13.11.11

Sage Restaurant

Located in the quiet surrounds of Braddon in the 1920's heritage building Gorman House is Sage Restaurant. You don't immediately see the restaurant as there is a garden bar just outside it - the 'Mint Garden Bar' (same owner)- which serves an array of cocktails and canapes. Going past the garden we manage to make our way into the restaurant which has a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Sage is understated but it has subtle hints of French elegance that sets the right tone for the start of a good dining experience. More exciting fact is that the new head chef, Clement Chauvin, used to work at a few Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe. Quite promising, we thought.
We chose to go with the 4-course meal ($80) which was enough to try most of the menu without being too full. We started with some House Baked Bread Roll served with Sage Butter which was nice but we were wondering why it wasn't complimentary like in most fine dining places.


Anyways, for the first round entrees we chose:

- Truffled Egg Custard with Crispy Bacon and Parmagianno Regiano Soldiers: everyone agreed that they were awesome. Dipping the soldiers into the smooth truffled-custard and eating them was fun too. Liked the concept of taking a simple breakfast dish and adding a nice gourmet twist to it.


- Smoked Rainbow Trout with Eucalyptus Snow, Carrot Granita and Pea Mousse: although the presentation was not its forte, this dish tasted very refreshing. The rainbow trout was fresh and the eucalyptus snow added a nice lift to the pea mousse.
Second round of entrees, here they are:

- Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Compressed Nashi, Cucumber, Crackling and Cider Jelly: a classic combination of flavours with a contemporary approach. The pork belly was soft and tender and it went well with the delicious cubes of cider jelly, which in turn added a nice sweetness to it. The cucumber and the nashi added some freshness to the dish while balancing the richness of the pork...oh, and the crackling was a nice finishing touch.

- Butter Poached Lobster with Jerusalem Artichoke, Mille-Fuille and Pickled Lemon: the lobster was poached beautifully and quite a nice dish overall.


- Seared Scallops with Roasted Chestnut, Chorizo, Px Molasses and Celery Tips: a well presented dish with generous sized-scallops. The seared scallops were succulent and paired up nicely with the chorizo. The chesnut added an earthy tone to the dish which complemented well with freshness from the celery tips.  A classic combination of flavours which played with different textures - lovely!

After the lovely rounds of entrees, we were ready to have our mains:
- Beef Bourguignon with Foie Gras Butter, Parsley Moss and Garlic Chips: another interesting dish with contemporary approach to the classic French beef stew. The beef was soft and tasty but for me, i had my attention drawn to the smoothness of the foie gras butter on the chunk of parsley chiffon. Quite different, i thought...but i liked it.

- Duck a L'orange with Crispy Skin Breast, Duck Leg Terrine, Pickled Red Cabbage and Licorice:The taste of orange wasn't very evident but the duck was still quite tasty. It was matched nicely with the pickled red cabbage and finished off with a subtle hint of licorice. I wasn't sure how the licorice was going to complement the dish (i don't really fancy licorice) but it turned out to be quite alright. Thumbs up for the beetroot chips!


- Confit King Salmon with Yamba Prawn, Baby Beetroot, Tahini Yoghurt and Sesame Crisp: First impression, overwhelmed by the amount of components in this dish. There were quite a lot of flavours and textures going on in this dish that it took the attention away from the confit king salmon - the main element of this dish. The salmon was beautiful and just melted in your mouth. It went well with the baby beetroot and the tahini yoghurt but not so much with the sesame crisp - it kinda threw the dish off balance. In addition, i didn't think that the Yamba prawn was really necessary.


And finally, what a better way to finish our lovely meal with some desserts:

- Butterscotch Crème Brulee with Elder Flower Ice Cream, Brandy Snap and Salted Caramel: I was expecting the creme brulee to be served in a ramekin but nope, it wasn't. I must say that this dessert totally took me by surprise. The creme brulee came in a shape of a quenelle encased by a crispy and glossy layer of caramel. And yes, we all heard the 'crack' sound! The brulee was very smooth and matched deliciously with the sweet floral elderflower ice cream. Loved the saltiness added by the powdered salted caramel and the crunchy finish by the brandy snap. Beautifully presented and it is a must-try!


- Crepe Suzette with Chilli Orange Ice Cream, Grand Marnier Flambé and Candied Orange: the highlight of this dessert was when the waiter flambe-ed it and we all went static for a second. The crepes were nice, fluffy and they went well with the orange ice cream. It was an okay dessert.


- Black Forest: it was a deconstructed version of the classic black forest which consisted of chocolate sponge, mousse, chantilly cream and sour cherry. I was hoping that all the components would come together nicely but unfortunately that didn't happen for me. The sour cherries were too strong and overpowered the other components.


Overall, we all enjoyed a lovely and satisfying meal at Sage. I was glad to experience dishes which were meticulously put together with creativity and which showcased different combination of flavours and texture - something that you don't find much of here in Canberra. I find Sage Restaurant to be quite promising (although it has areas to be improved upon) and i hope to see greater things coming from them. I wouldn't be surprised if it brought a 'hat' to Canberra next year! Keep up the good work guys!

Sage Restaurant on Urbanspoon


6 snowdrop meringues:

The InTolerant Chef said...

Some nice sounding combinations indeed!

Alexa said...

Mmm so jealous! Looks absolutely delicious <3

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

The plating and presentation there is really lovely! :)

Mike said...

Black forest is my all time favorite dessert.All the dishes that are shown in pics are very colorful.You have garnished all the dishes very well.

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Miranda said...

I want to go to Canberra!

Hannah said...

Oh yay!! I went here for the first time the other week but haven't got around to blogging it yet. We were disappointed in the bread (nto just price but flavour-wise) but were happy with 'most everything else. Your photos put mine to such shame!

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