Eye and Mouth Candy
Posted on September 25, 2008 by Aun
I’m really sorry that I haven’t been posting for several months. While I do have two rather substantial excuses (first, S and I have been moving house and we really haven’t had access to a working kitchen for a while and second, we have both been ridiculously busy with work), I know for some of you that really doesn’t cut the mustard. To the readers who emailed me expressing concern, thank you very much. I appreciate your messages. And we will both try our best to update this blog much more frequently in the future.
What better way to revive this site than with an enthusiastic recommendation to try the food of one of Singapore’s hottest (in more ways than one) new chefs. Taiwan-born Andre Chiang is not just tall, slim and (annoyingly) handsome, he is also hands-down one of the most talented and skilled chefs working in Singapore today. Chef Andre prepares what he terms, “French Nouvelle Cuisine”, which essentially means that his food is exquisitely well-conceived, small portions of artfully plated and light French fare. I do have to admit that while I am a huge supporter and fan of what Chef Andre is doing in the kitchen, his food might not appeal to everyone. If you prefer big, hearty portions and fussfree fare, you’re not going to be happy. But if you enjoy trying really interesting, modern, inventive and well-executed food, you have to try Chef Andre’s food.
Now, here’s the kicker. Chef Andre is helming Jaan, a restaurant that until a couple of weeks ago, I honestly would never have dreamt of stepping into. This tiny space, parked in the corner of the rather monstrous Equinox complex in Swissotel the Stamford, has rarely (as far as I know) been known for good food. Good views maybe. Amazingly, however, in the three months that Chef Andre has been running Jaan, it has gone from nottie to hottie and is now (in my opinion at least) one of the two or three best and most high-end European / French restaurants in Singapore.
That said, I have only dined (so far) twice at Jaan, once two weeks ago and again this week. Both times, I and my dining companions asked Chef Andre to do whatever he liked. This week, I took my darling wife S to try the restaurant (my previous visit was a working lunch with two other blokes). Chef Andre wowed us with a lovely 9 course lunch. We started our meal with a trio of amuse-bouches: gambas with pear jelly (pictured above); peach jelly in a chilled earl grey tea; and lobster cornets. The fried gambas ball was delicious and delightfully presented. Second course was a foie gras sandwich. Third was a real treat: Alaskan crab rolled in a snapper carpaccio, topped with caviar and served with a spicy gazpacho sorbet. Yum.
My favourite course of the meal was next (pictured above). It was a pan-seared Hokkaido scallop with a pumpkin-cumin puree and a puffed wild rice carbonara. This was a delicious dish with really interesting textures. S loved the next course, a thin slice of smoked duck with a coriander coulis served in a spicy kaffir lime consomme. Our sixth course was pan-fried goby filet with tapenade and celeriac puree. The main course of the meal (pictured below) was a ridiculously good grade 9 wagyu beef filet served with a cheese pancake, Ratte potato and a pea puree. We ended the meal with a pre-dessert of goat cheese ice cream (gorgeous!) and a taste of three of Chef Andre’s signature desserts: artichoke creme brulee with tarragon ice cream; white snickers bar 2008; and red fruits minestrone with basil and sorbet. To round off an amazing meal, a delectable quartet of petit fours was elegantly presented on steel plates that bore Andre’s name.
Before coming to Singapore, Chef Andre worked for the Pourcel brothers. Shanghai-residents might recognize him as he used to helm Sens & Bund. While young (he’s just 32), he has already worked with many of the best French chefs on the planet, including Pierre Gagnaire, Joel Robuchon, Pascal Barbot, and of course the Pourcels. He has also been recognized as one of just 150 Relais Gourmand Master Chefs worldwide.
A meal at Jaan, I should also say, isn’t cheap (a Feed at Raffles card is a very useful thing for dining here). But neither is a meal at Iggy’s, Les Amis, Caprice, Kahala or any other “super-top” (as a French friend of mine likes to say) establishment in this region. If Andre can continue to push Jaan in the direction he has already been able to set in just a few months, then there is no doubt that it will very quickly establish itself not just as one of Singapore’s best restaurants, but one of Asia’s best.
Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: +65 6837 3322