I hope all of you had a fantastic and Merry Christmas surrounded by loved ones! I can’t believe this year has gone by so quickly. It’s amazing to know that I have already made it through my first year of university. All in all it has been an exciting albeit busy year. I am currently in Singapore, having a wonderful time with my family and thought I would update the blog with one of my many meals in this land of food i.e. there are more to come in the New Year :).
Each year, I look forward to my family trip to Singapore. Both my parents were born in this wonderful city and although I’m ‘Aussie-born’, Singapore has always had a special place in my heart, holding many childhood memories, my ever-growing extended family and a melting pot of foods from across Asia.
As the ‘meal-planner’ I decided that the family deserved a culinary treat after a year of hard work. After much research across the Singaporean blogosphere, I eagerly made a reservation at JAAN at the beginning of November. I had heard many great things about the restaurant and was itching to experience this sky high dining experience.
After facing much rain in the first week of our stay in Singapore, we were blessed with clear skies and sun on the day of our meal. Located in the ‘Equinox Complex’ of Swissotel in the heart of Singapore’s Raffles Place, we soared up to the 70th level to meet our awaiting meal. I admit there was a bit of impatience on my part throughout the elevator ride.
We were greeted by very polite staff and a beautiful setting; comprising of a horizontal, free form chandelier spanning across the ceiling and a panoramic view of the city. It was quite spectacular to see how the Singaporean sky-line has changed over the years, with the addition of the iconic Marina Bay Sands (also known as ‘the ship building’ to many of my friends back in Sydney) and Gardens by the Bay.
Lunch was a four-course menu at $S68 per person with 2-3 options per course, so yes, many hard decisions were to be made! Luckily, Mama and I decided to order differently and share so we could satisfy our curious taste buds!
We began with delicately presented pre-meal ‘snacks’. The first of these were bite size beauties consisting of a ‘Croquette’, ‘Crispy Chicken Skin with Tandoori Cream’ and ‘Smoked Eel’. We were advised to start with the ‘Croquette’ and work our way across the board as it was best eaten warm. It was filled with a subtle flavoured cheese and potato and was delightfully crispy on the outside, but somehow I don’t think it could compare to the croquette I had at Guillaume! Nevertheless, it was still sinfully delicious and oozing with goodness! The ‘Crispy Chicken Skin’ was superb and shattered at first bite. The tandoori flavour was not as prominent as I had hoped for but that was completely made up for with the awesome crunch of the skin! The most interesting flavours and textures came from the ‘Smoked Eel’. The layer of jelly was so delicate and smoky flavour so awesome!
For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge fan of hummus and when I saw the Chef’s take on Hummus presented in such an adorable little pot I was slightly over-excited! This deconstructed version of hummus played on the flavours of the well-known dip, however one could truly taste the ‘love’ put into its creation with the accompanying descriptive card stating: “My personal interpretation using lentils from Saint-Flour, Auvergne and Chestnut Paste”. I really enjoyed the texture of the hummus as there were still coarse morsels of lentils within the paste. Its simple presentation really contrasted the modern nature of the meal ahead, emphasising the personal and traditional flavours that would be carried throughout the dishes, which took simple flavours and components to new heights.
Before, the meal really started we were presented with my guilty pleasure, bread. We were given the option of ‘Truffle Roll’, ‘Mini Baguette’, ‘Sourdough’ and ‘Hazlenut’. The instant I heard the word’s ‘Truffle’ I reserved the oh so soft ‘Truffle Roll’ and coerced the family to take the other options so I could photograph *cough* try *cough* all of them. Out of all the options, the two that stood out to me the most were the ‘Truffle Roll’ and ‘Mini Baguette’.
The ‘Mini Baguette’ definitely won for presentation. I mean, how much cuter could it be?! On another note, Lil’ Bro absolutely adored the butter, which was super smooth and it may be a little embarrassing to disclose how many mounds of goodness he went through!
We still hadn’t even reached the beginning of the set menu yet! The amuse-bouche, which I had heard so much about was the ‘Cepes Sabayon and Mushroom Tea’ – meant to ‘awaken’ the palate. Dried porcini mushrooms at the bottom of the cup were covered by a fresh mushroom soup, the ‘tea’ which was poured carefully by the waiter. It was exquisitely fragrant and texturally exciting, with the crispy morsels of mushrooms releasing an amazing ‘crunch’. This was definitely one of the highlights of the meal. It was incredible how such a simple concept of mushroom soup could be transformed into something so delicate and wonderful!
Finally, we reached the start of our three-course menu. Call me or rather my family crazy, but we aren’t really fans of ‘Fois-Gras’ so the Appertisers went as an even split!
