Dinner @ JAAN [Revisit]

June 12, 2017 in French by thywhaleliciousfay

My last meal at JAAN was in 2014 when the restaurant was (still) helmed by head chef Julien Royer. After chef Julien announced his departure in June 2015, I have been curious since to see the changes that JAAN would undergo with a new head chef. And change, head chef Kirk Westaway did bring. He led JAAN to achieve 1 Michelin star when Michelin Guide first came to Singapore in 2016.

But even so, I held back my re-visit until recently (2017) with their revamped menu; Wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to have the same dishes in the exact same presentation. Think, smoked egg with dry ice effect.

And reservation was made via email. For party smaller than 4, securing the reservation with credit card was not necessary. Thought I should mention that because my girlfriend recently made reservation for JAAN for 4 people upon my recommendation, and she shared JAAN’s cancellation terms were pretty weird. Ie, she would be penalised if she cancel the reservation. Yes, upon cancellation. No grace period.

On the day of our dinner, I received a text message to re-confirm our dinner. Double confirmed lah! Keke. And having been to JAAN, we found our way easily to the restaurant. It was nice that we got a corner table by the window. But do arrive before the sky turned dark to enjoy the view at its best; By night, the glass was pretty reflective. My friend and I couldn’t see much too with the condensation on the window. Yes, our corner was cold. Though one should also appreciate the master piece on the ceiling. Made with Murano crystal from Italy, the manager jokingly shared it ain’t easy cleaning it too.

Food wise, the 10 courses menu got my interest. However, as it’s indicated that the entire table needs to order it, I enquired with the manager if it was possible to make an exception. Keke. But, it was only till the end of our dinner that I realised it wasn’t a good thing that I was persuasive he was obliging. Thus, from the dinner menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), my friend and I ordered:-

  
  

1) Appetiser #1, Complimentary (above) – Canapés selection of rabbit spring roll topped with parsley and yogurt, truffle and foie gras macaron, fish and chip, and smoked mackerel sandwiched between buckwheat bellini and topped with caviar. And yes, my friend ate the fish and chip before I could get a picture as a ‘revenge’ for always giving in to me. Sob.


2) Bread platter, Complimentary (above) – Assortment of walnut-cranberry bun, milk hot cross bun, and rye sourdough. And yes, that’s seaweed butter! Pretty unique.

3) Appetiser #2, Complimentary (above) – Charlotte potato foam with truffle bullion. I liked the additional of crunchy potato bits.

4) 7 courses menu, $238 comprised of:-

(A) Alaskan king crab (above) – Crazily pretty presentation; Wreath of crab, sea urchin, caviar and fromage blanc sorbet on English spring pea panna cotta .

(B) Golden beetroot (above) – Served with feta cheese, hazelnut and golden beetroot sorbet.

(C) Bacon & eggs (above) – Celeriac, chorizo iberico. And this was served in a big egg-shaped bowl. And when the lid was removed, we were greeted with a sight and smell of rosemary smoke. And we were recommended to mix the organic New Zealand egg with the other ingredients before eating.

(D) Scottish scallop (above) – Served with shellfish broth, kale and pear.

(E) Line caught snapper (above) – Violin courgette.

(F) ‘Forest’ pigeonFoie gras, artichoke. Served with foie gras parfait, western mushroom, pigeon pie, and… Yes, pigeon juice. When we were placing our orders, the staff asked how we would like to have our pigeons done. We went with medium done although chef’s recommendation was medium rare. We don’t like our meat too bloody.

(G) Pre-dessert (above) – Amalfi lemon.


(H) Chocolate espresso (above) – Muscovado. And we were told the blobs of chocolate mousse progresses from 70% to 40% from top to bottom.

5) Signatures (10 course menu), $298 comprised of:-


  

(A) Dish #1 (above) – Tuscan oyster served with cucumber foam and kombu-dashi jelly (beneath).

(B) Dish #2 – Similar to my friend’s; Golden beetroot.

(C) Dish #3 (above) – Pertuis asparagus served with champagne hollandaise espuma and silvers of Joselito ham.

(D) Dish #4 – Bacon & eggs.

(E) Dish #5 – Same as my friend’s; Scottish scallop.


(F) Dish #6 (above) – Cod, organic chicken, quinoa and fish jus.

