Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sage - FINALLY!



Picture top, left to right: amuse buche; mushroom consomme with a heady aroma; foie gras with avocado and fine bean tempura - sick! So sickeningly good! Liquid butter of foie gras exploding in the mouth.

When Sage first opened I couldn't wait to blog about it. I guess it must have been a case of over expectations. I absolutely adore its sister restaurant Cilantro's and Hunky and I were both suffered mild gastricitis upon hearing they would be closed for renovations. Its been more than a year now and Cilantro's is rumoured to reopen end of the year. And still, I have not blogged about this place. Up until now it just hasn't wow'd me. There were a couple of good dishes but to sum the first 5 experiences - underwhelming. Well, you know what they say - sixth time lucky! Or was that third time lucky? Oh well, nevertheless, LL and Boolicious celebrated my birthday at Sage with me. It has been well over 9 months since I last visited. Infact it was FBB's surprise birthday when I last visited. This one meal, was the best I ever had at Sage. Maybe it was a weekday and the service staff are not so swamped with orders. Or maybe the dust has finally settled and Chef' Takashi Kimura's true colours shine. I'm pleased to see that they are still doing their 3-course and Chef's Menu menus. I must remember to come here for lunch.


All of us ordered foie gras with avocado and fine bean tempura. Great minds think alike after all. We were curious about the avocado and foie gras pairing. Fat upon fat? Surely not but surely it would be divine! And it was. It was a weird sensation as both fats are merely separated by a thin crispy layer or batter. Thank goodness there was only a small piece of avocado. I might've had a heart attack at the table. The foie gras was perfectly cooked. A little wobbly in the middle. Its like liquid butter on the tongue. Mmmm...

In between courses we were presented with a complimentary cup of mushroom consomme. This was because our main course was taking a little longer than expected. Honestly, we hadn't noticed so it couldn't have been that long a wait. Well, if you're going to give me a freebie I'm certainly not going to refuse. I am so happy that they did because I would not have realised how deliciously aromatic this soup is. The smell! It was woody, perfumey and earthy all at the same time. We felt so nourished and virtuous drinking it and convinced ourselves that the bad foie gras had been cancelled out by all this mushroomy goodness.

The clear winner of the evening- Boolicious' wild rice risotto with scallops and prawn.

I loved my main course! Tender herb crusted lamb rack with a hint of wasabi. I could've eaten the whole lamb! Having said that, the clear winner of the evening was Boo's mind blowing risotto. Yes, I never thought I would ever describe risotto that way. This was just an oxymoron of flavours. It was light and delicate yet rich and creamy. The seafood broth used to cook this must've been from Neptune himself as it was so incredible aromatic. I think I should have left it at that because my Jivara chocolate dessert just tipped me over the edge. It was so dense and rich. Oh man, I just wanted to lie down there and then and go to sleep! LL and Boo chose their desserts better. LL's almond tau fu fah was lovely and refreshing. Okay it was actually a blancmange but it really is a lot like tau fu fah! Boo's light pastry with fresh cherries was lovely to end the meal with. I was also presented with a small cake compliments of Sage. How thoughtful! Thank you Sage for converting me into a believer! I will be back soon!

Thank you Boolicious and Lyrical Lemongrass for a wonderful dinner and restoring
my faith in Sage!

Sage at The Gardens, Midvalley. 6th Floor, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur. For reservations 03 2268 1188

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hen's Weekend Mount Kinabalu


