2 Stamford Road, 70F
Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: +65 64315679
Jaan has been around for a long time, but it was only in recent years that it made its name as a stalwart in Singapore fine-dining. We were curious to see how the local scene stacked up, and if the good repute of the restaurant could persist after Andre Chiang had left. So we ventured forth to let the new chef on the block, Julien Royer, feed us.
Julien did not disappoint. As degustation menus go, there were some bright points and some less so. For the sake of brevity, we shall focus on the stand-out dishes for the night.
Amuse bouche – Cep sabayon, wild mushroom tea, walnut and lovage
Amuse bouches are fantastic. They are the unadvertised freebie first course of the culinary world, and a licence for chefs to experiment new creations on patrons in a perfectly legitimate manner. Even if it was meant as an experiment of sorts, the ceb sabayon and wild mushroom tea came to us as the finished product. The presentation of the dish was polished and the flavours sublime. The mushroom tea itself was incredibly smooth, as teas should be, with the walnut and cream complementing the saltiness of the tea with a classic nutty flourish.
Atlantic Halibut – Summer vegetables, Shellfish Ragout, “Potee”Broth & Iberico di Bellot
The halibut in ‘potee’ broth pulled at my homecooked heartstrings a little. My father is Teochew, and fish soup was a big dinner feature when growing up. When I tasted the dish I half expected to find a sng buey (sour plum) floating around in the dish somewhere. The dish was tasty and I liked the clarity of flavours it presented. What I found surprising was how a chef so recently off the boat from London (in September 2011 when we visited, Julien was only 2 weeks into the job) could incorporate elements of local flavour into his dishes. Quite impressive for a chef as young as he was. I think the man was only 30. One thing I must say – I was not very sure what contribution the Iberico pork slices on the plate at the side added to the dish. My opinion is that it should not have been there.
Bresse Pigeon – Ay Roasted Breast, Confit Leg, Pickled Matsutake, Organic Corn, Jus ‘D’ Abats
The thing about pigeon, and game meat in general, is that there is really nothing much you can do to make it taste any different from what it really is. Also, it is possible for you to have too much of it, as the marginal satisfaction you gain from eating it decreases rapidly past a certain point. I made the mistake of ordering a whole grouse at a restaurant once. That was clearly too much. That said, I liked what I saw on my plate – Goldilocks-portioned pigeon meat, supplemented with some lovely corn mash and matsusake mushroom. The salty, sweet and mushroomy combination was lovely – I was tempted to have another portion, but I know better now.
Finally, the dessert. We were first served Choconuts – consisting of Jivara Mousse, Peanuts & Macadamia Nut Icecream. Unfortunately we did not manage to get a picture of it. It was in my mind a classic pairing of two familiar culinary bedfellows. There really is something about chocolates and nuts that make grown people regress into adolescence, and to attack the contents on their plate with childlike abandon. I liked the dessert for what it was – a classic chocolate creation.
The petit fours, pictured above, provided us with an aesthetically pleasing conclusion to the meal. Taste wise, I favoured the soury-tangy sponge cakes more than I did the chocolate tidbits. The apricot slices in a jar, while pretty, did not make much of an impact on the overall concept of the dish. It would have been nice if there had been a palette cleanser of some sort to wash down the chocolate dessert that preceded it.
Jaan is great for special occasions – an anniversary, a birthday dinner, or a festive occasion. Being at the Equinox complex at The Stamford certainly gives the restaurant a selling point that other establishments do not possess. The view of the Singapore skyline, the level of privacy and service accorded to you will make you glad you chose the place to begin with. If your plan was to spend a quiet evening with your partner over a meal, you can not do better than Jaan.
Some of the other dishes we had:
Langoustine – Limequat Marinade, Old Radish Species, Wild Fennel & Aquitaine Caviar
Trumbetta Zucchini – Burratina, Basil, Almonds & Black Olives
Ravioli – Organic Hen Egg, Artichoke, Melanosporum Truffle & Canta
Landes Foie Gras – Chestnut Honey Glaze, Confit Beetroot, Rhubarb Fondant & Wild Watercress