I received a text message from Sage Dining introducing the ‘Taste and Test’ 5-course tasting menu ($60) available for diners to provide feedback on their new menu. This is a heavily discounted deal running Tuesday to Thursday nights until September 26. Great opportunity to test out their new concepts. Sage is one of my favourite restaurants so I was eagerly awaiting this night.
Every time I enter the restaurant, I am warmly greeted by the waitstaff and shown to my seat. They also know a great deal about the food being served. My foodie friend cannot eat gluten and they were happy to provide gluten-free alternatives. The waiter came around with a big stamp in his hand to stamp the white paper covering the table with a scorecard. Quirky idea!
Course 1 – Garlic soup with mushrooms. This was a cold-ish creamy soup with tasty mushrooms underneath. Not sure whether I like this – I guess I was expecting a warm soup. Perhaps if I they added a bit more substance to the soup.
Course 2 – Oxtail with octopus, artichoke and black olive soil. Really loved the oxtail which is usually quite fatty. The kitchen staff must’ve taken the time to take it all out as there was absolutely no fat on the oxtail. As soon as I touched it with my fork, it fell apart into juicy tender pieces. Beautifully cooked! The octopus was orangey in colour and didn’t look like octopus. A tad rubbery but still pleasant to eat. The olive soil was a nice touch and went really well with the dish. The artichoke was very tough to chew, perhaps undercooked, so most of it was left on plate.
Course 3 – Murray cod with leek, kipfler potatoes and rye malt. My favourite dish of the night. The fish was moist and fresh. The rye malt on top was something different and added a really nice sweet and crunchy factor to the dish. The potatoes were slightly dry but still tasty. Never would’ve though fish and potatoes would work well together. But Sage have proven me wrong. YUM
Course 4 – Duck breast with confit, fois grais, apple and celeriac salad. Perfectly cooked duck. I found the fois grais a bit too strong for me, but then again, I’m not a huge fan of the stuff. I think the best part of the dish was the salad – sweet apple, cold and fresh.
Course 5 – Pineapple fruit with pineapple sorbet, pistachio soil and yoghurt foam. This was the gluten-free alternative – not sure why I received that and not the normal dessert on the menu. My foodie friend summed this up as a confusing dessert. And it kind of was. The three textures of pineapple were fantastic – sorbet was amazingly fresh, the fruits hidden under the sorbet were stewed in something syrupy beforehand (kind of similar to the canned Golden Circle fruit you can get), and the dried pineapple on top was crunchy but still had the pineapple goodness in it. The pistachio soil was also nice but paired with the pineapple textures – it didn’t seem to mesh very well. We were both sitting there puzzled with what we were eating.
Loved the two parts individually, but together..it was weird. I secretly want to copy what Poachers Pantry did a few weeks back, and have quinoa crumble with white chocolate with the pineapple. That would taste amazing!
My favourites for the night were the murray cod, oxtail, and duck breast. The service, as always, was exemplary.