When my BFFs asked me what I wanted to do for my Hen's Night, I don't think they were expecting me to say "Climb Mount Kinabalu!" There were some long pauses, a couple of ahems and then a chorus of "Okay!" Getting drunk, strippers and complete debauchery is just an average night out for me so climbing a mountain seemed more fitting! There were 6 of us altogether and only 4 were climbing. The two lians waited for us in KK while we went to Kinabalu Park. We spent one night at Nepenthes Lodge before starting our ascend the following morning. I would have liked to have spent another day at the park because it really was very pretty and there were lots of trails that were less harrowing than the climb up. So at 8:30am we arrived at Timpohon Gate with our guide Jeremin. The first two kilometres were fine. It was lovely cool morning and we met many hikers and porters along the way. Some of these porters were carrying gas tanks up! How do they make it look so easy? There we were puffing and panting. There were seven stops before Laban Rata and we stopped at each one to catch our breath and to take sip of the untreated water provided in large green tanks. It looks kinda dodgy but really, it was very cool, refreshing and safe to drink (maybe not if you are mat salleh). After Layang-Layang, the final 2km was really gruelling. The air gets thinner and the foliage becomes more sparse. Theres no protection from the strong wind. It didn't feel that cold as we were constantly moving. Once we got to Laban Rata at 3pm, we realised it was 6C! We were definitely not prepared for the cold. Its a nice atmosphere in the guest house as you watch more people appear, you genuinely feel happy that they made it too. The lowest point of the entire trip for me was that one night we spent at Laban Rata in an unheated dormitory at Gunting Lagadan. There was no hot water so none of us took a bath and we tried to sleep around 7pm which was difficult as there were a lot of giggling and banging of doors as the groups of gap-year-mat salls were flirting with one another. None of us got any real sleep and there was one point in the night when the temperature must have dropped below 0C as I could not stop shaking from the cold. 1am the alarm clock rings and we struggle to get out of bed. Deng and Dween decided they could not join Rafs and I up the summit. Deng was still feeling the effects of the altitude and Dween was hurting from the day before. I will admit I half hoped Rafs didn't want to climb. I was, we were all so tired, sleep deprived and cold. Once we got our gear on I think adrenalin from the anticipation began to kick in. Infact, it was not as cold outside as it was in the room! At 2:30am, after a small supper of tea and fried rice, Jeremin came to get us to guide us up our cold and dark ascend to the summit. The first quarter was mainly steps and it help us get warm real fast. Once we cleared the trees however, it was a different story. Suddenly all you see is rock, rope and darkness all around you. It was a very slow climb as your body just screams "Nooooooo!" It was also hard to breathe as it was really quite cold as the wind whips around you. In the darkness, everything seemed intimidating. There is one part where the rope is on one side of you and you are walking along a thin ledge and to your right, is just blackness. After that bit I started freaking out a little bit as it only dawned on me then that I would have to climb back down! Rafs was very good and made me get a grip and focus on the task at hand. Once we reached Sayat-Sayat check point I felt a little better. We didn't rest for too long and continued by ourselves as Jeremin was still chatting with the other guides and he said he would catch up with us. He never did! So Rafs and I stumbled along by ourselves and met up with another group going up. Then we lost them because we kept having to catch our breath. Then for a long time it was just the two of us. It was hard because we had no idea where we were, how far we had to go and it was just so cold. It was a little surreal but we kept each other going. Then the sky started to brighten and we didn't need our headlamp anymore. We still couldn't see up nor down as the mist was so thick. And then finally we heard voices and we realised we had reached Low's Peak! The chilly wind was brutal! And my camera died on me because it was so cold! We managed to take one shot of each other at the peak. And then we just waited for the mist to part. It was like a peep show. The sun would appear and then it would be gone. And then the clouds would part and you see a peak right in front of you. Once the clouds finally parted the view was breathtaking. I've never been up a mountain before so for me, this was really spectacular. It was just so peaceful and beautiful. I'm really happy I did it and that I had my friends with me. I don't think I could've done it otherwise. Thank you guys! Sorry for the pain!

Now, coming down was a different story all together! The descend for me was far more difficult as fatigued set in and the wobbly knees disintegrate altogether! I'm going to be sore for a very long time!

For accommodation, visit Sutera Sanctuary Lodges and I found this website to be incredibly helpful. Do book ahead to secure the lodgings and I would advise everyone to climb in March/April when its not so cold!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes

Happy birthday to meeeee!

What to do with leftover caramel chocolate ganache frosting? Make some chocolate cupcakes to ice it with of course. I also have a bottle of creme de cacao given to me by my friend who was dating a bartender. Handy! I decided to douse the cupcakes with it. Was tempted to used Hunky's Baileys but he is a little possessive about it. Can't wait to eat them later! My birthday wish - for the earth and its people to heal and become one and at peace with each other.