Sage the restaurant, recently relocated to one of Mohamed Sultan’s historical conservation shophouse, just across the street from their previous place at a rather obscure location on the second front of Robertson Walk. Sage is one of the widely hype restaurant in our local food scene who has won acclaims from many foodies.
Sage the restaurant has just started their set lunch menu which offers 3 course at $38++, and 4 course meal at $45++. Given that the main course for their dinner menu ranges from 30s to the 40s individually, i’ll say that the set lunch do seems rather value. And note that lunch is only served from Wednesday to Friday.
The husband and wife combination works very well for Sage, with Chef-owner Jusman So helming the kitchen while his friendly wife, Kimberly taking charge of the service aspect. Chef Jusman So also recently won the choice title of rising chef of the year in the World Gourmet Summit (WGS).
The interior of the newly furnished restaurant speaks contemporary chic. With Black and grey being theme colour, the white simplistic tables strikes out bringing the simple-yet-elegant feel of the place. There is just a single picture frame to adorn the black wall, with the back of the room leading to the open kitchen
The open kitchen concept provides a insight of the chefs hard at work to provide a satisfactory meal for us. I do believe that having an open kitchen concept is a rather important aspect of a restaurant, for one, diners can have a look at the chefs at work, and also by doing an open concept, it shows that the restaurant has nothing to hide, and it does build a bridge linking the diners stomach and the chefs heart for their effort.
I applaused the fact that Sage chose to retain its seating capacity at 38, when they can actually have no problem expanding the place and filling it up every night. That for me, is a true sign of Sage’s intention, not to compromise the standards of the food quality with any increase in capacity.
The complimentary bread was very good, soft and fluffy, with the butter spread that comes along together, i’ll have asked for second helpings if not for the fact that we still have a four course meal ($38++) to finish.
Smoked Salmon ($12)
Scottish smoked salmon loin on cucumber relish with avruga caviar. Cauliflower couscous salad and dill infused leek & potato vichyssoise. The smoked salmon loin was tasty although i found it to be slightly salty. I didn’t like the cauliflower couscous salad as i felt that its rather heavy for a salad but my friend thought it was all right.
The avruga caviar, pearlescent black in colour, is a more sustainable alternative to its more expensive relative, Beluga caviar, completes the salmon loin.
Crab & tomato ($12)
Marinated crab salad topped with oven dried tomatoes and avocado mousseline, taggiasca olive tapenade and vine ripe tomato gazpacho. The oven dried tomatoes and the vine ripe tomato gazpacho, enhances the flavor of the crab meat. I couldn’t quite make out the taggiasca olive tapenade, but it tastes nice to me. Same goes for the avocado mousseline, but then again i am not really a fan of avocado.
Overall a simple dish (maybe not that simple in cooking it) that packs a lot of different flavors into one. The cooking method do seems to be the trademark of Chef Jusman who use many different type of ingredients to blend into one.
Mushrooms soup ($12)
Cappuccino of wild mushrooms. My friend and i had no words to describe the soup after having a spoonful. The plain-looking mushroom soup has a make-over and the interpretation comes in the form of a cappuccino, not quite what you will picture for a soup.
Nevertheless, the mushrooms soup was nothing short of excellence. Like what i mentioned before, mushrooms are always a tricky task, cook it for too long and the mushroom becomes over-cooked, while finishing it too early the soup will fail to absorb the essence of the mushrooms.
The mushroom soup arrived in a cup of cappuccino, with foamy top layer, and creamy base. Some common mushroom soups might still have bits of mushrooms in it, but not this one. The wild mushrooms seem to blend together naturally, and every mouthful just tasted so flavorsome.
Personally i do not like mushroom soup, but the fact that one spoonful of soup leaded to the other, with me finishing the whole soup tells you how good the soup was. There are definitely better mushroom soups out there, but for now, this is the best mushroom soup i had before.
French Onion soup ($12)
Perhaps the mushroom soup was too good, that we actually find the French onion soup to be quite normal in contrast. Nonetheless, the soup was still very rich, with its strong onion taste.
Traditional French onion soup with crouton and melted gruyere cheese. Crouton is the small piece of sauteed bread that acted as a companion to the soup. However we did not really taste the melted gruyere cheese because the bread became rather soggy in a short while.
Cod ($42, with $15 supplement applies to set menu)
Roasted fillet of cod topped with prawn and cognac butter on salt cod brandade and bouillabaisse sauce. The Cod was definitely the star of the show. Both my friend and i arrived at the conclusion that the cod was class. The roasted fillet was wonderfully balanced, there were hints of the roasted element, but it did not shows on the fillet.