The ‘Scottish Salmon Tartar’ rang true to Chef, Julien Royer’s description of his menu, which were created to “showcase the freshest ingredients through simple but beautiful dishes”. The salmon itself was incredibly fresh, being the centrepiece of the dish and its flavours were only enhanced by the horseradish, pickled kohlrabi and delicious aquitanine caviar! Accompanying this was what reminded me of ‘soldiers’ i.e. slices of toast with a thin line of butter. I’m not quite sure what it was meant to add to this appetiser, but it was another excuse to sample a nicely charred piece of sourdough! It was quite a standard appetiser but one that was executed well.
I decided upon the ‘55’ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg’ and was so glad that I did so – it was fantastic to shoot, the perfect model :P! The maitre d’ explained the intricate process in the creation of this dish – the egg is cooked for 55 minutes at 62-64oC and then smoked as it is served with mushrooms, chorizo and buckwheat. Unfortunately, the excitement over this dish outshone that of the ‘Salmon Tartar’, which could not compete with the genus behind this work of art! The moment of truth came as I broke through the egg white….OOZ!! The yolk oozed out and combined perfectly with the saltiness of the chorizo and matched the smooth mushroom texture. Once again, such simple ingredients were showcased in such creative and complex ways that I was in complete awe… and foody heaven!
As per usual both Lil’ Bro and Papa opted for the meaty dish – ‘Venison Saddle’, with blood orange and celeriac….and of course I stole a mouthful. The venison was cooked perfectly and was truly tender, however I felt it was just ‘warm’ by the time it had reached the table and lacked the flavour punch that I was searching for in the seasoning. Nevertheless, the quality of the components and cooking of the meat itself of this dish could not be diminished.
Similarly, Mama’s chosen ‘Line Caught John Dory’ was cooked incredibly well and was accompanied by romanesco textures, coquillages (cockles) and a crayfish bisque but again I felt both temperature and flavour were lacking – perhaps it may just be my personal preference, but I prefer my fish to be quite warm. For a supplement of $15 I was slightly disappointed with this dish, but it was definitely made up with my choice of main course.
I opted for the ‘Organic Chestnut Ravioli’ with Jerusalem Artichoke and Black Trumpet Mushrooms because when I saw the words “mushroom” and “ravioli” together there was no turning back. Out of all the main courses, I definitely felt that this triumphed in terms of flavour, with each component truly working hand-in-hand with the others. In particular the sweetness derived from the chestnut was quite fantastic.
I feel like I’m being quite picky but the one gripe I had about this dish was again the temperature – I wanted the pillows of goodness to explode with steamy goodness, but hey at least it exploded with creamy goodness!
For me, this was the most anticipated part of the meal since both options sounded quite awesome.
The ‘Christmas Choconuts’ was a recreation of their signature ‘Choconuts’ dessert and to me, the combination of chocolate and nuts has no fault! The dessert was described as “textures of white, milk and dark chocolate” and wow the textures were such fun! The milk chocolate component had something quite similar to ‘pop rocks’ which came completely unexpectedly when I started hearing popping noises. The little scoops of peanut butter like mounds were welcomed with enthusiasm and I quite enjoyed the simplicity of the flavours in dessert.
The ‘Chestnut Gourmandise’ consisted of meringue, eglantine and speculos (a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit). It was definitely the lighter of the two desserts. Each component on its own was done perfectly, with the meringue finding a perfect balance in terms of sweetness and was full of crunch. I felt that as a whole, the combination of textures from the jelly to meringue was quite enjoyable, however the flavours lacked the ‘food-coma’ satisfaction that I usually hope to achieve by the end of this course.
COFFEE & PETIT FOURS
After trying many coffees in the Sydney coffee scene, I found their latte to be quite dilute. In addition it was only tepid, which was slightly disappointing – but I went to JAAN for its food not coffee, so much was forgiven in this respect.
I absolutely loved the ‘Calamansi Marshmellow’, which achieved such a fresh taste in a light, fluffy, cloud of goodness. In contrast, the chocolate coated nuts was heavier but a delicious way to end the meal.
All in all, I thought the value for money at JAAN was excellent. The quality of ingredients combined with the beautiful ambience and service could not be faulted. This was Lil’ Bro’s first experience of “such refined dining” as he described it and I was quite happy to see him enjoy it so much. It was a meal like this that truly highlighted the change in Singapore’s skyline is also reflected in its culture, with the food scene, especially that of higher end dining developing rapidly.
So I’ve come to the end of my last post of 2012. Thank you to anyone who reads ‘Hello It’s Ming’, your support is much appreciated. May 2013 bring more good food and memories!!
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