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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

Sage Restaurant

Gorman House Art Centre

Braddon ACT 2612

Ph: +61 02 6249 6050

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Italian and Sons, Canberra

This blog may turn into me eating my way around Canberra than Sydney soon! I was in Canberra again and caught up with the lovely E for dinner. Italian and Sons was another restaurant that’s on her list of restaurants to try. Tucked away in Braddon, Italian and Sons was awarded a one hat by the Sydney Morning Herald good food guide 2011.

I have heard mix reviews about this restaurant, the service can be a bit of a miss and so can the food. It was a busy Tuesday night, E had made reservations at 6pm. The place is relatively tiny buand cozy. I love the grainy wooden wall panels that stretch along the narrow place, the hanging salumi and the extensive formagio selection. The specials are written on the blackboard, including the daily specials and I couldn’t go past the Tuesday specials!

E opted for the Orecchiette with suckling pig, broccoletti, chilli and pecorino ($26). I do love orecchiette pasta – small round pasta that’s roughly shaped like an ear. I love the indentation of it as its great for collecting sauce. The pasta was al dente, the suckling pig tender, and I love the creaminess of the sauce and the chilli really gave it a nice spicy kick at the end. 

I couldn’t go past the Tuesday special – wood roast suckling pig on the bone with apple and sage ‘mostarda’, bitter Italian greens ($32). It was a generous serving of suckling pig – TWO large portions. The pork was deliciously tender and succulent, the mostarda was sweet and really complemented the pork well.

The crackle, my oh my, mouth wateringly gooey, and crispy and by far the best thing about the suckling pig. Sorry the photo is a little dark, my old point and shoot really doesn’t like the dark surroundings. I noticed other diners around me ordering this ginormous tender loving pork.

For dessert, E and I thought we would share the Tira mi su ($12). One of E’s friend dined here the night before and was blown away by the tiramisu. She said ‘it’s what the other little tiramisu inspired to be when they are all grown up’ and I have to say, it was one hell of a tiramisu!

The sauce was thick, creamy and oh so chocolate-y. Inside, delicious and moist cake-like that just melted in my mouth – it was heavenly! I didn’t want it to end, I wanted more and more.

The service was warm and friendly. We didn’t feel as though we were rushed. The food was absolutely wonderful, especially the suckling pig and the tira mi su – heaven in my mouth!

I did notice other diners having wood-fire pizza and it looked good – large servings with wonderful toppings. The signature dish is the rosemary foccacia (with freshly sliced salumi). The other desserts also sounded great, however, if sweets aren’t your thing, they do have a selection of cheeses. The wine list is quite extensive. Both E and I had a glass of the house red wine with our meal which was lovely.

Overall, I thought the meal was great, service warm and friendly and I still dream about that marvelous tira mi su. I may have to drop by just for that! Thanks again E for keeping me out of mischief! No doubt I will see you and J next time again.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

7 Lonsdale Street
 
Canberra, 2612
 
Ph: +61 2 6162 4888
 

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