If the end product of the Cod was the magic produced, then the prawn and cognac butter was certainly the wand that produce the magic. The cod on its own did not warrant a perfect score yet, but wait until you tasted the cod together with the prawn and cognac butter layer, that was pure magic.
The mashed potato beneath the cod also tasted well together with the bouillabaisse sauce. The sauce which was made from a traditional provencal fish stew has a fulsome flavor, and when you had a piece of the roasted cod with the prawn and cognac butter on top, and dipped with the bouillabaisse sauce, there was nothing quite like to describe the taste.
Duck Confit ($28, with $10 supplement applies to set menu)
Duck leg confit on a savoy cabbage parcel stuffed with field mushroom, leek and red onion in pommery mustard sauce. We chose duck confit because it’s always a dish that is difficult to handle, and can test the skills of the chef. The mark of a good duck confit obviously lies in the meat, if the duck is cooked for too long, the meat will become soggy and soft, while under-cook will make it becomes too tight and hard.
Poking a fork into the duck leg confit, we were glad to find that the duck meat remains firm while retaining its perfectly crispy skin. With the price tag, this was one expensive duck leg, which you otherwise could have a whole duck elsewhere, but made no mistake, the duck leg confit was certainly worth the money.
The pommery mustard sauce did come across as rather weird initially, but mixing it with the firm duck meat brought out the brilliance of it.
My friend enjoyed the Pernankan-inspired cabbage parcel stuffed with field mushroom, leek and red onion, but it did not works for me. I felt that the cabbage parcel was too salty for my liking, and the leek and red onion combination did not really suit my tastebud.
Strawberry Panna Cotta ($12)
Vanilla panna cotta topped with strawberry jelly and chocolate ganache, compote of strawberries and crunchy nougat. The sweet vanilla panna cotta and chocolate ganache striked a good balance with the slightly sourish strawberry.The panna cotta itself was quite thick and rich with the fragrant vanilla taste.
The serving size was quite adequate, and the strawberry panna cotta was quite good, until i try the Oreo Semifreddo, which is in a different league all together.
Oreo Semifreddo ($12)
Oreo cookie semifreddo with frozen raspberry mousse and soft coffee scented meringue. This, is the first time i am having a semifreddo, and i am already regretting why have i not try this earlier. The Oreo semifreddo was made up of three different compositions, with the top layer being the soft coffee scented meringue, the middle layer the oreo cookie semifreddo, and the base the frozen raspberry mousse.
The oreo semifreddo really, was playing with our scents, the soft coffee meringue was more to the bitter side, while the oreo cookie ice cream added the sweet touch, and the frozen raspberry mousse completed with a chilly sourish zang. Trying the three different parts separately yielded nothing special, but it was when you united the three layers together then you realised what the oreo semifreddo was about.
Total bill is a princely $135 for 2 person, and this is lunch, not dinner. This ought to be the most expensive lunch i ever had, but all the same, the best lunch. The amount is madness really, two set lunches at $45 each, we topped up $10 for the duck confit, $15 for the cod, and factor in the 17% additional charges, do your sums!
The way that Chef Jusman uses a combination of many different ingredients in one dish is one thing, but to blend all the tastes is another matter all together. There are of course positive and negative things for everything, and there is no exception here too. The slightly negative aspect will be every dish is too flavorsome and it really takes time to absorb and digest what you eat. However you can choose to look at that from a positive angle too.
One thing i ought to mention as well, before this visit to Sage i made a few attempts to go actually but on those few occasions i were held up in the very last minute and couldn’t make it. Each time i called up Sage to make another new reservation, and each time Kimberly picked up the phone and answer my every inquiry politely and patiently. There was never a time where i felt that she was frustrated by this guy here calling up a few times to keep on postponing the reservation. For that i applause her for her sincere altitude, which can be genuinely felt across the phone.
I rave about Sage the restaurant, I praise the way Chef Jusman uses his ingredients and play with his food. I appreciate the manner which Kimberly treats her customers, genuine, friendly yet professional which makes you totally free at home. Not to mention the other serving staff at Sage which i find are quite knowledgeable and know when’s the right time to approach us and when not to disturb us. The combination of all the factors make Sage the restaurant a strong contender to ladyironchef’s best restaurant 2008.
I do believe that there are certainly better restaurants out there, Les Amis, Saint Pierre, Iggy just to name a few, are all stronghold in their own rights, but since i have not try the other restaurants, i can only comment on what i have tried. And for the restaurants which i have been to, i say Sage is one of the best, until i experience a better one then, Sage the restaurant it is!
Sage the restaurant
7 Mohamed Sultan road
Tel: 6333 8726
Sage the restaurant is listed as one of ladyironchef’s favorite restaurants in Singapore