(G) Dish #7 – Pigeon.


  

(H) Dish #8 (above) – Cheese with dried fruit bread and sourdough crus.t

(I) Pre-dessert


(J) Dish #9 (above) – Wild spring strawberry with timut pepper sorbet.

(K) Dish #10 (above) – Coconut sorbet with lime peel and coconut shredding.


  
  

6) Petit fours, Complimentary (above)

7) Chocolate cake, Complimentary (above) – After seeing pictures of the awesome-looking rich chocolate cake as shared by others on instagram, I knew I had to try it. Thus, when I was making our reservation, I mentioned dinner was to celebrate our anniversary. Friendship anniversary. Keke. And this certainly didn’t disappoint. But word of caution from personal experience, if one is packing the cake home, make sure to eat it within 2 hours or have it stored in the fridge. It melts…

8) Coffee/tea, Complimentary (above) – We went with latte.

I won’t lie. I was disappointed with my 10 courses meal. Having not read much about head chef Kirk Westaway prior to our dinner, I ordered the Signatures menu with anticipation that it would give me a crash course of his best dishes. However, my dishes were almost similar to my friend’s 7 courses. In fact, I was disappointed to be served oyster instead of the crab dish. And for my 3 additional dishes, I was served asparagus, cheese and coconut sorbet. Like what?

It certainly didn’t help that after our dinner, I did a quick search on Google and realised one of chef Kirk’s signature dishes was the heirloom tomato which is currently on the vegetarian menu. Which meant they could have at least included the tomato for me. Right? Sigh! That’s what I meant earlier when I wrote it wasn’t a good thing that the staff obliged and allowed my friend and I to not order the same Signature menu. I am pretty sure I would leave the restaurant happier with the 7 courses based on what my friend had.

I still recommend JAAN though. But don’t be as greedy as me. Stick to the 7 courses menu.

It’s also to note that the restaurant don’t offer tap water at the start of our meal. We had to choose between sparkling and still. We went with the latter and was charged $15 (for a 750ml bottle). So it was odd after we finished our bottle of still water and declined to have another, the staff came along and filled up our almost-empty cups to the brim with tap water. Err…

And for readers who are interested to know more about head chef Kirk, do read the interview which he did with Lifestyle Asia. It’s interesting to know that he’s actually colour blind. Not being able to differentiate bright yellows and greens along with dark reds and browns, head chef Kirk overcome it by identifying the colours by their shades. With an attitude like his, I honestly believe he would bring JAAN to greater heights.

JAAN
2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford, Equinox Complex, Level 70, Singapore
6837 3322, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 19:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 7

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Singapore 2017.

Lunch @ L’Effervescence レフェルヴェソンス (Tokyo, Japan)

May 15, 2017 in French by thywhaleliciousfay

Worried that I may need a break from Japanese cuisine during my 8-days trip in Japan, I decided to make lunch plan at 2 Michelin stars L’Effervescence.

Thankfully, making reservation at this French restaurant wasn’t as tricky as the sushi restaurants; I didn’t have to go through hotel concierge or a local. One could make reservation on OpenTable. However, I had to contact the restaurant on their Facebook page as the online booking website required at least 2 people.

When it was confirmed that the date I wanted was available, I provided my contact details together with my food restriction and credit card details. After which, the restaurant informed that a same day cancellation and no show would incur a cancellation fee of ¥10,000 per person. They also requested me to reconfirm my booking at least 2 days in advance, else my reservation would be cancelled. Since I knew I’ll be renting a wifi modem for my trip, I knew doing the latter wasn’t an issue.

Located within a residential estate, the only way of identifying the building that housed L’Effervescence was by the craving of the restaurant’s name on the tiled wall. Without knowing that, I walked past the building twice cause I tried to locate the restaurant by searching for the unit number which unfortunately there wasn’t any.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was greeted by the receptionist who took my coat before her colleague led me to my table. Except for the white table cloths, brown cupboard and cream-coloured walls, everything else was black. Yes, including the ceiling. And what I really liked about the space was that instead of 4 concrete walls, 1 length was full-height glass which looked out to their garden. It’s a pity I didn’t get to sit by the window. It would have been such a zen experience.

I appreciated the professionalism and detail-ness when the staff assisted to pull up table cloth as I sat. Since clumsy people (like me) may accidentally step on the long table cloth and send the neatly placed utensils crashing onto the floor instead. Haha.

