One of the stalwarts of the Kuala Lumpur fine dining scene, Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar is popular amongst KL foodies who like restaurant atmosphere to match the refined menu (and it’s more then 300 wine labels). Named one of the “Top 5 Malaysian Restaurants” in the Miele Guide 2010/2011, Sage offers gourmet French cuisine with a Japanese touch thanks to the imagination of chef Daniel Cheong.
Although many know the restaurant for its dinner a la carte and degustation menus, they’re missing out on one of the best venue offering: lunch. Sage Restaurant’s three-course set lunch menu, priced at RM100 net, is one of the best values in the city in terms of quality and price.
“My journey of learning how to cook is complete,” says Cheong. “My goal now is to source the best produce to create a menu that will excite my diners.”
The look: During their lunch service, Sage is flooded with natural light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows encapsulating the dining area.
The restaurant has recently undergone a facelift, sporting new sleek furniture while maintaining its modern contemporary look. An attractive open kitchen allows diners to watch Cheong and his kitchen team in action.
The set lunch: Lunch begins with a refreshing, complimentary drink, and even breads are taken seriously here: they’re fresh from the oven and served with a basil dip that you’ll only fine at Sage.
The menu changes on a weekly basis, in a bid to offer variety to regular lunch patrons. Diners choose from a choice of two appetizers, two mains and finish off with a dessert or cheese platter.
For the lunch menu, Cheong showcases fresh local produce as much as he can. “I like to use local fish such as garoupa and white pomfret from Kuala Selangor — local fish is fresh and live, unlike imported fish which are chilled or frozen,” he says.
He also sources freshwater prawns from Tanjung Tualang and zucchini flowers fromCameron Highlands.
What’s good here: Although the menu does frequently change, if you see the warm egg mollet on brioche with Parmesan cheese and shaved truffles on the menu, jump on it — this dish is simple but decadent.
Plump with an almost-buttery texture, the slow-cooked smoked salmon with mousseline of cauliflower and ikura makes us want to savour each bite.
The steamed sea garoupa, a local fish, is killed via ike jime — a Japanese method that produces a better coloured and flavoured fillet. The fresh fish is served with a nori sauce and topped with abalone.
The wagyu or Black Angus beef is also a crowd favourite, often served with foie gras and its own juices. Cooked to perfection, it is every beef lover’s dream.
Verdict: Fresh, local ingredients along with Cheong’s polished skills and carefully thought out menu make the dining experience at Sage unforgettable. Service is also exemplary — one of KL’s best.