Stellar home cooked food that is not from mom!@Chef Tan’s crib

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Greeted by the terrible haze upon reaching KL. Cough cough cough, welcome back.

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When we arrived, chef Tan was almost done with her cooking. Totally pampered. All we did was help her serve and get our tummy juices boiling! Her dishes looked and smelled absolutely delicious. Guess which was my plate? πŸ™‚ My friends should know this within a glance haha.

 

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Nope. Chef Tan did not buy this from a restaurant, but cooked it from scratch. One of the best home cooked butter chicken dishes I had ever eaten. Cooked with a whole lotta love. The chicken fillets were fresh, and each piece was coated with a thin batter to add texture and flavour, absorbing in all the buttery goodness. If there wasn’t anyone watching and I am eating this alone at home, me, myself and I would have no problem at all whacking every single piece of it.

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Nope. This was also not bought by Chef Tan from Duck King, although it looked remarkably similar. I was amazed that she cooked it, and yes.. with a whole lotta love too! The fried chopped leaves were fried to perfection and kept warm in the oven until serving time. The vegs were also cooked just about right, not too soggy and not too hard. YUMMMMMMMMS.

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Assam squid by Chef Tan, cooked following a recipe adopted from an online cooking site. Say, what?! From the way the squid slices looked, you could tell that it was home cooked. Restaurants would never bother to ensure those squids looking so pretty and evenly sliced. They were also nicely cooked, not too chewy and the spiciness from the assam gravy was perfect. I waved an invisible white flag, surrendering to the almighty home cook chef!

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This home cooked dinner party ended sweet! The best part about eating fruits at home, you are well assured that the host would serve you nicely ripened and sweet fruits, unlike the crappy overpriced ones you get in Chinese restaurants, usually soaked in sugar water and thrown in with a ton of ice cubes.

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Oops! The sweetness didn’t just end there! Sweetness factor just went up to a whole new level. Chocolates from a famous locally made chocolate farm brand in Australia, “Kitchen Garden”, known for its quirky and unique combination of flavours, using only home grown, hand picked produce and hand crafted.

When I first saw “White chocolate with figs and fennel seed”, I paused and looked again. Fennel seeds? Wah. Must try….

Outcome? Hmmm..acquired taste. The first bite was “feels like eating dhall chocolate”. The fennel seeds were a little overpowering for my liking and I guess I am boring when it comes to chocolate because I love them being plain jane.

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The next Kitchen Garden chocolate test! Hazelnut chocolate with fiery peppers. Looked pretty normal looking, unlike the earlier white one, but THIS chocolate, is the ideal chocolate to have, if you ever get yourself stranded in a snowy mountain, or trapped in the cold. One piece, would leave your throat burning up like drinking a hot, spicy, peppery soup. Pee poo pee poo! Fiery alert!

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Oh yes.. yes… not to forget the utmost important factor for a great dinner, wine! Courtesy of the connoisseur chic, who starting drinking since 2 pm. Not sure if she was ENTIRELY sober. haha. We opened a Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir (cannot go wrong with that), and proceeded on with a pinotage. My first time drinking, medium-bodied, with some berries notes and vanilla. Pretty decent and easy drinking, developed more after airing a while.

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We were, yes… a litttttttle goner, by the 3rd bottle. struggled to finish the last quarter. We should have started with this first, and end with the Pinotage or the Cloudy Bay. The palate was rather bland with this one, but it became better after leaving to breathe for a while. Perhaps, it may also be influenced by us drinking the other two first, and along the way, we were eating those funky chocolates.

It was an awesome night, of catching up, with great food, great drinks, great friends. The rest of us were feeling a little stressed now, cooking to serve at that quality, ain’t easy! Better start practicing now!

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Self-pampering dinner treat@Sage Restaurant, Gardens Midvalley

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With the continuous weakening of the MYR, special restaurants can only be dined in on special occasions. My last visit to Sage was 3 years ago (Boooooo…..) and I could never forget the taste and texture of the wagyu beef cheek in my mouth.

Walking into this place brought a nostalgic feel and I was excited to re-visit my dream wagyu beef.

As per norm, we were served with bread slices as appetizers. There were varieties: plain ciabatta and sun dried tomatoes loaf. The one with tomatoes tasted better than the ciabatta which were strangely served cold to us, thus making them a little hard. I did recall my 3 years-ago experience for this fared better than the current one.

After tasting Yeast’s appetizer bread, I gotta say… Yeast won over for me, the freshness of each roll was amazing and bread was so fluffy. I had to stop myself from eating more of it to save some space for the mains.

We had two different menus: 1) dinner set meal at RM175 nett and 2) chef’s special dinner menu at RM195 nett.