Each table had a designated waiting staff. Zacchari Touchane, head waiter of L’Effervescence, was assigned to my table. I also observed he attended to all non-Japanese diners. And he started me off with a welcome drink. After I took the sake saucer from a tray, Zacchari poured me Japanese sake infused with French wine as I continued to hold the cup.

And there’s only 1 lunch menu. After Zacchari doubled confirm my diet restriction of no beef, I commenced my ¥10,800 lunch with:-

1) Dish #1: A severe winter (above) – Amuse bouche were beet root jelly with botan pieces and green pea foam (above, left), and sake (nigori-zake) and mandarin sorbets (above, right). “For a refreshing taste”, Zacchari said.


  

2) Dish #2: Just like the apple pie #26 (above) – Monkfish liver, persimmon, jerusalem artichoke. I loved the presentation. Although I was unsure if it was chef-owner Shinobu Namae’s intention that it reminded me of McDonald’s pie packaging. Onto his version 26, I was told head chef Namae would add in something for every version. And I really enjoyed this. Brilliant combination.

3) Bread, Complimentary (above) – Instead of the usual butter, I was given tofu in Japanese truffle oil to spread on the bread.

4) Dish #3: A snowy day (above) – Amadai tilefish cooked in whey. Served with celeriac and olive oil.

5) Dish #4: A fixed point (above) – 4 hours cooked Tokyo turnip. Served with parsley, Basque ham & brioche. And I was told this was the signature dish of L’Effervescence. Available for lunch and dinner, and all year round.

6) Dish #5: When the cold wind blows (above) – Kegani crab & sweet potato soup, soft cod roe and wild bear caramel, salt preserved lemon. I loved how the milt was grilled to achieve the crispness on its exterior. And I was told even the crab shell was used for the broth.


7) Dish #6: The heat of the hearth (above) – Roasted duck over an open fire, guts & miso sauce, scallop & toasted nori jus, shiitake mushroom, curly-leaf spinach. Before my main course was served, I was presented with a collection of knives with different handles. They even included a silver glittery one! But I opted for a dark hue of brown. As for the cut of (duck) meat, breast and thigh were given. And I was impressed at how the skin was silted as it contributed to the extra crunchiness and gave the meat a more intense flavor of wood smoke. Totally delicious. Went superbly well with the sauce where the duck liver was used too.


8) Dish #7: Unfastened (above) – Tochiotome strawberry, white cheese ice cream, red bean meringue, mochi blanket. Served with cherry flowers preserved from the previous year, the mochi (Japanese rice cake) had to be one of the softest and thinnest I tried.


9) Dish #8: Matcha (above) – And I was treated to a green tea ceremony performed by Zacchari. Having worked for a Japanese restaurant in London before moving to Japan and joining L’Effervescence, one shouldn’t doubt Zacchari’s skill just because he’s not a Japanese. It was therapeutic as I watched his graceful yet purposeful moves.

10) Dish #9: Mignardises, “world peace” (above) – And within the lollipop was popping candy. I actually felt a little embarrassed cause I’m pretty sure the popping sound was audible by my neighbouring table. I must have spoilt the surprise (of the petit fours) for them too. Oops.

Honestly, I went to L’Effervescence to ‘break up’ my consecutive meals of Japanese cuisine. But I left the restaurant impressed by the entire dining experience. Everything was impeccable. From the ambience, food, to service.

Even as I made payment, I was surprised to be given a slice of chocolate-fig cake together with my receipt. “For you to enjoy”, Zacchari said. Such thoughtful gestures.

I definitely recommend L’Effervescence! It’s no wonder the restaurant is recognised with 2 Michelin stars and currently ranked 12 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 by S. Pellegrino.

L’EFFERVESCENCE レフェルヴェソンス
2-26-4 Nishiazabu, Minato, Tokyo, Japan (東京都 港区 西麻布 2-26-4)
+81 3 5766 9500, Website, Tablelog
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sat : 12:00 – 13:30 (L.O.)
Ambience: 9
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 20:30 (L.O.)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon, Sun

Lunch @ The Kitchen at Bacchanalia

May 9, 2017 in French by thywhaleliciousfay

It has been a while since my last atas nice meal. Not including those which I had during my recent overseas trips lah. Keke. Since I had no activities lined up for the weekend except for a baby shower, I decided to buy myself lunch. =) With that, I revisited my list of restaurants-to-try. And that’s when and how I was reminded of The Kitchen At Bacchanalia.

