Black truffles at Sage - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dinner - Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I think that Sage and its sister restaurant Cilantro are probably at the top of the fine-dining scene in Malaysia. While we've visited the latter numerous times, this was our first visit to Sage - it is overseen by Chef Daniel, the former right hand of Cilantro's Chef Takashi Kimura.

Although they function autonomously, both chefs confer on menu planning to minimize overlap between the two restaurants (though this seems hardly necessary, as both have quite different styles). In comparison to Cilantro, the food at Sage is much simpler, with minimal fuss and very straightforward flavour combinations. Since 'tis the season, we decided to indulge in their black truffle menu this evening.

1996 Elderton Command Shiraz
2003 Chateau Lynch-Bages
I don't usually post about wine on this blog, but I felt it necessary to highlight two great wines we had over the course of dinner (BYO, naturally - the markups on wine in this country are ridiculous). In particular, the Command Shiraz was simply fantastic despite probably being a year or two past its prime - it is a nice representation of great old-school Australian Shiraz, not the mass-market plonk that floods the market these days.

Amuse - Poached prawns, lobster consommé
Hokkaido scallop ceviche, Sakura Cress, yuzu oil
A huge and very beautiful raw scallop, served in four slices. The Sakura Cress (a trademarked variety of radish sprout) worked very well with the sweetness of the mollusc and the heady aroma of the shaved truffles. The tang from the yuzu oil was not overpowering - just the right amount of acidity.

Fedelini, Parmigiano Reggiano
I was impressed by the texture of the fedelini - for some reason, it is nigh impossible to find really high-quality pasta in Malaysian restaurants (despite the preponderance of places serving excellent Asian noodles). These were served in a cream sauce with freshly grated Parmigiano and shaved truffles - simple, elegant, well-executed.

Pan-roasted New Zealand pink snapper
Fried zucchini blossom, sauce Périgueux
Intermezzo - Passion fruit granita
Aged Angus tenderloin
Asparagus, garlic scapes, whipped potatoes
The beef was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, and the potatoes were in the style of Robuchon's pommes purée. Again, a very simple preparation that allowed the scant number of ingredients to shine.

Truffle ice cream, mango
Very delicious - in fact, one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The truffle ice cream was very well-calibrated, offsetting the truffle aroma with a moderate touch of sweetness. Grilled slices of top-notch fresh mango helped to counter what could have been an overpowering quantity of shaved truffles, and a wafer of crisp phyllo added some textural contrast to the dish. This dish could easily have become a horrible sweet mess were it not so nicely balanced.

Mignardises - Shortbread cookie
Chef Daniel shaving truffles
Great company, great wine, and good food - we enjoyed our night at Sage enormously. As at Cilantro, the service here was excellent. Although it will be some time before the Malaysian public is ready for the likes of Josh Skenes, Sage is a big step forward in elevating the level of fine-dining locally, particularly with the Malaysian-born Chef Daniel at its helm.

The Gardens, Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 59200
Phone: (+603) 2268-1328