Makati Shangri-La’s latest dining outfit was inspired by one word with two meanings. Sage could either pertain to the aromatic herb that is used for cooking, or it could be used to refer to a wise man/woman, a scholar, a guru or a savant. In the 14th century, it was first used by the Anglo-French and it meant “to taste, have good taste, be wise”. It is an apt name for a restaurant and bar that is the embodiment of good taste. Everything in Sage Restaurant and Bar from the well-appointed décor to the food is impeccable.
The interiors of Sage exude a somewhat masculine but elegant vibe through the use of leather furniture, dark wood, earthy colors, and varying textures such as suede, tweed, and velvet. When you walk through the doors, you will immediately notice the impressive collection of fine wines, a testament to the fact that Shangri-La Makati has its own dedicated wine cellar.
At the head of Sage’s culinary team is newly appointed Chef de Cuisine, Gilles Galli. He hails from Grasse, France and has a remarkable resume including the Michelin-starred Michel Rostang in Paris. Chef Gilles’ cooking is heavily influenced by Mediterranean flavors using locally sourced, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients. His beautifully plated dishes are a feast for the senses.
The modern European fare in Sage is offered in two courses (P1,350) or three courses (P1,650) during lunch. Breakfast and dinner are offered in separate menus. The two-course option comes with a starter or dessert plus a main course. The three-course option comes with a starter, main course, and dessert. Some of the dishes on the menu come with an add-on price on top of the set price. If you don’t feel like having dessert, you can opt for tea or coffee.
Sage’s sophistication extends to its menu. Every dish is a work of art, a harmony of flavors that complement each other and simply sing. Everything was carefully drafted and meticulously executed.
I expected nothing less. The choice of starts stumped me because everything sounded good. In the end, my lunch companions and I agreed to order different starters so that we could sample more than one. The Japanese Spiced Hamachi Fillet was a unanimous favorite. Paper-thin slices of Hamachi tuna caress the tongue with a luscious, buttery texture. The richness is cut by the fresh and clean flavors of the barley salad that came with it. The Roasted Scallops (additional P150 on top of set price) were also much lauded. Two plump and sweet scallops sat on a bed of lentil salad and was served with a citrusy Espelette chili pepper. We also tried the Spring Vegetable Salad, Nice Style and the Edamame and Watercress Soup with King Crab. The parmesan crisp and emulsion in the soup gave it a pleasantly cheesy flavor with every sip, I just wish they were a little more generous with the King Crab bits.
We did the same thing for the main course, ordering several dishes for a more diverse lunch experience. Sage boasts of a Josper grill in the kitchen which is a grill and an oven combined into one machine. Their Josper grill specialties include New Zealand Lamb Chop and US Omaha Beef Striploin (additional P380 on top of set price). The lamb chops had a nice, earthy taste that wasn’t too gamey, the succulent meat yielding easily to the bite. The strip loin was perfectly cooked and seasoned, left unadorned and best eaten as it is which is how great cuts of meat usually are. All grilled items are served with two accompaniments, a side dish and a vegetable dish. Get the Lemon Risotto, slightly bitter with just a hint of tang, its creaminess coats the mouth and goes down with a velvety finish. Other must-try mains are the Pan-seared Batangas Sea Bass Fillet, Calamari a la Plancha, and the Grilled US Duck Breast.
Sage’s lunch menu gives diners a choice of five desserts: Hazelnut Paris-Brest, Thin Apple Tart, Milk Chocolate Mille Feuille, Passion Fruit Soup, and Sage Sorbet (Chocolate, Basil, Mango, and Raspberry). Every dessert is, just like everything else, beautifully executed. It was almost a shame to ruin the gorgeous plating that they came in. I particularly enjoyed the Sage Sorbet, a sampling of four different sorbet flavors. The dark chocolate was a delicate balance of sweet and bitter, the basil having the distinct but muted leafiness of the herb, the raspberry enjoyably tingly in its tartness, and the mango juggling sweet and acidic.
Sage sits in what used to be the beloved Conway’s. We are told that loyal patrons still express longing for the old restaurant. And rightly so, in my opinion because Conway’s is an institution that will always be remembered. With Sage as its replacement, however, Makati Shangri-La’s status as a world-class dining destination is in good hands.
Restaurant Operating Hours:
Breakfast 7am – 10 am, Monday to Friday
Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm, Monday to Friday
Dinner 6pm – 10:30pm, Monday to Saturday
Bar Operating Hours:
5pm – 2am, Sunday to Thursday
5pm – 3am, Friday and Saturday
To book a table at Sage or for further information, please call Restaurant Reservations and Information Center at (632) 813 8888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.