I had previously dined at the restaurant when they were at their former location in City Hall and known as Bacchanalia. I wasn’t impressed then. In fact, it was a very disappointing meal. However, I got curious (again) when I learnt the restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star after their relocation to Clarke Quay. Noting they had re-branded themselves as The Kitchen At Bacchanalia too.

With that, I went onto Chope to make my reservation. Fortunately, I could make reservation for Saturday despite only making it the night before. But what intended to be a solo meal became a lunch date for 2; Initiated lunch with my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) cause it felt like a long time since I last met her although it has only been a month. Ha. And thankfully, she was free for a spontaneous lunch.

And on the day of our lunch, we were the first group of diners to reach at 12pm. With 2 and 3 courses priced at $55 and $65 respectively, my IGGF and I went with 3 courses. And from the lunch menu, we ordered:-

1) Bread, Complimentary (above) – The sourdough was amazing. Imagine our joy when the staff continued to serve us more slices. 3 more in fact! Which we polished immediately once we were served the bread. The crust was thin and crisp (not the hard-to-chew-through type) while the bread was soft and stretchy within. I almost asked if I could buy a loaf home. So good.


2A) Pre-appetiser #1, Complimentary (top, above) – When the staff asked if we had any allergy, my IGGF and I didn’t think of mentioning our dietary restriction. For some odd reason, we thought our 3 courses lunch only comprised appetiser, main and dessert. We didn’t think there would be pre-appetiser. So when the staff came up to us with the beef tartar canapé, we were surprised. But of course, my IGGF got to have both (portions) to herself since I don’t take beef. And yes, she was loving it!

2B) Pre-appetiser #1, Complimentary (above) – And because I don’t take beef, the kitchen prepared beetroot canapé for me instead.


  

3) Pre-appetiser #2, Complimentary (above) – “And this (dish) is chef’s take on Singapore’s chilli crab”, the waiter said. When enquired further, the staff explained the brown ball perched on the flower crab shell was made with reduced crab broth and tapioca flour. And within the crispy ball was chilli crab flavoured paste. Really good!

4) Pre-appetiser #3, Complimentary (above) (above) – Warm frothy white asparagus broth with asparagus bits.

5) Appetiser with options of:-

(A) Shizuoka fruit tomato (above) – Marinated quinoa, daikon, consomme and tomato pearls vinaigrette.

(B) White peach (above) – French beans, almonds and foie gras snow.

6) Main with options of:-

(A) Wild seabream (above) – Pan roasted fillet, toasted kabocha puree, pickled pumpkin and vermouth sauce. I am not one to order a fish dish as main but with only 3 options (fish, beef and chicken), I decided to go with the sea bream. And I was happy with it! I especially liked the gravy.

(B) Braised short rib (above) – With roasted king oyster mushroom, kohlrabi, fresh wasabi, roasting juices.

7) Dessert with options of:-

(A) ‘Gariguette’ strawberry breton (above) – Breton biscuit, yuzu mousseline with strawberry sorbet.

  

(B) Tea/coffee with petit fours (above) – And for petit fours, we were served 2 white chocolate balls. “Curry and mango”, the staff said. And indeed, there was the very faint taste of curry while the sauce within was mango.

My IGGF and I left the restaurant feeling very happy and contented with our lunch. Our dining experience was definitely made sweeter with the unexpected pre-appetisers and discount of $20! Apparently The Kitchen At Bacchanalia is running a promotion with OCBC (till 31 July 2017) where diners would be given a free upgrade from 2 courses set lunch to 3 courses set lunch for payment made with OCBC debit or credit card. So yeah! Thanks to the promotion, lunch was very value-for-money considering that we were dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant too.

That said, head chef Ivan Brehm who led the team to their Michelin star is no longer with the restaurant. It has since been taken over by head chef Luke Armstrong.

Will I recommend The Kitchen At Bacchanalia? I would.

THE KITCHEN AT BACCHANALIA
39 Hong Kong Street, Singapore
9179 4552, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon, Sun

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Singapore 2017.