Asia’s 50 Best: Jaan, Singapore (Part 4, Desserts & Finishing Touches)

Category: French – Fine Dining

2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford, Level 70, Equinox Complex, Singapore 178882

Damage: $$$$

The Menu Prestige itself is an ongoing concert that has no specific intervals, but I have taken the liberty to break it up into smaller sections to make for an easier read. This section comprises the last 2 dishes of the Menu Prestige, which feels proper to name “Desserts & Finishing Touches”.


For the Finest Cheese Selection and Condiments, the hostess swivelled over a beautiful trolley display of cheeses, both hard and soft, with a variety of textures, and began asking for our preferences before proceeding to put together a tasting platter of 4 cheeses. Biscotti was served with homemade plum, strawberry and pear jams as well. I’m not a fan of nuts so I didn’t quite enjoy the biscuits, although the one in the foreground went well with the sweet, thick jams.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Cheese Selection

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Cheese Selection and 1965 Sg50 Colheita Port Wine

The Kopke Colheita 1965, Cask #11640 was presented to us as well; a port wine that was selected to commemorate Singapore’s 50th Anniversary. Shipped from Vila Nova de Gaia, a city in Portugal which has strict standards on the ageing of their Ports, the Kopke Colheita 1965 was incredibly intense and sweet, and reminded me strongly of the Hungarian Tokaji wine I’d had in the historic wine cellar in the basement accessible from the Hilton Hotel in Budapest, which the sommelier had skilfully and accurately described as “liquid nectar”.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Coconut cream

To be honest, I can’t remember what this was, so I’m not going to try to give it a name. It was a light coconut-y foam with ice shavings followed by red ruby-like things beneath. I realised the best way to enjoy Jaan‘s dishes is to put together the different tastes and textures on a spoon and have it altogether. The same with this dish, which transformed into a creamy, cool and refreshing dessert, although not particularly outstanding.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Choconuts 'Grand Cru'

This is where Sous Chef Kirk Westaway made his appearance from the kitchen, holding a metallic canister, and asked how our meal was. He smilingly inverting the canister and leaned the nozzle into my plate like a magician about to present a trick, when out came a gush of thick chocolate mousse. As everyone already knows of my undying love for chocolate, this seemed like a possible heaven. The mousse was delicious and cold, which was all the more better, but somehow the different parts just didn’t quite come together on the plate.

The finale was the Petit Four (feature picture), once again presented with fanfare of dry ice. I’m not sure whether it could be because by this point I was i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-y full, but whilst good, it wasn’t spectacular to me – the exception being the round brown globes suspended on the small sticks out of a jar, which, when bitten, revealed pleasantly a surprise of strong and fragrant liquor.

All in all, a dinner at Jaan, well worth remembering. 

Asia’s 50 Best: Jaan, Singapore (Part 2, Appetisers)

Category: French – Fine Dining

2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford, Level 70, Equinox Complex, Singapore 178882

Damage: $$$$

The Menu Prestige itself is an ongoing concert that has no specific intervals, but I have taken the liberty to break it up into smaller sections to make for an easier read. This section comprises the first 3 dishes of the Menu Prestige, and for which I find most suitable to name “Appetisers”.


Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Uni Sea Urchin Pudding with Caviar

The Hokkaido Sea Urchin with Obsiblue prawn and Kaluga queen caviar – I didn’t like. I love good uni but this was a pudding infused with sea urchin – the creamy texture of the pudding caused the natural richness of the uni itself to be lost, and whatever flavours made it through came across as slightly fishy. I couldn’t taste the prawn.

An addition complement of crostini was then served, beautiful to picture but somewhat ordinary in taste.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Crostini

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog beetroot collection

When the Beetroot Collection was served I’d spent a good while looking at it – it was like a piece of art- a delicate, intricate mixing of textures, temperatures, and variants of a magenta colour on the plate, punctuated by some yellow and some white of the radish and whip. This was a complex dish which included “Burrata artigiana” and honeycomb, and eaten individually made for nothing much, but when we began mixing them into the same spoonful, it became something quite special which I can’t quite put a finger on, and, I suppose, was the right way to enjoy it.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog 55°C rosemary smoked organic eggAs if I didn’t already love egg enough, I was introduced to Jaan‘s highly discussed 55′ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg with Ratte Potato, Chorizo Iberico and Buckwheat, which came with the great pomp of being served in a tray over a block with a endless stream of white mist gushing over and cloaking the table (feature picture). The waiter picked the egg from the tray and poured it in with the rest of the condiments in the glass, which I mixed a little with my spoon and then tasted. For all of the dish’s complexity in preparation, the egg was perfect but I still found it hard to believe that it could only be achieved by poaching the eggs at 64 degrees for 55 minutes. The chorizo, somewhat reminiscent of bacon, provided the salt to the otherwise seemingly non-seasoned potatoes and balanced the dish like a perfect breakfast.

