2012 had been an incredible year.
I went to places that I had never dreamt possible, dined on dishes so adeptly executed that my tastebuds are now eternally spoiled and over the course of the journey I have chatted and learnt much from many highly accomplished chefs. The wealth of knowledge and the development of my own palate for food, fine produce, wine and spirits has been wondrous. Yes, 2012 was remarkable and I don’t see myself slowing down in 2013.
Out of a sparse few, a particular meal that lingered in memory for 2012 was one I had just last month in Singapore. For the gourmet, Jaan in Singapore is no stranger on the culinary scene.
For some of us, dining in Singapore can be a pain for the pocket. For Jaan, and though SGD68 (RM170) may not be your usual budget for a meal, I believe you will find the price well worth the splurge for a taste of the exquisite creations of Chef Julien Royer. Come to think of it, you would be paying north of RM120++ for some mediocre buffet in KL anyways.
Besides, portions may look dainty, but they do fill you up eventually.
Champagne was poured, the menu studied and once our order was taken, I sat back and soaked in the ambiance of Jaan.
Lunch commenced with the snacks platter. And for one that accustomed to ONE tiny portion of amuse bouche in most of her dining experiences, the snack platter set in front of me seemed a little extravagant!
I couldn’t remember the name of the gentleman who served us that day. He exudes an air of quiet competence as he went about his duties and I don’t think he is a mere maitre d’. I couldn’t be sure if he’s the restaurant manager. Thus, let’s just refer to him as “M”.
As each dish is served, M would carefully elaborate on the food but unfortunately in an accent that was quite difficult for me to grasp. At the same time, the visual of each dish had me distracted. Moreover, I couldn’t wait to start taking pictures. But I didn’t want to whip out my phone and start taking notes.
All in all, I just wanted to forget about “writing” and just enjoy my food.
Thankfully, my dining partner Rainier had that settled for me. He had kindly supplied 70% of the information here. 🙂
Below: Rainier and Chef Julien Royer.
M has advised us to start from the hot Croquette then work our way down to the Smoked Eel with pickled Radish & Apple, Teriyaki Jelly, topped with finger lime. I loved the smoked eels and this was my pick of the best from the platter.
Our praises for the chef dropped a notch as we bit into this Tandoori spiced crispy chicken skin. Rainier suspected it to be overbaked, resulting in the slight bitterness that was present as we chewed.
Cantal Cheese Cromesquis (also known as croquettes) with tarragon puree (far back) was faultless. These crisps wedged on the stone consists of flours of rye, graham & sourdough. Dotting the crisp are sunflower seeds, fennel, caraway, dill, sesame & lentils.
In Jaan, the painstaking attention to details and the effort taken for everything that was served to its guest, even for a piece of crisp is precisely why dining here is an experience itself. And why Chef Julien is adored for his inspiring and seasonal menu.
The dip from this cute little bottle is a medley of Puy lentil that is sourced from a little village called Saint Flour in Auvergne region & chesnut puree. In case you didn’t know, Royer is a French native from Cantal, Auvergene and he grew up in a family of subsistence farmers. So there was a bit of his home, so to speak, in the Cantal cheese and this hummus spread.
The hummus was superb and I would have gladly lugged containers of it home if it was for sale. :DD
Appetisers were supposed to be next but we were treated to another amuse bouche of mushroom consomme – ‘Cepes Sabayon and Mushroom Tea’.
I’m more familiar with the french press being used for coffee than for soups but I won’t deny it garnered marks for tableside diversion.
The bottom of the glass was a foam of airy and earthy mushroom froth that rises up as M poured the warm consomme into it. The most visible and identifiable component was the buckwheat puffs. Overall it was the most exquisite mushroom consomme I have ever had, and I knew why after knowing the ingredients that went into it. But I shall not bore you with the minute details.
And when the staff came over and started to offer us breads, it hit me then that our lunch had barely begun and I was already half full!
Left to right: Walnut bread, mini baguette, sourdough and Truffle Brioche.
I had to try one of each of course. If food at Jaan is good, then the breads should be too.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The truffle brioche was worth a bite though.
My appetiser; the 55′ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg arrived at my table in a rather melodramatic appearance, a lone egg on an egg tray with swirling smoke.
Table theatrics aside, the eggs barely had any actual flavour of rosemary but I took delight in the presentation and the smoking rosemary at the bottom of my glass.
All in all, it was a glorious creamy egg dish with ratte potato, chorizo iberico and some sauteed grey chanterelles with buckwheat puffs for crunch. An egg dish that I wouldn’t mind waking up to every morning. 🙂
Scottish Salmon Tartar. A perfect salmon tartare would look and taste like this.
Rainier believed that they used ocean trout as the texture, taste & aroma does reminiscent those of ocean trout but he couldn’t be sure. The composition of the dish begins at the bottom of salmon tartare, where some julienne of kohlrabi was mixed with freshly grated horseradish. Then it is just diced salmon tartare by itself topped with a generous layer of Aquitaine caviar which lends the saltiness to the salmon. Circling the timbale are noisettes of kohlrabi & kyuri (japanese cucumber). On the top right is a piece of French almond, peeled.
