Lunch @ JAAN [Revisit]

November 7, 2018 in European

My siao-on instagram foodie friends suggested heading to JAAN a few times before, but I wasn’t keen (then) because memory of my not-too-pleasant dinner in mid 2017 was still etched in my mind. But when they mentioned JAAN’s head chef Kirk Westaway has further revamped the menu to reflect his British roots, I decided to take a chance. So yes, we went to JAAN together for a Saturday lunch.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Signatures (6 course menu), $158 comprised of:-


  

(A) Canapé (above) – Fish & chip tartlet, beetroot meringue with smoked eel, Devonshire cheddar cheese & buckwheat pancake, and chicken curry.


  

(B) Roast potato, truffle soup (above) – With mini loaf.


  

(C) Dark rye sourdough, Complimentary (above) – Served with Devonshire butter.

(D) Heirloom beetroot (above) – With trout caviar and golden beetroot sorbet.


  

(E) Majestic oyster (above) – With caviar.


  

(F) Eggs in an egg… (above)

(G) Line caught brill (above) – With artichoke.

(H) Salt marsh lamb (above) – With aubergine. And because I don’t take beef, the beef dish from the menu was replaced with lamb.


(I) Palate cleanser, Complimentary – Lemon and cucumber sorbet.


(J) Gariguette strawberry (above) – With mascarpone. I liked this a lot.

(K) Coffee, Complimentary (above) – And I opted for latte.

(L) Petit fours (above)


  

2) English garden, $30 (above) – Thankfully 1 of us (not me, for the record) did our homework prior to lunch; When it’s realised the ‘English garden’ dish was not on our menu, we requested to order it as a-la carte. Comprised of 30 different types of vegetables (raw and cooked) and herbs, we were told to pour the herbal dashi (stored very aptly in a flower pot) onto the vegetables, mix everything before tucking in. Really good. And it’s through our interaction with chef Kirk that we later learnt that this dish was intentionally not included in the lunch service as it may be too filling.

Were we happy with our lunch? Did lunch change my impression of JAAN? A big yes! I was very impressed.

So the thing is… After chef Julien Royer left to set up Odette in June 2015, chef Kirk had very big shoes to fill when he took over JAAN. And I guess his biggest hurdle was to escape from chef Julien’s shadow. I mean, in all honesty, customers who dined when JAAN was under chef Julien’s helm would compare. Yes? Ie, is there any difference, what did chef Kirk do better, or… Gasp. What chef Kirk isn’t doing as good.

I wasn’t too sure if chef Kirk managed to find his own identity when I dined in June 2017. But with this lunch, I could very confidently say chef Kirk has definitely achieved that. I liked how the menu at JAAN has since evolved to showcase his British roots now. And as taken from JAAN’s website, chef Kirk applied the philosophy ‘Reinventing British’ where the menu now embodied a seasonal philosophy to showcase British dining in a modern and refreshing light.

I definitely recommend Michelin-starred JAAN. But noting out of the 3 times that I dined at JAAN and it was always the lunch that impressed me, I would thus recommend one to go for their lunch menu before deciding if one should also try the dinner menu. Yeps. And my review of lunch was based on the Summer menu. If one really wants to try these dishes, do head down soon before they transit into the Autumn/Winter menu.

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: 8

Dinner @ Restaurant Labyrinth [Revisit]

September 9, 2018 in Asian, Mod Sin

Saw a picture of Labyrinth’s gorgeously-plated lala dish on instagram and was dying to revisit the restaurant since. My previous visit to Labyrinth was in 2015 when the restaurant was at their previous location (Tanjong Pagar) and before they were awarded a Michelin star. So yes… I was excited to try the new menu.

Reservation was made with Chope. And a few days before our dinner, the restaurant emailed us with the menu and requested for us to confirm our reservation. Confirmation of reservation is required cause I missed out their first email, and was sent a reminder email.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) and I were led to our table before starting our $178 dinner menu with:-

  

1) Appetiser (above)


2) Heartland waffle (above) – Local duck liver pate & goji berry jam.


3) “Nasi lemak” cheong fun (above) – Chicken skin, ikan bilis & egg yolk gel.

4) Braised baby abalone (above) – Homemade oyster sauce & fatt choy tart.

5) Ah hua kelong lala clams (above) – XO sambal, deep fried wonton skin & Chinese spinach.


6) Labyrinth rojak (above) – Edible garden herbs, natural stingless bee honey & cempedak sorbet. And for this, 10 different herbs, flowers and sprouts from locally-based Edible Garden City was used.

7) “Ang moh” chicken rice, kin yan abalone mushroom (above) – Home-milled rice flour, grandma’s chili sauce & braised chicken. Presented as a dumpling, I enjoyed this dish.

8) Grandma’s fish maw soup (above) – Yellow tail snapper fish cake, textures of fish maw & tofu puree. When the dish was served, one would noticed the fish cakes were thinly sliced and put beautifully together as a rose. And it’s a pity that the staff poured the broth over the ‘fish cake’ rose, instead of beside. Hmm…


9) Local wild caught crab, sustenir farm strawberry (above) – Signature chili ice cream, egg whites & salted mackerel.

10) Nippon koi farm silver perch (above) – Herbal pepper broth, ulam rajah & textures of black garlis.


  

11) Uncle William’s quail (above) – Satay espuma, muah chee & pearl onion.

12) “Lost grain” fried rice (above) – White bait, dried scallop & local “dashi”.