JUMBO Seafood Restaurant, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: Singaporean / Chinese – Seafood

JUMBO is one of my family’s all-time favourite seafood restaurants because it is convenient and serves very good quality food at a competitive price point. I’ve tried chilli crab at a variety of restaurants and still find myself returning to JUMBO because there is that special something about the delicious semi-sweet savoury eggy gravy. If you’re in Singapore and are looking to try our perennial favourite, JUMBO is a good bet.

11 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249673, Tel: +65 6479 3435

JUMBO is prominently located at the end of a row of restaurants right in the centre of Dempsey. There is usually ample parking and JUMBO  has its own smallish carpark, although it can get quite crowded on Friday and the weekends.

Damage: $$ – $$$

I was there during Chinese New Year and we ate up half the sea. The bill came up to about $60 per head, which is extremely good value in my opinion, and we came away completely satisfied and stuffed.

To go: Often, whenever there’s a seafood craving to be fixed!

JUMBO has not yet disappointed me – I’ve tried probably about 70% of the dishes on the menu and and all the dishes have always been really good. Service is usually quite quick, and I like that they employ some mature staff who are very personable and helpful.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

This review comprises a run-down of some of JUMBO’s best and most popular dishes.

#1 Chilli Crab

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore Chilli Crab Man Tou fried buns Food Review BlogThe top-seller at JUMBO, without a shadow of a doubt, has got to be its Chilli Crab. Those of you who’ve been around for a bit will remember that Gordon Ramsay challenged JUMBO on its chilli crab and won by the public over a while back. I don’t know about you (and I wasn’t there to taste Ramsay’s take on the dish) but JUMBO‘s is still my go-to for chilli crab. The crab is usually fleshy and fresh, and the gravy is just the best – just the right consistency and sweetness, noticeable but non-jarring spiciness from the chilli, and lots of egg beaten into it. I especially love the taste of peanut, which gives it a unique light nutty flavour and sings counterpoint to the rest of the sauce, and yet complements it perfectly.

Drunken Prawns

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore Chilli Crab Man Tou fried buns Food Review Blog drunken prawnsThe Drunken Prawns are incredible value for money – we had about 15 prawns (mostly large) swimming in a huge bowl of brandy-infused broth for $21. When we were served the dish, we thought perhaps they got our order wrong because it didn’t seem “small” at all, but the check proved otherwise. The taste of the brandy in the prawn itself isn’t as strong as the same dish at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, where they would pour brandy into a bowl of live prawns and show you how they jump about in the bowl before your very eyes, but still a good dish especially with the amount of broth that comes with; it’s practically a soup.

Salted Egg Golden Prawns

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore Chilli Crab Man Tou fried buns Food Review Blog Salted Egg Golden Prawns

Sorry JUMBO, I HAD to steal this picture from your corporate site. I just could not explain the awesomeness of the Salted Egg Golden Prawns without a picture to go with. Every time I visit, we try so hard not to order this dish in a bid to try something different but always end up caving. The prawns come de-shelled, which means you can have every bit of that delicious grainy creamy salted egg yolk sauce that they come dunked in. Unbelievable. Yes, please.

Sauteéd Cod Fish with Special Sauce

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore Chilli Crab Man Tou fried buns Food Review Blog sauteed cod fish special sauce

With this dish, you can never have enough. The Sauteed Cod Fish with Special Sauce ($28) features large chunks of succulent cod fish lightly encrusted with a slightly crisp caramelised special sauce (which is indeed so special I can’t really figure out what went into it besides probably some dark soy sauce) – are you salivating yet?

Chinese Spinach with Salted Egg Yolk and Century Egg

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Singapore Chilli Crab Man Tou fried buns Food Review Blog chinese spinach salted century eggI love this vegetable dish – I’m not sure I’m talented at describing vegetables (soft? limp?) but the gravy is really tasty; you can taste the texture and creaminess of the salted egg yolk in it. I was so sad when they sold out on this dish at my previous visit. Do try it!

OMG – why did I do this to myself? I am so hungry now.

