Dinner @ JAAN [Revisit]

June 12, 2017 in French

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 crust.

(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.

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 1: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Singapore 2017.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Singapore 2018.

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

May 15, 2017 in French

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.

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

UPDATE 1: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2018.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Tokyo 2019.

Dinner @ Restaurant André [Revisit] // CLOSED

December 28, 2016 in European, French

This may sound cliche but it was as though the universe was sending me signs to return to Andre when 3 parties mentioned Restaurant Andre on different occasions.

A few months ago, a friend casually brought up Andre after seeing pictures from his cousin’s instagram account. And a few days later, the friend who dined at Andre with me in 2010 revisited Andre and texted me to say the food has improved lots. Now, this particular friend of mine has really exquisite taste. If it’s a yes from him, the dishes must be really good. So when my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) said she had been wanting to check out Andre, we decided to do just that. =)

I mean… I had to keep up with my 3-years visit too; Having dined at Andre in 2010 and 2013, I had to return before 2016 came to an end. Especially when Andre was recently awarded 2 Michelin stars. =p

Reservation was made 2.5 months in advance. And reservation procedure had become more complicated since 2013. But that’s not surprising as those were measures needed to deter last minute cancellation. To make reservation, one had to make a request from their website.

Within 2 days, I received an email with payment details as we were required to make a deposit of $50 within 48 hours to secure the table. The deposit would be used to offset the meal’s cost. And do be mindful of cancellation and last minute change charges. 20% for 72 hours notice, 50% for 48 hours notice and 100% for 24 hours notice.

My IGGF and I arrived excitedly on a Saturday evening in December. Upon entering, chef Andre Chiang was waiting at the lounge (to our direct right) with his staff to welcome us. Such a nice surprise! Thank goodness we were punctual. Keke. And I guess that’s also the difference between 7pm and 8.30pm. At 7pm, one gets to meet chef Andre in person before he becomes too busy in the kitchen. After exchanging some words, the staff led us to our table.

It’s a first for me to be seated at level 3. To reach the topmost level, we took the lift. The lift was located at the entrance of the kitchen (but shielded from patrons dining at level 1) as it’s used by servers to deliver food from kitchen to the various levels. So yes, felt very privileged to get a glimpse of the kitchen!

In terms of interior decor, level 3 is pretty different from level 2. It felt as though we were entering chef Andre’s living room with books, autographed plates and his Michelin star plaque adorning the walls on shelves. And one gets to see more of chef Andre at level 3 because there’s a mezzanine floor which served as his office.

And with that, we started our $350 octaphilosophy dinner menu with:-

1) Snack #1, Complimentary (above) – Capsule ball with cherry and balsamic, topped with red seaweed. And as what the staff said, it had an after taste of chocolate. Amazing.

2) Snack #2, Complimentary (above) – Crispy chips; Porcini mushroom (brown), scallop (white) and purple potato (purple).


3) Snack #3, Complimentary (above) – Butter squash, salted duck york and vanilla, fish and chip, wild mushroom tart dusted with coriander powder, celeriac puree with miso strip, and abalone and its liver on crispy seaweed. Presentation was superb. The staff shared that chef Andre worked with a local architect to design the display set. So yes, we were eating off Marina Bay Sands and Supertree of Gardens by the Bay. But because the display set was huge (as wide as the table), my IGGF and I had much difficulty trying to get everything into a frame. Keke. And of the 5, the fish and chip was my favourite!


4) Snack #4, Complimentary (above) – Charcoal dough fritter served on a bed of real charcoal, with dipping sauce of piquillo (pepper from north Spain) and sweet shrimp (amaebi) tartar. And this was another favourite. I loved it so much that I was tempted to ask for seconds. But I knew better not to; I needed to reserve stomach space. We haven’t even started on our dinner menu!

5) Unique (above) – Corn, horseradish, almond and vanilla. So while there’s a piece of sliced corn on the top, what’s more fascinating was the capsule ball beneath it. Bite into it to have corn soup bursting in one’s mouth.

