One of the best meals that I had last year was at JAAN Restaurant Swissotel, and I’ve been suggesting it whenever someone asks me for recommendations.
I was thrilled when Chef Julien Royer extended an invitation to try his summer menu. But at the same time, I was a little afraid. What if it wasn’t as good as before? I had a fantastic experience at JAAN previously and I did not want to tarnish that memory.
I went back and I had a spectacular meal. Chef Julien has done it again. I dare say you will find it very hard to find a restaurant which can offer a better dining experience.
He has been helming the kitchen for a year, and given that he has managed to settle down, I have no doubt that the upcoming year will be good times for the restaurant and we can definitely expect greater things to come. JAAN is still one of the best, if not the best restaurant in Singapore.
We started the meal with the amuse bouche platter: croquette, crispy chicken skin with Indian spices, smoked eel with pickled apple and jelly.
Amuse bouches, for the uninitiated, are different from appetizers in that you do not order them from the menu. Instead, they are served free, and it is up to the chef’s creativity. They are little surprises meant to prepare the guest for the meal; to tease the palate so as to speak.
The tiny bites were excellent; they did what they were supposed to do – to “wake up” the palate.
The second amuse-bouche, mushroom soup – a mainstay on JAAN’s menu – was also very good. In fact, I am going out on a limb to say that it is one of the best mushroom soups that I’ve had.
Then, we had a selection of bread – walnut raisin, mini baguette, truffle brioche, and sourdough – with wonderful butter from Brittany, France.
After we were done, we had our first appetiser – cannelloni of new caledonian obsiblue prawn & avocado ($58). It was a medley of flavours: the smoothness of the avocado melting in your mouth; the sweetness of the obsiblue prawn; the slight tinge of saltiness from the chorizo iberico; and the oscietra caviar, tiny bubbles of oceanic pleasure popping in your mouth. So delicate, so fresh, so light, so delicious.
“This is too beautiful to be eaten,” I said to my dining companion as the server brought the tomate ‘coeur de boeuf’ to our table. Drizzled with a sauce made of fresh almond and truffle, the appetiser tasted as good as it looked.
The use of almond provided texture to the burrata, which had a tofu-like consistency; it was smooth and crumbly at the same time. The intensity of the two different types of tomatoes, sun-dried and coeur de boeuf, also added wonderful layers to the dish.
To use the word ‘good’ for describing it, is an understatement.
Next, the 55′ rosemary smoked organic egg ($44) with garden peas, fairy rings, and bellota. Among all the dishes, it stood out with its dramatic entrance. The eggs – delicately poached at 64 degrees for 55 minutes, presented in its original shell on a typical egg tray – were accompanied with dry ice on the side, making it a feast for the eyes.
To sum it up; the perfect poached eggs. I want to have this for breakfast every morning.
This was followed by the escalope of landes foie gras ($53), which was paired with a slightly fruity Brut Rose champagne. It was a very well-balanced dish, with a myriad of different flavours and textures – the foie gras was cooked to a taut consistency; the crunchiness of the hazelnut; the acidic undertone from the rhubarb drop; the freshness of the strawberry topped with fresh coriander and ginger; and accompanied by the toasted brioche.
As the meal progressed, I found it hard to continue describing the food because every dish was exceptional. I wanted to drop everything (taking photos and jotting down notes) and just eat.
This probably explains why I can’t tell you much about the next dish – Chef Julien’s pigeon from bresse ($115) – except that the pigeon breast was so soft and tender that it’s a kind of texture (for a lack of a better word) that you would not usually associate with breast meat. The pigeon leg confit, without going too much into details, was excellent. We saveured the pigeon with a glass of Gevrey-chambertin (2009).
Before heading into desserts, the manager offered us a chef’s special cheese plate, and since I wanted to save room for sweets, I requested to have a portion for sharing. How I regretted it after taking the first bite!
The cheese was good, but it was the truffle ice cream that blew us away. Forget about truffle fries, all you want is truffle ice cream. My life will never be the same again.
To wrap up the meal, we had a fraicheur d’ete – a crème brûlée with lemon, basil, and thyme; and the choconuts 3.0 ($28). During my previous visit, I had the first version of the choconuts which consisted of jivara mousse, peanuts, with macadamia nut ice cream. Chef Julien has since came up with two improved version, and for the latest edition, you have the sable breton, tanariva chocolate, tonka bean ice cream, macadamia & pecan nuts, and walnut snow.
This was again, a good built-up of flavours and textures – the intensity of the different chocolates; the saltiness of the sable, and nuts; the effortless blend of tonka bean ice cream – made it a very interesting and delicious dessert.
And finally, petit four with a cup of coffee.
I am sure you have noticed that I’ve repeatedly used the words ‘texture’ and ‘flavour’ in this post. Yet, this is truly what the food at JAAN is about – making use of the freshest produce, respecting ingredients in it’s natural form and combining it with simple everyday spices, to create multi-dimensional dishes.
Sometimes when you eat at fine dining restaurants where they serve multi-courses, it gets a little draggy and often the waiting time in-between is too long. This is, however, not the case at JAAN. The four hour lunch that we had did not seem long. A good meal is about having fun, and I think they managed to accomplish that.
I think I’ve said enough. For a special occasion, you should definitely go to JAAN – it is a restaurant that you will not want to miss out trying.
For lunch, JAAN has a 3 course set menu at $55, but I’d suggest the 5 course degustation lunch, which is a steal at $88. And for dinner, the 5 course degustation menu is available at $198, while there is also a more elaborate 7 course degustation menu at $238.
2 Stamford Road
70F Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: +65 6431 5670
Mon to Sat: 12pm – 2.30pm, 7pm – 10pm
Note: This was an invited media tasting