights for a romantic affair.

I cannot wait to go again and maybe even try the 10 course option? 😉

Venue: Sage dining rooms

Address: Gorman House Arts Centre, Batman St, Braddon – Canberra 2612

Phone: (02) 6249 6050

Entertainment card: Yes! And makes a big difference!

Websitehttp://sagerestaurant.net.au/

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