Sometimes the timing works out just right. We’re really excited to share this post with you, since our lunch at JAAN under chef Kirk Westaway last month was one of our best ever, and only a few days ago have they received their first star in Singapore’s debut Michelin guide. If it were up to us, we would give them ten of those, and we’re about to tell you just why!
Even before receiving its first Michelin star, JAAN has constantly proved itself to be one of the most interesting restaurants in Singapore’s culinary scene. It appeared on compilations such as Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and Wine & Dine’s Singapore’s Top Restaurants. In addition, JAAN’s Chef Kirk Westaway was the winner of 2015’s San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year. He was also named 2016 Rising Chef of the Year at World Gourmet Summit Awards.
Let’s start with the location. Situated in the 70th floor of Swissotel’s Equinox Complex, JAAN overlooks Singapore’s bay area and skyline. Not only does this provide incredible views through its large windows, but the natural lighting coming in through them serves to emphasize the exquisite aesthetics and level of detail of the dishes.
The 40 seat restaurant isn’t large, but it doesn’t feel cramped either. The decor is done in taste, with ample room for each table and a huge crystal chan-deh-li-heeeer spanning the length of the dining hall. Lunchtime had a pleasant atmosphere, and the friendly, open staff engaged in light conversation with us as we sat.
JAAN prides itself in using the finest, freshest ingredients. When we spoke with su chef Bartek Cywiński he told us that their scallops had just arrived from Scotland yesterday, and that they’re expecting red snappers from New Zealand the very same day, not a day out of water. The modern French menu definitely showcases these ingredients with dishes that are multifaceted in palette, mesmerizing in design, complex in concept and yet are still quite approachable.
There are several lunch options to choose from, and to our delight they included the 5 course menu Degustation Lunch (118SGD / $87 / 334₪) which we went for (and practically includes much more than 5 courses). This menu also includes two of JAAN’s signature dishes! We wish more restaurants would offer degustation menus for lunch, as these usually offer an ability to taste more dishes at a more affordable rate than their dinner counterparts.
The meal opened with amazingly creative and decadent Amuse Bouche:
Fish and chips – Resembling a tiny bird’s nest, this bite-sized take on a classic dish was cute, flavorful and crunchy.
Foie gras macaron – Sweet with a chewy shell and a surprising savory creamy filling.
and our favorite out of the three, Venison Tartare with kohlrabi on Lotus Root; Tapioca cracker with lin seed.
Truffle mushroom consomme – This was warm, earthy and contained crunchy bits for added texture. We both wouldn’t have objected to eat an entire bowl of this creamy goodness.
JAAN’s bread basket includes four types of bread which were all delightful: Lemon basil, walnut raisin, onion brioche and mustard and parmesan. It also came with Bordier butter, a brand of artisanal French butter.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO‘ Burrata artigiana – This was definitely the highlight of the meal. It’s comprised of a “tomato”, basil sorbet and jelly cubes, burrata cheese and whipped up consommé. The star of the dish is more like a simulacrum of a tomato, rather than an actual tomato.
Su chef Cywiński told us that the process of creating this dish takes three days. It includes cooking a French Heirloom tomato sous vide in a tomato consommé to amplify its flavour, then re stuffing it with cubed Oxheart tomatoes, gherkins, capers and oregano. Lastly, the chef dehydrates this construct back to it’s original tomato-y form. This frankenstein experiment of taste and texture animates and elevates the creation to something that’s worth so much more than the sum of its parts.
Honestly, this was one of the tastiest things we ever tried, and we never wanted it to end.
CANON OF LAMB Bagna cáuda, crosnes – The main dish of the degustation lunch menu. The organic canon of lamb was served with Cevennes onion jam, apple chutney and bagna (warm dip made of garlic, anchovies, olive oil and butter), forming a beautiful, wild-looking dish. The meat was soft and tender with a thin fat strip enveloping it.
Citrus Espuma – a chilly citrus palate cleanser with cucumber sorbet. An amazingly tasty combination of crunchy meringue and soft and foamy textures.
IVORY CARAMEL Textured chocolate – For dessert we were honored to have chef Westaway bring the the dish to the table and add its final component in real-time. This chocolaty bowl contains caramelised Ivory Ice Cream, 72% Dark Chocolate Espuma and Sous Vide Aero Chocolate. Each of these chocolates has its own texture, temperature and flavor profile which creates a multi-dimensional dessert that doesn’t feel heavy despite the bold, sweet flavors. The dish had also a surprising element in the form of Peta Zetas (pop rock) candies, which added a fizzy sensation to some bites.
CAFE EXPRESS – The meal concluded with three types of petit fours which arrived in an unfolding wooden box: Caramel apple roze, Lemon tart (our favorite) and crunchy chocolate ball filled with caramel.
JAAN is one of those rare restaurants where everything comes together perfectly. The menu, the flavors, the aesthetics, the location, the atmosphere and the staff – all of these combine to create a truly unique dining experience that lingers in your head and in your mouth much after your body has physically left the establishment. It’s apparent that chef Kirk Westaway and his talented staff imbue everything that comes out of the kitchen with the love and dedication for the profession. If you find yourself in singapore, eating in JAAN is an experience you definitely don’t want to miss.