If you’ve visited Jaan in the past months, you would have noticed its quiet transition towards ingredients from the United Kingdom – the Scottish scallop, the Irish oyster and the Stilton cheese, etc..
Since end July, British chef de cuisine Kirk Westaway has made his move to a contemporary British-inspired menu while, at the same time, incorporating even more ingredients from the U.K.. With this, Jaan officially steps out of the shadow of modern French.
But one thing you should take note of – this switch is a conceptual one meant to shine the spotlight on the region Westaway was born and brought up. Naturally the native of Devon wants to highlight his heritage, terroir and, at times, the flavours that are intrinsic to this region. By no means are all ingredients sourced from the U.K. and at no point in time does Westaway declare so. On that note, regulars would be pleased to know that the “Eggs in an Egg” dish stays.
And so, a flight of exquisitely made, appetite-piquing British inspired snacks start your dinner on a high. Melted Devon Cheddar cheese buckwheat pancake shaped like a ball; fish & chips reinvented as mini potato tartlets with salted Atlantic cod brandade ensconced within; a cloud of beetroot meringue crafted with organic Yorkshire beetroot topped with smoked eel fillet and its cream; and Garam Marsala curry chicken on rice crisp. The beetroot meringue, in particular, is riveting – deceivingly hard on the outside but completely melts in the mouth to perfume it with a refreshment of beetroot.
While Jaan always has a seasonally-changing salad dish, this is now repackaged as an English Garden, inspired by Westaway’s memories of picking vegetbles, fruits and herbs with his family in summer during his growing up years. The English Garden arrives with a melange of cooked and raw seasonal vegetables, herbs and flowers served on a custom made glassware painted with punchy anchovy dressing, beetroot puree and a sprinkle of black olive sugar. To bring everything together, Westaway serves a light – if underweight in terms of flavour and viscocity – Scottish seaweed and herb broth that you drizzle over the salad with a watering can. The salad is assembled in such a way that you taste the sheerness of each element, but if you prefer your vegetable a little more punchy, the anchovy dip is there, as is the beetroot puree. By no means does the dressing from the watering provide much in terms of flavour; perhaps it’s so mild that it’s barely discernible.
The fish course arrives by way of Irish line-caught turbot delicately cooked at low temperature for just 10 minutes. You know the fish is pristinely cooked because it arrives moist and cuts like butter. Its embrace of summer is also evident with the peas, broad beans, sugar snaps and pea puree in its entourage, made all the more complete with a finishing pour of savoury razor clam broth at the table. But one complaint – the fish could be bigger.
The British performance continues with a slice of salt marsh lamb fillet matched with aubergine on miso, a smidgen of coffee honey caramel and a puddle of sweet lemon puree. The Northern Welsh lamb itself is noteworthy for its juiciness and subtle coastal floral flavour thanks to tho plants and minerals that grow in the salt marshes that the animal feeds on. Serving the lamb with just lamb jus would have been too formulaic, so Westaway infuses the lamb jus with basil and tomato to lighten its impact.
Westaway has been slowly – but surely – evolving the cheese platter to an English selection. So it comes as no surprise that now, the entire tray offers a selection unique to the region of his birth, a standout being Britain’s best known Stilton cheese from the village of Cols ton Bassett. There are other options too – 18 month-aged Devon cheese, Ragstone goat’s cheese and a brie-like raw milk cheese from Baron Bigord.
If you visit in summer, Westaway will serve you his Pimm’s in the Park for desserts, a summery and refreshing sweet of cucumber sorbet, Pimm’s infused pomelo with fresh orange, cucumber discs, lemon granita and lemonade foam. Ideal for our weather and an apt end to a meal that, in my opinion, is a quantum leap from the menu this young British chef debuted with as the chef de cuisine of Jaan.
Level 70 Eqionox Complex, Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore 178 882; +65-6837 3322; swissotel.com