A while back, I was honoured to be invited by Chef Kirk Westaway himself, who currently helms the one Michelin Star JAAN. JAAN is that one dream restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try since I started food photography and writing but somehow have not. And to finally have the chance to dine here felt somewhat like fulfilling a childhood dream. What I had was Chef’s interpretation of spring dishes, some of which are still served on the menu from time to time.
One of the most beautifully plated dishes I’ve seen, the Alaskan King Crab was a sight to behold. Wrapped in pickled kohlrabi and paired with fresh sea urchin, salmon roe from Hokkaido and osetra caviar, this made such an exquisite appetizer. In the middle of the dish is fromage blanc sorbet on top of a pea of panna cotta, and finished with delicate edible flowers.
Who knew beetroot could encompass such a diverse range of tastes? The Golden Beetroot, a medley of multi-coloured beetroot approached three ways, consisted of roasted beetroot wedges, golden beetroot sorbet on a hazelnut cazzette and balanced with a red beetroot puree.
An all-time seasonal favorite of Chef Kirk is the Pertuis Asparagus, comprising green asparagus blanched simply & finished with butter glaze, chargrilled white asparagus with a parmesan crust, exquisite champagne hollandaise, green asparagus puree, joselito ham, fried bread crumbs and oxalus leaves. For someone who rarely eats stalks of greens, I unexpectedly enjoyed the asparagus thoroughly. It had a superbly clean taste and amazing crunch.
What I really liked about the Line Caught Snapper served with prawn, poached red & white kabu wedges, white kabu puree, minced kabu stem, ikura eggs and green almond powder was the subtle sweetness of the snapper and prawn, balanced with savoury elements such as ikura.
While some of us thought the snapper was the best dish that day, I personally preferred the Cannon of Lamb, being a fan of red meat. One of Chef Kirk’s most laborious dishes, he uses the entire saddle of organic Welsh lamb to create a rich lamb ballotine which is sous vide then pan-roasted. This resulted in golden, crisp skin round the lamb which gave it crunch, while the meat in the middle remained tender. Accompanying the cannon of lamb is lamb belly braised overnight and lamb shoulder. No gamey taste is left behind in this delicate main course.
Before moving on to our desserts, we had the Amalfi Lemon Granite as a palate cleanser. The highlight is (no surprise) the prized Amalfi Lemon which is Chef Kirk’s favorite lemon. This lemon is only farmed along the Amalfi Coast of Italy, mind you. Essentially, this dish features the lemon done in several ways – Amalfi lemon sorbet and foam atop a lemon granite and fresh lemon pieces, finished with freshly grated lemon zest. This came as such a refreshing dish and I was scraping off every bit from the oversized bowl.
The modern interpretation of the Pear & Ginger Tart was like a beautiful, deconstructed plated dessert that brought us to a sweet end. Caramel roasted wedges of Comice pear infused with white balsamic vinegar balance on filo pastry are accompanied with panna cotta, caramel apple and ginger ice cream, oat crumble, caramel cream and pear chutney.
On weekdays, the set lunch menu is definitely most worthy for your dollar, and you have the options of a 4-course ($88++), 5-course ($128++) and 6-course ($158++) set menu to choose from. JAAN follows a seasonal menu and items do vary from time to time even within each seasonal menu, depending on available ingredients. We’re only halfway through this year, but I had a feeling that this meal would be probably be my best gastronomic experience of the year.
Many thanks to Chef Kirk for his kind invitation and his brilliant execution of the dishes.
Level 70, Equinox Complex, 2 Stamford Road, Singapore 178882
Tel: +65 6837 3322
Lunch: Mon to Sat 12pm – 2.30pm, Dinner: Mon to Sat 7pm – 10pm