A hidden gem, Sage Restaurant, Braddon
This place was recommended by another restaurant owner. I think it is a place he goes regularly and I can see why. I have read mix reviews about Sage, but for me, it was definitely a hit!
Sage Restaurant is located in Braddon, nestled inside the 1920’s heritage building, Gorman House. The man behind this wonderful restaurant is Chef Clement Chauvin, who has worked in 2 Michelin starred “Pic” and “Nicolas La Bec” as well as Gordon Ramsay’s flagship “Claridges” in London.
The place was moderately busy by the time I got there at 8pm. However, they had no problems in accommodating for one. I love the wooden floors, the intimate lighting and the waiters that evening were absolutely lovely!
The menu is quite simple – five choices for entrée, main and desserts. You have an option of two courses for $55 or three courses for $65. There are appetizers and sides at extra cost should you wish to order them. I was hungry, but it is always hard to eat a three course meal on your own.
Started with complimentary bread, a choice of sourdough baguette, cumin and fennel in a shape of a muffin or white baguette. I wanted something different and opted for the cumin and fennel bread and smothered with a generous serving of sage butter it was absolutely delightful. All the bread are baked freshly on the premises, and the butter, oh my my – creamy and oh so buttery!
Entrée was an easy choice I couldn’t go past slow braised pork belly – trio of compressed melon, white balsamic, crackling and pistachio paste. How can I really say no to that? The crab salad sounded interesting too but it was definitely the pork belly that won my heart.
The pork belly was slow cooked; it was so tender that it just melted in your mouth. The trio of melon – watermelon, honey melon and watermelon were compressed, served at room temperature and cut into perfect circles and then topped with white balsamic jelly which was fantastic! I never really thought pistachio would go well with pork but I was proven wrong. The flavours were fantastic, the tenderness of the pork incredible and the crackle was a little salty but crunchy and superb. However, in saying that, I do prefer my crackle the ‘proper’ suckling way as the crackle presented was a little ‘airy’.
For main, I couldn’t decide between the pan roasted ocean trout or the 12 hour braised wagyu 9+ brisket. I was afraid that by ordering the pork belly and beef would be too heavy but I was informed that the pork belly was a light dish, and it was and that the wagyu would be perfect for a cold wintery night.
I am glad that I ordered the beef. Filet mignon which sat on a thin strip of wagyu brisket topped with parsnip fondant and port braised eschallots. The filet mignon – three words – TO DIE FOR! It was tender, and extremely succulent that it just fell apart; the sauce was rich but not overpowering or sickly. The wagyu brisket, which was braised for 12 hours I enjoyed but it wasn’t as tender as the filet. It was truly a magnificent dish and one I would happily eat again.
I was full and unfortunately had absolutely no room for dessert. Service was fantastic, one of the waiters really made me feel ‘welcome’ and well not all alone! He even offered books for me to read which I thought was very kind. The only downside, the pause between each course was a little long. I understand there were a couple of large groups dining that evening, I guess when dining alone, you really don’t want to wait too long. Regardless, it was still a wonderful evening; I was relaxed and the food was amazingly good!
There are refurbishing the outside of the restaurant, from what I hear, there will be a new open air garden room, recycled timber outdoor deck. Sage is a wonderful restaurant, it was listed in the 2010 Gourmet travellers top ten restaurant in ACT. A ‘hidden gem’.
GA’s rating: 8 / 10
Gorman House Art Centre
Braddon ACT 2612
Ph: +61 02 6249 6050