Into The Wild Sage.
Wild Sage in Cammeray will always have a special place in my heart. As a foodie living in the North Shore (who gets a hangover or two), I was always a bit underwhelmed by the brunch options. It is very disappointing that not one café around me did a single type of Bloody Mary! Not one that I could find anyway. But when I thought I stumbled across a Bloody Mary on Wild Sage’s menu, I even emailed them, asking them if they possibly did the spicy, vodka cocktails in the morning. Turns out, they didn’t, but they insisted we come in so they could make ones especially for me and my friends. It meant a lot.
While I’m not sure the staff are wanting to make morning cocktails on a regular basis, it certainly shows their hospitable and generous nature (and also the lack of boozy brunches in the North Shore.) I digress.
Wild Sage is a beloved Cammeray institution, standing proud on the corner of the Stocklands shopping centre on Miller Street. Open 7 days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, they are dependable spot for locals, offering an enticing modern Australian menu. By day, the vibrant, polished venue provides a wide range of both breakfast and lunch options. The breakfast ranges from healthy with various bowls, eggs how you like it, to lunch, heavy with sandwiches and burgers (made with brie cheese!). But it was their dinner that I jumped at the chance to try, with a few different steaks, pastas, share plates and of course, cocktails!
The restaurant is filled with families, ladies enjoying a catch-up and men typing at their computers. We are swiftly offered a drinks menu, and because I know how good they are with Bloody Mary’s, we opt for one of their cocktail creations. We try their apple and lychee tini, a deliciously, sour and tangy drink with nice hints of jasmine, and a good punch of apple and lychee. It’s beautifully presented, decorated with edible flowers and cut up pieces of apple.
We start with a few sharing plates – the tempura cauliflower with crispy seaweed, sumac and chilli aioli ($13.50) and the compressed watermelon with grilled haloumi, snowpea tendril, tomato, dukkah and crispy bread ($11.50) Unfortunately, both share plates seem to lack seasoning, and excitement. The tempura cauliflower wasn’t overly fried, so it had that nice cauliflower crunch but it was the sauce that actually lacked flavour.
The compressed watermelon had a nice salt and pepper blend on it and the creamy haloumi was a nice accompaniment, but the rocket that was paired with it hadn’t been dressed properly and the whole dish just didn’t feel complete. For this reason don’t fill up too much on the share plates, as there are so many exciting mains to try.
The stand out is definitely the pork belly ($28.50). Pork belly has a tendency to be overly fatty, but Wild Sage did it well. Twice cooked, the crackling snapped to perfection, and the delicious cut of meat is served on a bed of truffle butter potato mash. The apple mousse and cider reduction drizzled over was a god-send. All elements work well together, right down to the sticky, delicious sauce.
We were also excited to try the pappardelle with twelve hour braised ox cheek and red wine ragu with mushroom, parsley and ricotta cheese ($25.50) The pasta is cooked well, and had a generous dose of ragu and ricotta cheese piled on top. While the pork belly outshone it, this is a decent pasta dish.
Like how the end of the movie determines the movie overall, we feel the dessert can determine the night. And Wild Sage did not disappoint with their chocolate lava cake, paired with homemade vanilla ice cream, strawberries and cream. Gooey, warm chocolate sauce, with steam wafting out of it’s centre, paired with vanilla ice cream was always going to be a winning combination. It’s a great way to finish off.
All in all, Wild Sage served up some quality food, with just a few hiccups. Their giant menu means there are options for everyone – morning, noon and night. It is a place you go to please everyone in the family. Their wine list is stocked with some great ones, and while the menu only features the classic cocktails, the staff are always willing to make you their own concoctions. Wild Sage is set to be Cammeray’s little secret no more, as they are set to open a second restaurant right in Barangaroo! If it’s as good as it’s sibling, it’s definitely worth a try.
P.S – any North Shore boozy brunch recommendations to this author would be greatly appreciated.
Shop 17 & 18 Stocklands Mall, Cnr Miller & Amherst Streets, Cammeray
Open Mon – Sun: 7am-10pm
02 9929 8455