For the uninitiated; this is kohlrabi. A member of the turnip family and tasted almost like broccoli stalks.
*picture credit to farmfolly.com
Next is a complimentary dish presented by chef Julien himself; the Pan Fried foie gras, Perigord black truffles with a Veloute of Musquee pumpkin.
Pumpkin and foie gras; both creamy, both rich, one with a livery, fatty taste while the other complements with its sweet, fresh flavour.
The main took its time to appear; as we were presented with yet another complimentary dish, the Pan Fried Scallops with grilled Japanese Baby Corn, pickled shallot along with Dolche Forte Sauce (sweet sour butter based sauce).
Oh god, what a mouthful for a lone scallop!
I echoed Rainier’s sentiments that while all the supporting components of the dish were fabulous; the sauce to every piece of vegetable in the bowl, the scallop was not. I would prefer my scallops to be a wee bit undercooked (remaining opaque inside) from this.
Then Chef Julien decided that he has teased us enough and our mains finally made its way to the table.
I peered with delight at my juicy looking, red venison.
The Venison Saddle with Poached Pear with mulled wine, celeriac & truffle, blood orange & Grand Veneur.
The sauce has a little dark chocolate added which gives a slight hint of bitterness. The meat itself was above reproach. I devoured everything, even the blood orange segments. But in particular the poached mulled wine pear was fantastic. It was adeptly done and didn’t have the slightest tannin that Rainier and I could detect. I’m guessing that it’s due to the mulled wine used.
Mulled wine are usually made with red wine with the additions of spices & raisins.
I have little respect for dory but John Dory is a totally different fish compared to the cheap, frozen dory in the supermarkets that we know.
This white, boneless, meaty fish is firm and subtly flavoursome which probably explained the “heavier” flavoured sauce served- crayfish bisque. The small portion I had of this from Rainier’s plate told me its good, but I’ll stick stick to my venison.
Chef Julien spoiled us again, sending a pre-dessert complimentary of exotic sorbet & textures of coconut. Coconut cake lined the bottom while the coconut espuma sits on the left topped with dried bananas. On the right is the exotic sorbet with the coconut meringue.
Our dessert was served tilted at an angle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa so I got really curious. Once I polished off its contents (which was fabulous by the way), I fiddled with the dinnerware and found out that it was held in place by a magnet at the bottom! Cool yes? 🙂
The “Christmas Choconuts” – a delectable trio of Valhorna Tanariva ice creams consisted of 33% cacao, white chocolate (or was it Tonka Bean?) & Gianduja ice cream. The other components are sable breton, brownie cake, almond crumble & the crispy chocolate croquant.
I enjoyed this much more than my own dessert of Chestnut Gourmandise as it was a rather playful platter with many flavours and textures to explore on one plate, ranging from creamy and nutty to crunchy and brittle.
As for the mine; the ‘Chestnut Gourmandise’, it consisted of meringue, eglantine and speculos andine.
eglantine is an Eurasian rose with prickly stems, fragrant leaves and bright pink flowers followed by scarlet hips. In this dish, it came in puree form, which was on the right. The golden jelly is made from rum. Then there is the chestnut ice cream, topped with Chantilly cream cylinder.
After the pre-dessert and the Christmas Choconuts, this barely left an impression.
Sated, both in curiosity of Jaan and in appetite, we headed into the kitchen for a glimpse of Chef Julien’s domain.
It was surprisingly compact and plain. Perhaps I had watched too many TV reality shows with large and flashier looking kitchen with all sorts of complicated looking equipments! 🙂
Last but not least, here’s the Festive Degustation Lunch menu for Jaan.
5 courses: SGD118 (RM295). 3 courses: SGD68 (RM170).
I hope the next change of the menu is soon as I’m already looking forward to return for another splendid meal just like the one I just had. 🙂
I’m thankful to Chef Julien for his generosity (namely the complimentary dishes) and the time he took to speak to us.
However, if you noticed, I didn’t take a picture with him though I love having pictures taken with chefs that I admire and where I had enjoyed the meal. Somehow, his distant attitude and almost indifferent air that he exuded was a put off. It’s hard to explain as he did paid attention to us though it did came across as pretty “grudgingly”. I think I figured out why but that’s a personal matter.
No doubt I’ll return for his food but I won’t say it would be cos I’m fond of him.
However, for all of you reading this, I would still highly recommend Jaan for a meal if you’re in Singapore. Oh, on the other end of the dining spectrum, do remember to try the Omakase Burger too! :DD
Monday – Saturday: 12.00pm – 2.00pm
Closed on Sunday and Public Holidays
Monday – Sunday: 7.00pm – 10.00pm
Closed on Public Holidays
Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford
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