6) Pure (above) – Crab ravioli, served alongside pear ice and leek water.

7) Bread, Complimentary (above) – It was a little weird to have bread served after 2 of our 8 courses since bread is often served before appetiser. But greedy me finished the bread nonetheless. Haha. And we were told the sourdough was baked from their sister restaurant, Burnt Ends. Okie, that’s new. I didn’t know Restaurant Andre had affiliated restaurants.

8) Salt – Squid pasta and potato puree in kelp jus, with barley and puffed grains.

9) South (above) – Scallop lasagna with gillardeau oyster, caviar aubergine, watercress foam and vinegar.

10) Artisan (above) – It’s hard to tell but we were told there’s 17 types of vegetables. With (striped horse mackerel) shima aji added to support the flavour. And when we were done with our dish, the staff came with a tea pot and poured fermented broth of the vegetables trimming. “Chef Andre believes we should not waste our food. This allows us to finish what remains in the bowl,” she said as she nodded at the remaining basil vinegarette. Respect.


11) Texture (above) – Risotto Risoni pasta with mushroom and buckwheat wafer. It being the (alba) white truffle season, the staff said we could top up $90 for 5g which will be used on 1 course, or $180 for 10g for 3 courses. I decided to go with 5g. And so, mine came with shaved truffle. Else, the staff will come along and shave belper knolle cheese onto the dish. And we were surprised to find yoke and chicken stork in the centre which flowed out like a lava cake as we tucked in. Brilliant.


12) Memory – And we were presented with chef Andre’s memory; Foie gras jelly served with black truffle coulis. This was created when he was a young chef in 1997 and his head chef challenged him to make something. Chef Andre liked his creation so much that he put it on his menu. And indeed, I had this when I last dined at Restaurant Andre in 2010 and 2013. Except this time, they upgraded its presentation. Keke.

13) Terroir (above) – Pigeon baked in a ‘soil’ bed of coffee bean, cacao nibs and lindqvist. And we were served the breast and thigh, which we were told chef Andre believed these were the best parts, alongside leek powder and chips. I especially liked the thigh with the crispy skin.

14) Pre-dessert (above) – “Green tea ceremony,” the staff joked. Cold green tea ice cream, green tea chocolate with warm green tea foam. I wished there was more ice cream though. Keke.


15) Dessert #1 (above) – Hand sliced grape on raspberry sorbet, served in white peach soup and topped with pink coriander flowers.

16) Dessert #2 (above) – Hay ice cream on camembert cheese. The ice cream had a really unique taste. Somewhat similar to earl grey. And the texture of cheese was like souffle; Light and spongy. And it was amazing how the two went very well together.


17) Petit fours (above) – Cinammon churro with chocolate-cinnamon dip, earl grey crystalline, verjus (juice of unripe grape) pate de fruit, kaya ‘toast’ macaron, cherry madeleine and root beer float ice cream stick.

Octaphilosophy (Unique, pure, texture, memory, salt, south, artisan, terroir) is the restaurant’s overall philosophy; It’s chef Andre and his team’s method of encouraging and managing the creative process, and a principle to live by. Octaphilosophy was developed as a tool to explain a dish. And as taken from their website, all dishes are there for a reason and all are equally important.

And indeed, every dish was superb. Like seriously… Every dish! My friend was right to say chef Andre has improved much. Definitely worthy of his 2 Michelin stars. I was initially worried there would be repeated dishes as what I experienced in 2013. But thankfully, there wasn’t any except for his ‘Memory’ dish which chef Andre said would still be on the menu when I return in 2019. Keke.

Our dinner stretched over 4 hours. Though in all honesty, it didn’t feel that long. I guess time just slipped by in front of good food and wonderful company. =) But I think 45 minutes were probably spent taking pictures of our food. Oops.

Will I recommend Restaurant Andre? Definitely!

41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore
6534 8880, Website, Facebook
Overall: 9
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 10
Wed, Fri : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tue – Sun : 19:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 9
Service: 9
* Closed on Mon, alternate Sun

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Singapore 2017.