Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sage Restaurant, The Gardens

Sage has to be the BEST restaurant I've dined in in Kuala Lumpur. The food is amazing, it tastes really good and looks so pretty on the plate. I was so happy after my meal there today.

We turned up at the restaurant without any reservations but luckily they were able to accommodate us. They took our order while we were seated at the lounge, so food service was prompt, 10 minutes after we were seated at our table. I had a good view of the open- concept kitchen, whereby some kitchen action was observed.

The entrance

Open kitchen

A complimentary lemonade drink was served - refreshing and a good palate cleanser. Warm bread was served with a concoction of basil and olive oil. The set lunch consists of 3 courses, and there will be 2 options for each course. I felt that the menu selections were very good and definitely sounded more 'fine dining' than the menu at Third Floor Restaurant.

Virgin Margarita

For appetiser, Hubby had the Mousseline of Scallop with King Prawn and Lily Bulb. The scallops were delicately cooked with a velvety texture. The sauce was very similar to the lobster bisque I had at Third Floor Restaurant (or maybe it was the same thing!). The mousseline was smooth and creamy. Heaven on a plate.

My appetiser was a Warm Salad of Quail with Foie Gras and Asian Green. For a person who isn't really a big fan of foie gras, I felt it was seared very nicely and went well with the vinaigrette and salad leaves. The quail was cooked nicely and as a whole, the dish was put together very nicely. 1 down, 2 to go. I wanted more as soon as I finished my appetiser. Yum.

Hubby's main course was Pan Fried Red Star Garoupa with Aubergine, Red Wine Reduction. Hubby was delighted - a generous serving of garoupa which was perfectly cooked.

For main course, I had the Grilled Angus Beef with Sauteed Mushrooms and Tarragon Butter. I ordered my beef medium and 2 beautifully cooked strips of meat arrived on a plate, accompanied with a delicious sauce and nicely sauteed mushrooms.

We both ordered the Mille-Feuille of Strawberry with Vanilla Ice-Cream and Lime Zest as the other dessert did not really appeal to us (not a big fan of cheese). Excellent choice! The pastry was light with layers of delicious strawberries. Very lovely vanilla ice-cream as well, I could still taste (and smell) the vanilla pods. Coffee or tea is served with dessert.

I would certainly like to return and dine at Sage again sometime soon.

Comfort: Classy decor.

Service: Excellent.

Price: Set lunch is priced at RM100 nett, set dinner (appetiser, main course and dessert) at RM140 nett and gourmet dinner (same as the set dinner plus a chef's special of the day) at RM160 nett. Selections from a la carte. Lunch menu changed weekly whereas dinner menu changed every 3 months.

Food: The best I've had in KL! Fine dining... yippee!

Location: Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar, The Gardens Residences, Level 6, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur. (Tel:03-22681328)

Opening hours: Lunch:Monday to Friday 12.00pm to 2.00pm; Dinner:Monday to Saturday 6.00pm to 10.30pm. Closed on Sunday.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Third Floor Restaurant, JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

I really miss all the fine dining we used to have in the UK, so when Hubby told me he was going to treat me to a fine dining meal in KL, I was ecstatic. Since we were staying at the Ritz and I have heard good things about the nearby Third Floor Restaurant located in JW Marriott Hotel from a friend, we decided to give this place a try.

When we arrived, there were only 2 other tables dining there. It made me wonder if it was a sign that the restaurant's food wasn't good or perhaps not many people go for fine dining on a weekday?

I have to say I was not very impressed with the service here. It took the waitress 3 attempts before she brought us the right menu. (Firstly, she brought us an empty menu - just the cover with no menu. Then she gave one of us the "summer menu" when it was supposed to be the "winter menu"). We also ordered our dessert well in advance of the recommended "20 minutes" waiting time, but the dessert still took more than 40 minutes to arrive.

The menu looked pretty ordinary on paper and nothing really stood out. Originally, I wanted to have their degustation menu but it seems like they now only have a set menu (5-course) which didnt look too impressive.

Having said that, the food turned out to be very good. We were served a complimentary cheese tart for our amuse bouche.

Hubby had the scallop salad with endives, walnut, blue cheese (RM58) - the scallops were cooked to perfection, however the walnuts were missing from the salad (they were supposed to be part of the deal). I had the lobster bisque (RM38), which wasn't very memorable.

Cheese tart

Scallop salad

Lobster bisque

For main course, I had the Australian wagyu beef cheeks with Sarawak pepper, and shallot red wine sauce (RM88). The beef cheeks were tender although I think it was slightly burnt but I couldn't confirm my suspicion as the restaurant was too dark. Overall, it was a nicely prepared dish.

Hubby had the pan seared seabass with vegetable julienne (RM68) after much deliberation. He was happy with his choice - the tangy sauce complemented the perfectly cooked fish.
I ordered the souffle (RM32), but it was a very long wait. It was served with warm chocolate sauce (to be poured over the souffle) and chocolate ice-cream. The warm chocolate sauce complemented the souffle very well. A delicious combination.
Hubby had the warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice-cream (RM28) which was very nice too.
We were also served complimentary petit fours - bitter chocolate, walnuts (perhaps to make up for the missing walnuts from Hubby's dish) and pistachio wafers.

One of the things I was most disappointed with was the lighting in the place. It was so so dark in there so all my food pictures turned out really crappy! :-(

Comfort: Too cold! I was freezing by the end of the meal.
Service: Poor.
Price: Expensive. RM400 for 2 persons (without wine).
Food: Food made up for the poor service.
Location: Third Floor Restaurant, JW Marriott Hotel, 183 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I cooked: Roasted Pork Belly (Siu Yuk)

Roasted Pork Belly known in Cantonese as Siu Yuk (Siew Yoke) is a popular cuisine served in hawker styled stalls commonly found in Chinese-speaking regions in East and Southeast Asia. Stalls serving this dish prepare the meat by roasting the meat over an open fire or a huge wood burning rotisserie oven. This dish can be done at the comfort of your own home in an oven. Here's how!

Roasted Pork Belly
Preparation time: approx. 1 hour
Serves : 2 Persons

300-400g of pork belly
five spice powder

1. Wash the pork belly and pat it dry with a piece of cloth. Generally its recommended to use fresh pork but if you have bought the pre-frozen types or kept your pork in the freezer it is advisable to take the pork out early for it to defrost completely.
2. Score the pork belly skin-side. The lines should be diagonal and around an inch apart from one another.
3. Rub a generous amount of salt over the meat. Then rub the five spice powder. The amount of five spice powder doesn't have to be a lot e.g. around 1-2 teaspoons for the whole slab of meat.
4.Preheat the oven to 200°C and set to grill with fan. The tray should be placed in the middle or the bottom row.5. Put the meat in on a tray skin side down and roast for 20-25 minutes until pork turns brown.
6. Flip the meat over skin side up and randomly poke the skin with a sharp fork. This is to ensure the oil oozes out of the skin to complement the crackling of the skin. Put the meat back in and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. At this point the skins hisses and crackles and should look roughly like the picture below.
7. Take the roasted pork belly out and let it cool for a few minutes. Cut to bite-size pieces.
8. Serve the roasted pork belly with rice, cucumber and a sauce of your choice.
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