Friday, November 27, 2009

Jaan Par André

picture-perfect amuse bouche

Inventive. Impressive. As wondrously beautiful as works of art. But for me, it fell a little short of being an amazing, unforgettable meal that I would talk about for weeks on end.

The former Jaan had taken on the new moniker of Jaan Par Andre, after the much feted up-and-coming chef Andre Chiang took over the reins last year. Rave and almost hysterical reviews of how stunning and spectacular the food was, followed. So it was with much excitment that we ordered the 7-course degustation menu ($240+++ per person, which is a price to stun the unsuspecting too I say).

The amuse bouche set the stage for what we could expect. It was beautifully composed, just like a picture. Fried prawn legs and French radish "planted" in dark chocolate "soil". Cracklings of bamboo ash, chicken skin and sakura ebi with a dijon mustard dip. The flavours were tantalising if a little strange and new to us.

lemon sous-vide
Our second course was a lemon "sous-vide". A small cube of lemon mousse packaged in transparent lemon jelly was presented, together with the "before" product - vaccum-packed lemon cured for two months. Not too sour or sweet, this was a palate-awakening treat.

this is how the lemon looked before it got onto the plates...
The highlight of the Mediterranean red prawn "escabeche" was those two raw prawns, unbelievably flavourful and sweet. The artfully arranged heap of baby vegetables in the middle of the plate was a sight for the eyes - purple cauliflower florets, pearl onions, baby radish - but somewhat disappointingly, tasted rather ordinary.

beautiful! Mediterranean red prawn escabeche

Pressed foie gras glazed with Spanish wine followed. The foie gras was extremely smooth and melting, and the accompaniments of apple millefeuille, gingerbread crips and fig compote struck a pleasantly sweet note. A clever interpretation of the traditional foie gras preparation!
pressed foie gras...balsamic vinegar reduction

Then the caviar tarte tatin came, and I have to say, this dish was so clever that it went completely over my head - just couldn't understand it! The caviar was nicely briny to be sure, but we were left scratching our heads as to what the big deal was all about....

caviar tarte tatin. so pretty but uncomprehensible to me.

Thankfully, our first main of char-grilled wild baby barracuda was delicious. A thin fillet of fish rolled into a roulade and topped with a plume of bacon-flavoured foam, the flavours melded together like a dream. I especially liked the toasted Brittany wheat which served as the carbohydrates for this dish, Woah! smoky and savoury and just so-ever slightly crunchy.

char-grilled wild baby barracuda

Our second main of top-grade Japanese wagyu served with wild potato done three ways and burned onion broth was very good too. Expectedly so, given the quality of the produce, but to be honest, not as flavourful as that beef steak that we had at Joel Robuchon. My main complaint was with my piece of beef being slightly overcooked to a medium doneness (and not medium rare like E's was, although I was too shy and too nice a person to send it back to the kitchen). Both of us also felt that the beef was a little tough and chewy.

japanese wagyu

Dessert was a dark chocolate ganache with milk marmalade sorbet. I appreciated the premium chocolate that went into the making of this dish but it didn't really ring any bells unlike that unforgettable "Breakfast" dessert at Blu. Petit fours of financiers, creme brulee macaroons, dark chocolate with orange fizzy pops (a nice and whimsical touch!) and white chocolate coated strawberry sorbet popsicles rounded off our meal.

All courses come served in miniature, teensy-weensy sizes. The good thing is that one doesn't feel stuffed, even after seven courses. Good also, that we had the amazing 50% discount on the Feed@Raffles card. I have a penchant to try out the set lunch ($58+++) another day though, since I can't quite reconcile my impressions with all those glowing reviews. Perhaps my tastes are still very much plebian in nature! *grin*

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