Believe it or not, we actually did get sick of hawker style Singaporean food during our recent trip to Singapore. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the food, but I am use to a bit of variety in my diet. I knew this was going to happen, so I booked in a lunch at Jaan Par André after doing a bit of research a few days before the trip.
André Chiang is the Executive Chef here, wowing his customers with French Nouvelle Cuisine, being light and delicate dishes with an emphasis on aesthetics and presentation. His cuisine is French, having plied his trade all around the world in 3 Michelin star rated restaurants but you’d also think he is a bit of an artist on the side. He looks good on paper, but did he deliver the goods on the plate? We venture up 70 storeys and opt for the $58 SNG ($47 AUD) for a 3 course lunch meal to find out.
You usually expect warm bread rolls with butter to start off a meal, but at Jaan they go for something a bit different. There is a novelty to nibbling on these breadsticks, which are lightly flavoured in parmesan or squid ink.
After taking a step back and thinking, you’ve got to admire Andre for trying something different. With a bit of eggplant puree and olive oil which is thick enough to attach itself during each dip, it’s a light start to the meal but with a bit of substance. Are razor thin breadsticks the new bread?
I chose this panache of seafood after seeing someone on another table order it, I was in awe of how beautiful it looked on the plate. Art on a plate comes to mind, with it’s vibrant colours and contrasting textures. All the seafood was individually cooked perfectly, and contrasted superbly well with the tapanade and toasted brioche. I’m a sucker for mixing things up with different textures and flavours and this dish delivered on all fronts.
Each piece of seafood had a bit of unique flavour, it wasn’t just cooked for the sake of it. Everything from the crumble to the jellies complimented the seafood like butter does to bread.
The subtle flavours of the crab meat had me hooked on this dish, it wasn’t as visually appealing as it’s predecessor but we all know to not judge a book by it’s cover. The potato mousse while simplistic on paper was incredibly smooth.
This is hands down one of the best dishes I have tried all year regardless of where I’ve been to. Without going into the taste of the dish yet, the attention to detail put into the presentation is amazing. Everything from the colours and textures and placement is something to be admired, it totally rocked my socks.
The macaroni was presented in an interesting way, stuffed with creamy mushrooms resulting in an aromatic injection of mushrooms with each bite. It’s a bit like ravioli but less intrusive with each bite. Beneath the macaroni was a bit of truffle.
All the contrasting textures were bang on perfect. On one side you had the 36 hour braised short rib, literally falling apart with it’s own juice each time I poke at it with my fork. The piece of roasted garlic on top was a nice touch, with garlic oil oozing down the beef with the poke of my knife. Then you have the crunch and strong flavours of the vitelotte chips and shallots.
I didn’t get to try this dish in depth, but it was another example of perfect execution of different flavours and textures. I’m use to see shell fish with pancetta, so naturally the gambas were a good match.
The popcorn ravioli was the hit and was best eaten in one shot to ensure the popcorn emulsion was not wasted on the plate. But then again, I would of licked it all off the plate anyway.
The coffee was a minor dissapointment in my meal, very flat and lacking creaminess and strength. I guess we are quite lucky in Australia to have good coffee, so I figured I can’t expect too much in a country where not everyone is a coffee nazi like myself.
When I think of churros I usually think of chocolate, so I was interested to see how it would be paired with citrus. The result is a refreshing dessert which is quite light, but enhanced with the depth of the lemon tart which is deconstructed and placed beneath the churros. The campari granite as absolutely gold, the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness.
Based on the name alone, I had to order this for dessert. Snickers bars are in my top 3 of chocolate bars (snickers, chomp, twix). This deconstructed version is presented in a shape of a chocolate ball and paired with a vanilla ice cream. He changes the way he interprets the dish each year, with the 2008 version being slightly different according to our waitress.
The chocolate ball is amazing, with so many different layers, flavours and textures in such a small package yet something you would expect if you are familiar with how a snickers bar is constructed. It had a bit of mousse, caramel, peanuts, cake and chocolate all carefully layered and then encapsulated in a chocolate ball.
Scattered around the side to complete the work of art was bits of peanut crumble and tiny cubes of jelly just to break things up a little. It really needs to be tasted to be appreciated, everything from the chocolate to the ice cream and to the jelly works so well.
It’s not often I pay $47 for a lunch, but this was really worth it. To be fair, I havn’t had any lunches at a 3 Hat establishment here in Sydney but it’s fair to say I havn’t had anything which has impressed me as much as what I had here. Everything from the view, service and food was perfect.
The restaurant is quite small, with ten tables at most. We dined in the day but I can imagine the view to be amazing at night. I’m due back in Singapore on a stopover in January so I might return and try the dinner if I can afford it. If you are looking to mix things up in Singapore, a meal is worthy of a second look.
Oh and one more thing, don’t do what I did and wear shorts to the restaurant. It didn’t even occur to me there was a dress code, so I rocked up in my Singapore bogan attire of shorts and a shirt. After a few phone calls, they politely advised that I needed to be in pants. Luckily like everything in Singapore, I was only a 5 minute cab away from getting myself dressed properly. It was worth it too, the meal was epic.
JAAN PAR ANDRE
level 70, equinox complex
Swisshotel the stamford
w : http://www.equinoxcomplex.com/