Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jaan par André

The drizzle had many runners fleeing the track last Saturday morning. I don’t get to run much these days, so I pushed on. Soon enough, the sky was clear again, providing the perfect running condition at 7 am, just as the sun began to shine. Circling around the same track just to hit the distance can be boring after some time. Approximately 6 kilometres on, I decided to explore a new route that day. It led me to another 6 km stretch that's linked to a park in the nearby district. Much quieter than around the lake and completely bordered by lush greenery, I have a feeling that I'll be frequenting this route in weekends to come.

A few hours later, we found ourselves on the 70th floor of Swissôtel The Stamford, overlooking the Singapore Flyer and the remarkable Marina Bay Sands, which was still under construction when we visited The Lighthouse at Fullerton Hotel last year. Jaan is one of those restaurants that I’ve been wanting to try but just couldn’t get my lazy self to work on a date. Not until I read a twit from Evan informing the departure of Chef André Chiang at the end of the month. Well, it’s not like I'm familiar with his works nor am I knowledgeable on the who’s who in the fine dining circuit. But if it was under his helming of the kitchen that had Jaan debuting at position 39 of the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants for 2010, I thought this might just be the right (and last) time to sample the chef's much talked about nouvelle creations. What's more when it's just minutes away from the City Hall MRT station.

menu du marché

Shitsuoka tomato “sweet & sour”, Madagascar vanilla

Grilled tuna belly "Otoro", smoked basil oil and aromatic charcoal powder

Truffle scented foie gras jelly, served chawanmushi-style

Slow roasted Bresse chicken, barley and almond compote, fresh morel emulsion

Vintage chocolate spice ganache, milk marmalade ice cream

From the iconic capellini-sized parmesan and squid ink breadsticks to the good selection of dainty breads and teamed with impeccable, professional service, the lunch at Jaan seemed to be shaping up pretty well. Starting off the summer menu was the refreshing Shitsuoka tomato, intentionally polarized in taste for that sweet and sour contrast with the serving of basil syrup and candied slice of tomato. Pleasurable was a bite of the grilled otoro, melting easily in the mouth to unravel a smoky scent from the charcoal and sweetened slightly by what I believe to be caramelized onions. Perhaps unfashionable but I just had to soak up the remaining basil oil with my German bread. I can't recall the exact name of the third dish but I certainly remember the taste. Topping the hot foie gras jelly was a crystallized caramel mesh, melting under the heat of the jelly. Live art, this. The combination of the sweetness of caramel, richness of foie gras, invigorating smell of truffles, chives and steamed egg custard was brilliant. Despite the bold ingredients used, they harmonized well to remain subtle. Again, brilliant. After the truffle came the morel foam in which from an artistic point of view, did resemble the honeycombed morel mushroom itself. Nouvelle being light and simple, it replaced a typical heavy cream and still matched the tender and lightly salted chicken nicely while the compote provided some bite and a nice smoky flavour. There was also the salted egg marmalade condiment, which I thought the taste could have been further amplified. Dessert came as a ganache that was perfectly portioned, pairing comfortably with the tasty milk marmalade and decorated with some chocolate crumble.

We tried some dishes from the set lunch menu as well - a panache (of seafood, freshly pickled baby vegetables served with an interesting spiced kafir lime consommé), a light smoked homemade ‘boudin blanc’ (of Mediterranean seafood, served with a fantastic lobster emulsion, ginger scented William pear compote) and this.....

.....Snickers version 2010. There was nothing pretentious about this deconstruction, just a refined, delicious take on one of the most beloved snacks come those carbohydrate-deprived days. It had all the elements of the original bar and more – crushed peanuts, caramelized hazelnut, cream, chocolate crumble and the chef's signature asymmetrical (chocolate) crisps. For me, the absence of the sticky nougat was much appreciated. I wish I could takeout this "Snickers" for a movie later that evening.

A new running route, Jaan par André, Shrek 4 and a cultural lesson at an unknown, exotic steamboat restaurant. It was like spending the whole Saturday in front of the television switching between the sports, food, movie and documentary channels. The only difference was, I became a part of the programmes. Really, most Saturdays should like this.

Jaan par André
Level 70, Equinox Complex
Swissôtel The Stamford
2 Stamford Road
Singapore 178882
Tel: (+65) 6837 3322


minchow said...

Live art indeed! I've been thinking a lot about how I choose to start and finish weekends - most often in self-inflicted pain or despair. If I had me some foie gras jelly, I bet I would arrive at a more palatable routine.