Paradise Dynasty, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: Chinese – La mian, XLB

I daresay Paradise Dynasty is one of my all-time favourite and most frequented restaurants. Just a few days ago, my friend who’ll be coming over from San Francisco in March asked for some recommendations, and this was one of the places that came to mind almost immediately.

Multiple locations including ION Orchard, Westgate and now, VivoCity

Every Singaporean would have heard of Paradise Dynasty – it’s one of the restaurant chains in the famous Paradise Group that owns several other fantastic Chinese restaurants such as Taste Paradise and Paradise Inn. They’re so well represented in Singapore that you’ll probably be able to find one of their restaurants in any decent-sized mall.

Damage: $$

Paradise Dynasty is one of the more (if not the most) affordable options from the Paradise Group, and it’s easy to get full (and I mean really stuffed) on under $20 per person. Portions are generous, and they’re especially popular for their La mian (pulled noodles; ~$10) and Xiao Long Bao ($8.90 Up).

To go: Yes, and often!

One of the most value-for-money places, with good service and delicious food, I’d come here time and time again. Paradise Dynasty almost always has a long queue, especially if you’re going anytime outside of office hours – whether it’s on a weekday after work or on a weekend, prepare to wait at least half an hour. Besides the La mian and Xiao Long Bao, the other dishes are mostly of a very good standard as well. I don’t believe I’ve ever left Paradise Dynasty unsatisfied.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

Paradise Dynasty Xiao Long Bao Singapore Food Review

Since the servings are quite large, we decided to go with a mix of dishes to share, including a basket of xiao long bao, wok-fried rice with shrimps and preserved vegetables, crisp-fried fish fillet with minced garlic, and crispy sweet and sour porkXiao long bao (literally “small basket buns”; feature picture) are little steamed soup dumplings originating from the Jiangnan province in China. They are pinched into tiny folds and sealed at the top and when bitten into, releases the tasty soup within. The ones at Paradise Dynasty came piping hot, but I felt that the delicate skin was pinched too tightly at the top such that it gave it a more heavy doughy texture which could explain the breaking of some baos. Overall, it came second to Din Tai Fung’s – although they have their signature basket of xiao long baos in 8 flavours which you can’t get anywhere else; the truffle, foie gras and garlic ones being particularly good.

Paradise Dynasty serves up a tasty fried rice, with fluffy grains and a good stir-in of fresh ingredients, second only to Din Tai Fung (looks like I need to write about DTF!). The crisp-fried fish fillet  was lacking flavour and the batter was extremely tasteless and oily, which made us queasy – so I definitely recommend against ordering it.

Crispy sweet sour pork Paradise Dynasty Singapore Food ReviewThe crispy sweet and sour pork (also known locally as “kor lor yok”) was delicious! When we next return, I’ll make sure to order it again. It was so crispy, and caramelised in the flavourful sweet and sour sauce, flavoured with the sweetness of pineapple and onion slices and countered by the chilli.

For dessert, we had the egg white soufflé with banana and red bean. I’d had it before at the ION Orchard branch and remembered it was light and fluffy in texture, but this one was… deflated. The soufflé fell into more of a thick sort of dough, so perhaps it would be wise to skip the dish since you won’t know who’s in the kitchen.

Egg white souffle Paradise Dynasty Dessert Food Blog Singapore

Egg white souffle red bean banana Paradise Dynasty Singapore Review

If you’re visiting Singapore and are new to Paradise Dynasty, I strongly recommend ordering the la mian, because they are really among Paradise Dynasty’s strongest dishes. I didn’t have it this time but I have had it almost every other time I visited – springy noodles in a robust pork bone broth, an onsen tamago (egg with a firm but custard-texture yolk) and, in many renditions, fish maw- it just always hits the spot each and every time.

Turandot Restaurant (Турандот), City Centre, Moscow, Russia

SCRIBBLES

Category: International / French & Chinese

Our friend is an ardent food lover and has dined at countless renowned restaurants around the world, so we left the meal arrangements to him. The Turandot restaurant was scheduled for dinner on a Tuesday evening, which I didn’t know much about then, except that it was on the list of Top 10 restaurants in Moscow. Galya, who resides in Moscow city itself, told me that the restaurant next to that, Кафе Пушкинъ (Cafe Pushkin), was good and famous as well, but for classic Russian food.

