Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jaan @ the Swissotel, Singapore

I have been meaning to write about Jaan for the longest time, but I always kept putting it off until now, since I want to write about my top meals of 2014. And certainly, my meal at Jaan was exceptionally good. Located at the 69th floor of Swissotel, Jaan has been one of the top European restaurants in Singapore for a while now. Truth be told, I hardly eat out at fine dining places because I am reluctant to spend the $200 or more required to savour a fine dining degustation meal in Singapore, whereas if I were overseas - the considerations are different, perhaps because you've already spent much more for flight and accommodation so what's SGD 200 more? (And well - to be honest - I only take one or two long holidays per year). Therefore, I haven't been to the likes of Andre, Joel Rubuchon, Guy Savoy, Osia, Gunther's, and the like. And, of course, I have not been to Jaan, until now. 

(One of the other reasons why I don't frequent fine dining places so often is that the price of a great fine dining restaurant overseas is often far less expensive than the comparable establishment in Singapore. I went to Ledbury for their set lunch which was great value; and Jean Georges' is only USD40 for lunch, and Azurmendi in Bilbao was only EUR135 for exquisite top notch food which would blow away any restaurant here. And well - perhaps I'm biased, but I would rather go to Eleven Madison Park as compared to - Joel Robuchon Singapore. But okay, I'm digressing). 

But hey, it was a dinner worth remembering. I would stick out my neck to say that the food in Jaan is amazing, and certainly comparable to any of the top Michelin restaurants around the world, in terms of creativity, elegance, flavour, and the whole combination of the sum of its parts which makes the dining experience memorable and enjoyable.

The dining room wasn't as big as I expected: just a small room, perhaps 10-12 tables at the most. I really liked the industrial, geometric roof, which was an interesting juxtaposition to the glittering chandeliers - a combination of industrial and elegant, perhaps.

We started off with some canapes: they were really pretty, especially them Parmesan twirls. Delicious nuggets of cheese things. 

Things got even better with the next course: an amuse bouche of wild mushroom tea and walnuts. This was very delicious, with a rich and earthy mushroom flavour. Digged this. (8/10)

Then it was time for the first course: Gilardeau oyster with edible flowers, dill, and herbs. The oysters were superb: briny and sweet and slightly mineralish, paired up with some dill and edible flowers to provide a tinge of the herbaceous. Absolutely yummy. (8.5/10)

Next up, one of Jaan's signature dishes: Jaan's garden; a refreshing garden vegetable salad of fennel, carrots, broad beans, and other seasonal vegetables, paired together with a delicious light dressing. Vegetables are in vogue now (see L'Arpege) and well, vegetables are cool when they come from proper farms! Too bad - flavourful vegetables are so rare these days. (8/10)

A complimentary dish was served to us: 55 min poached egg with nuts; one of their signatures. Great balance of texture and flavours, although well I've been eating too many sous vide eggs these days. (7/10). This was alright. 

One of the star dishes of the night (probably my favourite dish): arctic char, a very clean tasting fish - with an elegant almost Japanese-like simplicity about it; paired beautifully with a light mushroom sauce. This went superbly well with the rich American chardonnay that was paired with it, with notes of toffee, spice, caramel, and retaining much acidity. I wonder what the chardonnay was because it was enthralling. A superb combination. (8.75/10)

Another "meat" dish: Mangalica pork. I loved the tasty fat bits. Paired with an elegant St Julien. (8/10)

Some elderflower grape jelly sorbet to cleanse the palate; refreshing.

We ended off with strawberries and yoghurt: a lovely light dessert, again very refreshing and with the taste of summer. A light ending to a great meal. (8/10)

Overall, the food at Jaan is quite praiseworthy. Very delicious cuisine, inventive, expertly presented, and if there's one word to use to describe it - it's elegant. The chef used to be a farmer (if I recall correctly) in France and hence his affinity with vegetables and other ingredients from the ground; and the respect for produce really shows. I would definitely come back here again, if the price was a bit less astronomical! It was about SGD200 with the Feed at Raffles card - which is rather good value for the quality of the ingredients, but far too pricy to be consuming this on a regular basis.

One of the best meals of 2014, as 2014 draws to a close. Happy new year all!

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