J said...

Aiyo - everything looks so pretty! How to eat? :D
(Actually can lah, right?.. haha.. Give us more Hairy! Taunt us with the yummy photos!)

Kenny Mah said...

I know this might be considered a food post by many, but it's your introductory paragraphs that caught my eye - the feeling of pushing on, of running when others have given up, that's a great description.

Makes me wanna run more, too. I will, actually. Thank you, bro. :)

bossacafez said...

hey nic, nice of u to mention my name :) i thought u knew chef andre was gonna leave! anyway hope that we can visit his new restaurant soon.

i'm so noob, i don't even know what otoro is and asked u on twitter if u were referring to the kurobuta *hides* haha. i haven't tried most dishes u had, so sad. and the foie gas i had was presented in a different manner. but it was really good, so amazing even!

i love love love your pics, they're so well taken! hv u upgraded yr cam/lens? either that or yr skills hv improved tremendously :D

qwazymonkey said...

I agree bro, why can't every weekend - in face why not everyday - be just like that?

The Grilled otoro looks heavenly and that chawanmushi of a foie gras is so so so so sinful! Eecks!

But seriously, Singapore's so blessed with many fine dine places lah. Can't wait for my next trip down.

As always, I salute to your pictures man!

choi yen said...

I wonder how's the taste of charcoal powder? bitter?

Camemberu said...

Looks fab. I feel like I could taste the food through your photos - the otoro must have been divine, as too the truffle scented foie gras jelly.

André's last service at Jaan was with Martha Stewart. I'm looking forward to his new joint in Sept!

PureGlutton said...

Such classy pics!
I want that tuna belly!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

hmm if only saturdays can be like this in malaysia..or if i can afford it..

Ciki said...

hairy!! u write like a dream & take photos like a dream.. u must a dream.. a nubile, running, flitting,wispy dream... :P

fatboybakes said...

its amazing that you're still so skinny!

jason said...

Agree with FBB!

HairyBerry said...

minchow, i share you pain on the weekends! you know, i often ask myself why should i sacrifice sleep and happy hours in the bus travelling between countries. but of course, good food and friends make it all worthwhile! ;D

j, i agree! the dishes were absolutely photogenic. but i had to snap fast so that i can dig into 'em..well, not that fast but i tried lah..hehe

kenny, wow, thanks for liking the intro! i guess it was a good start to that saturday, so i just had to put it in. hopefully more saturdays will be like that. ;D

evan, oh yes!! that sounds like a promising plan cos now we know that it's a restaurant worth revisiting! ;D omg, you are not a noob at all! your culinary vocab is excellent (i need to refer to the dictionary sometimes..hehe), and need i say more about your great pics? ;D glad you liked my pics! ;D nope, am still using the prime lens and am still striving to get better pics! ;D

qwazymonkey, yeah, how nice if everyday is like that, right? i guess we can try to make it that way. ;D hey, call me lah the next time you come over. you got my number, right? ;D waahhhh, thanks for the compliment, you comic king, you! ;D

mimi, well, it was not so much of the taste but the aroma. interesting and reminded me of the organic charcoal bread i tried a few months back. ;D

HairyBerry said...

camemberu, oh yes, the otoro and chawanmushi were excellent! i'm still awed and all. :D woah, chef andre with martha stewart? that's an interesting combo! ;D looks like his new joint will the buzz in september, eh? i wanna go too! ;D

pureglutton, glad you liked 'em pics! ;D i wish i could have a second helping of the otoro too. delish! so far, it's only sashimi style for me.

joe, i'm sure it's applicable to malaysia also lah. mandarin grill also got set lunch on saturdays, right? i wanna go try one day! ;D aiya, sure you can afford lah, dude! ;D

cumi & ciki, woahhhhhh! you flatter me lah, you! well, i guess being a pisces means that i am dreamy lah. but i'm not complaining, of course..hehe

fatboybakes, project upsize hairyberry coming up! after getting a earful from my folks last weekend, i think they'll disown if i continue to run and lose weigh. sigh.

jason, no lah....actually, i run a lot these days. i guess i'll just hafta follow fbb's diet plan - eat more, run less. hehehehe.

Ciki said...

i wanna come here tomorrow (wed)! am in Sing.. probably orchard. are you free to take me?!! HAIRY!! pick up ur foneeeeee :P