First Class

Well done! Resto raises the steaks in parade of meats

Sher Tomahawk steak at the Sage Bespoke Grill of Shangri-La Makati.

Sher Tomahawk steak at the Sage Bespoke Grill of Shangri-La Makati.

Who remembers Cheval Blanc, once upon a time—back in the 90s to the early 2000s—the signature fine dining restaurant of Shangri-La Makati?

I remember this was where one would go for the best steak and wine pairing in town. And they really had the best steaks, with perfect marbling, and the best wine list that it if you were not a connoisseur it would almost be embarrassing to choose.


Today, albeit in a more casual setting, it is at Sage in Shangri-La Makati that one can go for excellent steak. Rebranded Sage Bespoke Grill, they now offer topnotch grain-fed, grass-fed and Wagyu steaks.

Over dinner to introduce Shangri-La Makati’s new F&B (food and beverage) director, Gilles Baurieres, and the new menu of their young and dashing chef de cuisine, Sebastian Barcudes, we had the pleasure of experiencing what they mean by excellent steak.


Chef Sebastian Barcudes, Chef de Cuisine of Makati Shangri-La’s Sage Bespoke Grill.

Chef Sebastian Barcudes, Chef de Cuisine of Makati Shangri-La’s Sage Bespoke Grill.

Barcudes is Argentinian and, therefore, by sheer force of heritage would know a good steak. He is also quite the culinary expert by experience, having formerly been chef de cuisine at Shangri-La in Doha.

It is lucky for us Filipinos that he married a Bulaqueña, Nicole, so he was motivated to move to Shangri-La here.

With the restaurant’s mandate to offer unparalleled meats, the chef sampled steaks from over 30 leading suppliers from around the world until he was confident with his picks.

His selections are now on the new menu of Sage, which offers a dozen options for the meat lover.

John Dee

His first pick is John Dee steaks for both grass-fed and grain-fed steaks. John Dee is the oldest, single-family owned meat processor in Australia whose processing plant is in Warwick, Queensland, situated on the Darling Downs, a farming region on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range in southern Queensland. They have been in the business since 1939.

From this brand, the chef chose the John Dee Premium grass-fed ribeye, tenderloin and sirloin; as well as the grain-fed John Dee Banksia, a Yearling beef brand with clean, fresh and pure flavors produced from best quality cattle.



First on chef Sebastian’s list of grain-fed steaks is Stockyard, also from Australia. This brand is highly respected Down Under and is its most awarded beef brand (their Kiwami Wagyu has also been highly awarded, notably garnering the Grand Champion for Branded Beef title at the prestigious Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show Branded Beef Competition, although it is not yet on Sage’s list). They have been producing grain-fed beef since 1958.

From Stockyard, Barcudes chose the 200+ days long fed ribeye and tenderloin. To make this meat, the cattle from the finest cattle genetics are fed on a nutritious diet comprised of grains, molasses, silage, vitamins and minerals in excess of 200 and 400 days to produce beef with flavor and tenderness.

St. Helen

For Angus beef, the chef chose St. Helens Beef. They are very proud of their “great-tasting, nutritious beef that is tender every time.” The secret is in their cattles, which graze on the United States northwest pastures and have ideal cattle-raising conditions, including the wealth of wheat, corn, hay and potatoes—nearly all necessary components of sustainable cattle feed right in their backyard.

Sage now offers their prime grain-fed Angus tenderloin.

Creekstone Farms

Of course, the list would not be complete without steak from the Midwest. The chef chose Creekstone from Kansas, known for their premium Black Angus beef.

The beef from Creekstone Farms would be the most in tune with those on a whole food diet because they pride themselves in never using antibiotics, hormones, growth-promoting drugs, or artificial ingredients on their cattle, and placed on a “pure vegetarian diet.” They also practice genetics, which allows consistency in their cattle.

From Creekstone, Barcudes chose the Black Angus ribeye.


For Wagyu, the chef is very proud of his selection: Sher Wagyu from Victoria, Australia.

I love the story of this company. Sher Wagyu is produced by couple Nick and Vicki Sher in Victoria, Australia. Nick is an Agriculture Science graduate of the University of Melbourne and purchased some of the first Wagyu genetics imported into Australia and calved the first purebred Wagyu embryo calves, born in Australia on Feb. 11, 1992.

Later, with encouragement from their Japanese customers, the Shers pioneered the breeding of Wagyu with Holstein, the traditional Japanese F1. Today, they continue to grow their Fullblood & Crossbred Wagyu herds.

Chef Sebastian uses meats from Sher Wagyu for ribeye, tenderloin and sirloin options. Also, the incredible 1.2-kilo Tomahawk offered at Sage for P9,500 is from the Sher Red Label.

The meat has a marbling of MS5, chosen by Barcudes because he does not want too much fat that is not ideal for ribeye and certainly not for a Tomahawk.

The best around the world

Aside from the best steaks, Sage Bespoke Grill also offers the best produce from around the world: Maine lobster, Atlantic black cod, French chicken, Alaskan king crab, Fine de Claire oysters, Norwegian salmon and Hokkaido scallops.

Sage also offers veal from Peter’s Farm from the Netherlands and Dorper lamb from Australia.

From the Philippines, the chef has carefully selected incredible tomatoes that he uses for his heirloom salad. They are so juicy with just the right amount of sweet, you would be proud of our produce.

While not literally bespoke, these items are definitely excellently curated. These are definitely worth the splurge.

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TAGS: Chef Sebastian Barcudes, Cheval Blanc, Sage Bespoke Grill, Sebastian Barcudes, Shangri-La Makati, Sher, Sher Tomahawk steak, steak, Wagyu, Wagyu steaks
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