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This dainty spoonful of lobster meat with caviar, was not bad. It had a finesse on the tastebuds and both ingredients blended well together.

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The extra dish served from the chef’s special menu was pate served on buttery toasted airy and porous bread slice. The pate was fantastic. The aroma was pungent, with a savoury taste not too strong to make you feel sick after eating a few slices of it.

The downside was the bottom layer bread. Not sure if it was meant to be served this way, but the bread was cold and slightly soggy, once cut the pate fell off the bread. My personal humble amateur comment was if the bread was hardened, crunchy, crispy, perhaps it would be better. Then again, I am not a chef.

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The first dish of the dinner set menu was the seared foie gras with dark grapes served with red wine reduction..and it was…fuh! spectacular. I did not have this on my last visit here. Grilled until the outer later formed a thin, crunchy, hardened later but once cut through in….oooh la la. MELT IN YOUR MOUTH. The dark grapes were soaked and cooked with red wine, reduced till they formed into a sauce. DIVINE.

Frankly, I was already full by now and my main was not even served yet!

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The first dish of the special chef’s menu was the carpaccio of hamachi with caviar and truffle soy. I had this exact same dish 3 years ago and it was honestly, the best sashimi I had ever had in my life. Until I went to Japan haha.

This time however, it was still good..as the combination of the rawness taste of the fish with the salty caviar and fragrance from the truffle was an awesome combo 3-in-1, but somehow the hamachi did taste just a tee wee bit slightly less fresh. But no major complaints!

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This was the main dish of the chef’s special menu: cured lamb shank with provencale style of vegetables wasabi. The lamb shank portion was quite big..easily 20cm’s length. It may seem a little less in finesse but the taste proved totally otherwise. Once the fork plunged in, the meat just fell off to swim in the amazing savoury sauce. Oh my…the guilt of finishing it all on your own. But it was just…wow… best lamb shank I ever had.

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Of course, I will not forget my love at first taste…the wagyu beef cheek. This time, the chef has coated the beef cheek with crusted wasabis to add a little Zing and Kick in your mouth before it landed into the meat.

As for texture, I believe that the picture spoke on behalf of me. The tenderness and the light smokey and buttery taste….oh man..perfection. I remembered that this dish on its on as ala carte cost RM95. @_@

For a more cost effective one that did not taste too far off from this premium benchmark, you may try Yeast’s wagyu beef which is served in 3 pieces, about RM60plus. Although they are not cheeks but…oh my, they were really good as well. You may search up my post on Yeast to know more.

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I was craving something chocolatey badly and the only chocolate dessert item on the menu was the chocolate fondant with earl grey tea ice cream.

I never expected how well the both went along. It was my first time trying out the earl grey tea ice cream and I was impressed how strongly infused the flavour was into the ice cream and it was not even sweet at all.

The moment the fork dived in, the molten lava chocolate flowed out. KABOOM.

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The creme lime custard with ice cream was a little too wierd for me. I can’t recall much of its taste as I stopped after my second spoonful. Too creative for my liking.

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The good thing about this place is that they offer free coffee of all types (black, cappucino, macchiato etc) at the end of the meal. I was so full till I felt a strong urge to let my zipper go. JOKING haha. I ordered a long black in hopes it would help wash down the fullness. At the same time, I told myself that I would just drink a little bit in case the caffeine deterred me from sleeping later on…but after having one sip, oh man. This is some good shyt yo! One of the best cuppas I ever had. Even better than a cuppa long blsck on a barista’s good day in Artisan.

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The wine to complement the dinner was also selected to make its finesse. This bottle cost over SGD 280.

Chateau malescot is one of the classified growth.Β  It has been gaining pretty decent scores lately. I have been priviledged to taste the 1978, 1988, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 to 2005

In general, malescot wine aged pretty well and pretty approchable at above 5 years of age.

The 2003 opened recently in 2014 exhibit a beautiful nose of leather and pencil shavings. However, you could still detect a significant alcohol heat on the nose, typical of the 2003 vintage affected by heatwaves across Europe.

The mouthfeel was plush and medium bodied.

It could evolved further with another 5 years of bottle age. By then the fruit would mellow down and show more of its tertiary character.

All in all, I had a gastronomic time again at sage, as I expected. But now with the existence of Yeast and my first try for dinner was awesome, with a slightly lower cost, I do feel inclined to give Yeast another try in the future..but Sage will always be a dear one in my heart.

Total damage for the night : RM488 + wine SGD 280….it was 1.5K gone.

I am guessing my next meal here will be another 3 years from now. Hopefully I have great news happening in my life that gives me the excuse to dine in Sage again.

Till then!

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