For years now since Andre Chiang, we’ve been making an annual pilgrimage to Jaan. At times it was to checkout a new chef (as you know, Jaan is known to produce the city’s top chefs including Chiang and Julien Royer), at other times to experience the menu’s transition to a new season.
For almost three years now, Jaan has been under the charge of British head chef, Kirk Westaway, the South East Asian winner of the San Pellegrino Young Chef Award in 2015, who has been slowly – but surely – steering the seasonally changing modern European cuisine to pay tribute to his birth country. The cheese course, for one, is a beautiful display of cheeses from the United Kingdom only.
With the advent of spring, the Pertuis green asparagus from Provence, France, makes an appearance on Jaan’s menu, albeit a brief one. This time, Westaway blanches the spear ever so briefly so that it retains its succulence and serves it glazed in seaweed butter, better yet crowned with Japanese ikura pearls “glued” onto the stump with a thin blanket of light mentaiko sauce flecked pearls of finger lime caviar for a hint of acidity and edible petals of marigold and daisy. Alongside it, Westaway pairs the subtly sweet asparagus with the plump flesh of Scottish langoustine on a palette of green asparagus veloute. You’d think that the latter would steal the thunder from the former but both held their own, complicit in their intent to win you over with some help from the condiments.
For intermission, the Devon native fields a confit of organic egg yolk on a blanket of cauliflower custard. To cut the richness of of the yolk, he lends a touch of acidity by surrounding the yolk with pickled shimeji mushrooms and tops it with caviar for bursts of salty umami. Served in an egg-shaped porcelain, this dish tastes every bit as good as it looks. An accompanying Parmesan brioche provides more umami comfort in between bites.
The chef continues his charm offensive with more seafood, next a wedge of velvety Scottish scallop on fried kale flanked by a log of garlic and Parmesan-crusted cannelloni stuffed with organic chestnut mushrooms. There are also tiny discs of raw cep mushrooms on the side, and a puddle of mushroom hollandaise that looks far more creamy than it tastes. If it is any indication, we wiped the plate clean.
Seasonality dictates that Westaway serves the Conference pear for dessert before its season ends in May. But what you get is close to an edible work of art painstakingly assembled with distinct ingredients including brown butter ice cream, wedges of herb and spice-marinated conference pear and a reduction of earl grey tea milk. Let’s just leave it as that so that we do not spoil the surprise for you.
Level 70 Eqionox Complex, Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore 178 882; +65-6837 3322; swissotel.com