Julien Royer of Jaan is a feted chef these days. Jaan is ranked #22 in Asia for the 2013 Miele Guide, and the preternaturally young chef has been pegged as the rising chef to watch. I recently had the good fortune of dining at Jaan, and sampling Chef Royer’s Artisanal Cuisine. In his foreword to the meal, he mentions that his cooking involves “simple but beautiful dishes that reflect both culinary tradition and [his] creativity”. I chose the 7-course gastronomic lunch option.
Snacks. Clockwise from top,
1. smoked eel on a spoon + chicken pastilla (think samosa)
2. sardine in a can
3. home-made hummus + rye crackers
Amuse-bouche: Cepes Sabayon and Mushroom Tea (5/5)
A Sabayon is a foamy egg sauce; this is what a Cepes mushroom is like. The mushroom-tea was poured into the sabayon. A light foamy mixture, strongly-tasting of mushroom, but very light. Possibly a small wink at Singapore’s foamy tea, teh tarik.
Course #1: Crab & Obsiblue ‘Shell’ – avocado, apple, caviar (5/5)
This dish is an alternate rendition of the Obsiblue prawn dish mentioned in food blogger Aun Koh’s review. The sublime taste of Obsiblue prawn comes out beautifully in a tartare, with crab salad and caviar on top. An avocado foam tops it; a crustacean jelly undergirds it. Superb.
Course #2: Buffalo Heart Tomato – burrata ‘artigiana’, basil, piquillos (3/5)
I didn’t like this dish. Buffalo Heart Tomato, the centre piece, was as tasteless as a supermarket tomato. The sweeter Japanese tomatoes on top were too small and similar in taste to the Buffalo Heart to provide a better tomato flavour. The redeeming aspect of this dish was the contrast in texture and temperature between the tomato sorbet, and the tomato consomme. A last kick of salt on the sorbet was very good.
Course #3: 55′ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg – Smoked rattes, chorizo iberico, buckwheat (5/5)
Chef Royer’s specialty among specialties. Cooked for 55 minutes at 62(64?) degrees celsius, this egg was the texture of an onsen egg. Crisp potatoes and fantastic ham matchsticks. This one will live long in the memory.
Course #4: Hand Dived Scallop – Artichoke, girolles, truffle (4.5/5)
Well-seared scallop, if slightly on the colder side of warm. Well-composed dish, with artichokes cream.
Course #5: Miyazaki Beef Striploin: mushroom ketchup, cherry, almond (4.75/5)
I enjoyed the fruity bite of the white almonds, the audacity of the mushroom ketchup (something that went with Obsiblue prawn in Aun Koh’s review) – apparently made by straining a mixture of different mushrooms. The beef was top-grade, fatty and springy – is to normal beef what otoro is to normal tuna meat. Cherry was of a taste with the ketchup. Charred onions were pretty, but bit-players in taste.
Course #6: Brie de Meaux Truffe – artisan brie, truffle ice cream, toaste ‘poilane’ (4.75/5)
Audacity! Truffle ice cream! The (sweet) taste was good, though the ice cream was getting melty. There was a noticeable ‘salt kick’ for the ice cream, which was again very pleasant to me. (This may be due to the uneven way I consume sorbets). I was very impressed by the brie, stuffed with marscapone and black truffle and walnuts. Excellent and salty.
Course #7: Choconuts – Guanaja mousse, Karukera sorbet, nuts… (4/5)
This was a decent chocolate dessert. It was nice to find salty peanuts between number 3 from left and mousse number 4.
Mignardises: Anticlockwise from bottom:
1. Pop-rock ice lolly;
2. Raspberry biscuit;
3. Banana on marshmallow
4. Rosemary chocolate lollipop
I love pop-rocks. I remember chuckling to myself when I first had them at Andre in 2011; he had stuffed them in his “pop-corn”. After I finished the lolly, I was using the stick to gather more pop-rocks to eat, like a more useless anteater tongue. The smoke from the rosemary chocolate lolly was a nice throwback to the smoked egg.
Two things stand out. It appears that mushrooms are a specialty of Chef Royer, which is great because I love mushrooms. Can’t get enough of them. Another is the salt-kick for sorbets, a trick that was used twice with great effect, once to rescue a flatlining dish, the second to accent a great one.
When the Michelin Guide for Singapore is published, I expect Jaan to get two stars. The mushroom tea, Obsiblue prawn ‘shell’, and smoked egg will live in the memory. I expect to return soon.
Price paid: 209/pax
Memory: Mushroom tea, Obsiblue prawn tartare, smoked egg, stuffed brie.