13) Bean to bar (above) – Artisanal dark chocolate & 8 year aged shaoxing wine.


14) Clam lead snow (above) – Rosella meringue & textures of grapes.

15) Soy bean curd (above) – Bird’s nest & burnt yogurt espuma by Hay Dairies goat milk.

16) Cristal de chine caviar (above) – Kaya ice cream & Sing Hong Loong toast.

17) Petit fours (above) – And it’s a bold move that the macaron was durian flavoured such not everyone could appreciate durian.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy our dining experience. So no, I won’t recommend Restaurant Labyrinth; It’s no surprise that first impressions are very important. And unfortunately for us (or for the restaurant), a really snobbish waiter attended to us for the first half of our meal. He was extremely ‘bo chap’ with the dishes’ introduction; Presentation was brief and he was basically just muttering to himself. My IGGF and I couldn’t make out what he was saying. His I-don’t-care attitude made us feel very unwelcomed.

Halfway through our meal, two other staff stepped in to serve us because the snobbish staff was tied up with other tables. I was glad that happened because they were so much more professional. One in particular stood out with his detailed presentation. In a good way of course since we love to better appreciate the dishes by understanding the story behind.

And food wise… Oddly, I wasn’t too impressed. It just lacked the ‘wow’ factor. I preferred days when they were at their previous location where their dishes leaned towards molecular cuisine.

  

Upon settling the bill, we were given small tokens before we left the Michelin-starred restaurant; A small bottle of chef-owner Han Li Guang’s chicken rice chili and a set of postcards which were used as props for the dishes’ introduction.

RESTAURANT LABYRINTH
8 Raffles Avenue, Esplanade Mall, #02-23, Singapore
6223 4098, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Fri : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 23:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 6
* Closed on Mon

Dinner @ Whitegrass [Revisit]

August 8, 2018 in Australian

After our wonderful dinner at Magic Square, my instagram foodie friends @abbey_thebolobao, @thetravellingcow and @free.the.umami were up for our next food adventure. And we unanimously agreed on Whitegrass. Which was great because I had been interested to return to Whitegrass for their dinner menu since my last enjoyable lunch in 2016. Not to forget that this time, I would be returning to a Michelin-starred Whitegrass.

With that, reservation was made for a weekday. And on the afternoon of our planned dinner, the restaurant called to request our choice of menu. I am wondering if the call came about because we were a big group of 6. And between the 5-course and 7-course menus, we (foodies) naturally went with the former. Keke.

And we started our 7-course ($250) dinner with:-

1) Amuse bouche #1 (above) – Deep fried baby crab with salted egg batter.


2) Amuse bouche #2 (above) – Plated like macaron was sesame biscuit and garocha cheese.

3) Amuse bouche #3 (above) – Yellow and green zucchini tart with lemon gel.


  

4) Bread, Complimentary (above) – And before this was served, @free.the.umami was raving about the lard. I guess the lard must be a new item since I didn’t have that in my previous visit. And I must say the bread was a sight to behold; Served beautifully as a rose. I really enjoyed the sourdough with the lard. Followed by the butter of course. But what’s really good was the sourdough. The staff saw us enjoying the bread very much and gave us additional. Keke.

5) Dish #1 (above) – Ginger milk curd, spring peas and bottarga.

6) Dish #2 (above) – Western Australian marron, fresh curd, wild fennel pollen, pickled watermelon rind, seawater.


7) Dish #3 (above) – Red braised Challans duck, eggplant cream, kanten noodles, water chestnut, Chinese jelly mushrooms. This was so good! Flavourful with many contrasting textures. My favourite dish for the night. A must try.

8) Dish #4 (above) – Smoked eel, potato and celeriac, crispy quinoa. Interesting that it was cooked to a texture similar to risotto.

9) Dish #5 (above) – Butter poached Hokkaido snow crab, golden crab dumpling, water shield, egg drop soup.


10) Dish #6 (above) – Buddha jumps over the wall. Yin-yang scallop ‘cheong fan’ skin, slow roasted iberico pork neck, abalone, shimeji mushroom cap, lotus seeds and shiitake custard in pork rib broth.


11) Dish #7 (above) – Slow roasted Pyrenees lamb neck, seaweed chimichurri, agretti. And we were told the lamb was braised before it was shredded and then pan-roasted.



12) Dessert #1 (above) – Dragon eye blossom honey, Hokkaido milk jelly, burnt honey whip, milk ice cream, dried milk curls.


13) Dessert #2 (above) – Single origin Peruvian chocolate, wood roasted coffee, pedro ximenez prunes, shaved macadamia nuts, frozen chocolate.

14) Petit fours #1 (above) – Snickers, strawberry and watermelon lamington.


  

15) Petit fours #2 (above) – Fortune cookie.

Although it isn’t an apple-to-apple comparison but when I compare our dinner (July 2018) to the lunch that I had 1.5 years ago, Whitegrass certainly has since improved. Not that they were bad previously; They just got better. Truly deserving of their 1 Michelin star. I definitely recommend dining at Whitegrass.

On a totally different note, please pardon the lousy quality of my photographs. The camera of my handphone (iPhone 6S) has been spoilt for a while now and I really should get a new mobile phone but… I’ve been lazy. Oops. Was using a really old Samsung phone which couldn’t take quality photographs in dim setting. Sob. I honestly wish I had better photographs for sharing to do the food (better) justice.

WHITEGRASS
30 Victoria Street, Chijmes, #01-26/27, Singapore
6837 0402, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Wed – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon & Sun