Friday, March 7, 2014

Singapore's Best Restaurants - JAAN (#5) at Swissôtel The Stamford

A week or so ago Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino released their 2014 edition of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, with eight restaurants in Singapore making the list! It just so happened that our first wedding anniversary was round the corner, so it was the perfect excuse for some splurging :) After some consideration, we decided to go with JAAN - 5th Best restaurant in Singapore, and 17th Best in Asia ... purely because of the gorgeous view from the 70th floor of Swissôtel The Stamford!

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Great View
That View. Probably even better at night

As you might already know, JAAN is helmed by Chef de cuisine Julien Royer who stepped up to the pass after previous Maestro André Chiang left to form his own epynomous restaurant (incidentally it's made the #1 spot in Singapore this year as well). For lunch there's a choice between a three-course menu, a five-course (with vegetarian option), and a seven-course tasting menu. We decide to go with the five-course meal - one 'regular' and one vegetarian - $118++ each.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Pre Lunch Canapes
Pre-Lunch Canapé‎s

Of course, when it comes to this level of dining, five courses doesn't strictly mean five plates. There's almost always a plethora of other "complimentary" bites thrown in to either whet the appetite or cleanse the palate. JAAN is no exception and after our orders are taken we're immediately started off with some Canapé‎s, our favorites of which were the black sesame sponge with smoked Danish Eel, walnut crackers with grated cheese and Chef Royer's interpretation of Hummus.

The amuse bouche follows soon thereafter and is probably best described as an elevated mushroom soup, laced with Shiitake and other mushrooms with walnut cream and cheese. Warm, hearty, earthy and delicious.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Amuse Bouche Mushroom Soup
Amuse Bouche

Moving on to the bread basket, then - this being lunch we didn't want to overstuff ourselves, so we tried the onion brioche and the baguette. The onion brioche was terrifically good bread - think buttery croissant style layered flaky goodness with a strong yet not overpowering onion aroma and flavor. The baguette on the other hand was surprisingly ... hard. Yes, we know that baguettes are supposed to have hard crusts, but at this mini size it just ends up being too hard.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Bread Basket
Artisanal Breads

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Bread with Butter
French Butter with Sea Salt on the side

The first course for both menus opens up with the Beetroot Collection - different types of beetroots, accompanied by beetroot sorbet, burratta artigiana and honeycombs. It's a nice start and perhaps serves as an opening statement for Chef Royer's philosophy when it comes to food.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Beetroot Collection
1st Course: Beetroot Collection

The Winter Garden follows next which is essentially a salad with some remarkably unique ingredients. We thought the crunch imparted by the arrowroot, purple sweet potato and onion chips gave a nice textural contrast; but we weren't so sure about the onion chips as we felt the sharpness was a little jarring. The carnivore version comes with a few additional slices of prosciutto.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Winter Garden
2nd Course: Winter Garden

From here the two menus diverge - I get the Confit of Rainbow Trout sitting on kagoshima pork and shisho flowers, with romanesco and cauliflower. The trout is nice - expertly cooked rare, but the pork simply steals the show here. It's full of flavor, tastes amazing, and overpowered every other flavor on the plate.

Or maybe I just like pork too much :)

Anyways, the darling gets a varation of the 55° smoked organic egg sitting on potato puree with grated cheese and shaved black truffles. It's amazing how different real truffles taste like as compared to truffle oil that's used in fast food joints serving truffle fries, etc. I suppose that's to be expected though since truffle oil isn't even made out of truffles.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Confit Rainbow Trout
3rd Course (carnivore): Confit of Rainbow Trout

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan 55 Smoked Organic Egg
3rd Course (herbivore): 55 Smoked Organic Egg

With the main course, I get the Roasted Venison Loin. Venison has a very distinct gamey taste that not everyone enjoys - I normally don't appreciate it much but it was roasted so well here I lapped up every bit of the meat. And the jus (sauce). And the accompanying vegetables and the red wine pear slice. And then I ate the blackberries on the side and found the sharp tart/sourness extremely jarring. Not quite sure what those berries were supposed to achieve.

The vegetarian option is the Chestnut Ravioli with pumpkin puree, pumpkin slices and more black truffle. More truffle's always good, right? We were really surprisd by the usage of the pumpkin here, it was really good.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Roasted Venison Loin
4th Course (carnivore): Roasted Venison Loin

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Chestnut Ravioli
4th Course (herbivore): Chestnut Ravioli

A little breather here with the pre-dessert: Blood Orange Granite with Pomegranate Foam. I thought it was a very nice, light and airy palatte cleanser, but the darling thought it was too sour and couldn't finish hers.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Pre Dessert
Pre-Dessert

The last course is the dessert - for which I got the Choconuts Tart, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The tart is a smorgasboard of chocolate and hazelnuts with different preparation techniques resulting in a feast of different textures, flavors and temperatures. Crisp, spongy, moist, chocolatey, it's all here. If you enjoy chocolate and/or nuts you'll dig this.

The darling gets something called the Exotic which is a tropical fruit-themed dessert - coconut ice cream, pineapple slices, candied pineapple wedges, banana cake and banana puree. It's also pretty good but I much prefer my tart.

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Choconuts Tart
5th Course (carnivore): Choconuts Tart

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Exotic
5th Course (herbivore): Exotic

After all that food we're served our choice of coffee and tea, and get to wash it down with the petit fours of the day - rosemary scented ice cream lollipops, coconut jelly cubes, Banana puree with chocolate bits and kiwi berries with avocado cream. Delicious end to a delicious meal!

Singapore Best Restaurants Jaan Petit Fours
Petit Fours (with coffee and tea)

At the end of the meal, we think we understand Chef Royer's philosophy when it comes to cooking. For me I very much enjoyed the lunch, but I did think that some of the dishes were more a "collection of bits and pieces on the same plate" rather than one coherent dish. I also thought one or two of those bits didn't at all go with the rest of the plate and found that experience a little jarring. Considering the exemplary service and cooking overall I'd still give JAAN a solid 4/5.

The darling felt that her vegetarian-option set was better, though, and gives it a perfect 5/5.

At $138 nett after service charges and taxes, we feel that the meal was worth the money, and definitely would recommend it for any special occasions. Or for a normal meal, depending on the strength of your wallet :)

2 comments:

  1. I went to Jaan to celebrate my girl's birthday last year. It is a gem and the experience is awesome. Culinary to a hold new level.

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