Tverskoy bulvar, 26А, Moscow, Russia

The street on which Turandot sits isn’t hard to find. It’s a short left onto a busy side street just off the main Tverskaya street. We did, however, miss the restaurant, walking back and forth a few times whilst checking Google maps. The sign was so inconspicuous – Just the word Турандот etched into a piece of smooth grey stone fixed into the column to the left of the entrance. To get to Турандот from the main street, you’d have to walk by Pushkin first, so start staring at the walls after Pushkin ends and you should have no problem at all.

Damage: $$$

Dining at Турандот is by no means a simple affair, but if you’re willing to spend about $80 per head for the full suite, by all means, dine at Турандот. Price really varies depending on what you order, because there are some more expensive options which are around the 3000RUB mark ($60).

To go: Yes, if you want to feel like royalty and want something different from Russian food 🙂

The food is mostly good but fades in comparison with the ambience of Турандот. Dining in such an impressive hall is an experience in itself, and you feel it right when you walk through the doors, with gold featuring heavily in the decor. They serve a variety of things from Tuna tar-tar with caviar to Dim Sum, although I was still pleasantly surprised to find Fried Rice Vermicelli Singapore style in the menu.


A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

We’d just wrapped up tea at GUM and began our walk towards Турандот, which took longer than expected; around 25 – 30 minutes. At this time of the Year, in mid October, Moscow was having an international festival called Circle of Light. As we walked along the street, there were all sorts of activities and displays – children running around a swirling globe of light in the field across the street, while adults stood staring at visual art casted in light onto the buildings to our right.

When we finally found Турандот and went inside, we were greeted by well-dressed staff at the reception and our coats were taken by a liveried footman, who in return, gave us the most opulent coat tags ever – weighty blocks of gold-brushed metal in a complex old-european design, with a number on the reverse.

We were led down a short flight of steps and into a large circular room which looked to be a lounge complete with a white grand piano, then guided out left and up a flight of stairs with the most ornate handrails. It was easy to see how the design and decor set its owners back around US$50 million, to earn the title of most expensive restaurant in Moscow. It was hard to believe that what looked like a royal residence akin to Château de Versailles of Paris or the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, was entirely constructed to just to house Турандот.

Turandot Moscow Russia

We dined on the upper floor, right under this beautiful dome – billowy white clouds on a sky blue canvas, the rims of the dome covered in intricate gold detail, with cherubs in various poses holding instruments as if in a serenade – amidst the soft, polite chatter of guests and the waitresses carrying golden trays wearing shoes which, speaking of extravagance, I’m told are made by the very same people responsible for the footwear of the Bolshoi ballerinas.

22-turandot2

The dim sum and peking duck we ordered to share was surprisingly quite authentic. The Grilled chicken with morel mushrooms, chanterelle and mashed potatoes which my companion ordered was a pretty hearty portion. The mash was especially good – creamy, and heavily scented with truffle which is undoubtedly, my favourite kind of mash.

I had the Roe deer marinated in red wine served with cloudberries, which turned out to be quite different from what I’d imagined. The deer was encrusted on the top with sort of a crumb casing, but this wasn’t very crisp, I think partly because of the sauce from the meat. The deer itself was tender and juicy, and the red wine marination brought out its meatier notes. The cloudberries were… for lack of a better word, interesting. I’d never tasted cloudberries before, and they sound like something that could’ve been made up. In the mouth, they were like clusters of little seeds surrounded by mild-tasting and firm fruit.

22-turandot3

We ended the meal with some milk flower and violet ice cream. Personally, I preferred the milk flower, which tasted creamy, milky and sweet. The best part of it all being the floral notes which felt like I was tasting a beautiful garden. It reminded me of the best floral-flavoured gelati I’d had in Rome, where I’d stood at the counter staring at dozens of the loveliest sounding ice-creams from sicilian wine cream to Garden sage and raspberry, and I wondered about when the next time might be that I should return to Italy.

Alkaff Mansion Ristorante, Singapore

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Category: Western

10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178

Honestly, besides the lovely sight of the tudor-style historical bungalow peering over the park (which you can’t really see much of at night), the privacy and the very attentive service, I’m not sure anything else about Alkaff Mansion Ristorante really stood out to me. The portions are on the small side, which is fine considering it’s fine dining, but I didn’t come away very satisfied.

Damage: $$$

Antipasti (~27SGD), Pasta (~30SGD), Fish Main (~43SGD), Meat Main (~50SGD), Desserts (~15SGD)

To go: On rare occasion – should try new places first 😐

If I were to return, I would probably try going back in the day instead when I can enjoy the view and maybe sit out at Alkaff‘s Terrace. I’m thinking late afternoons would be a fine time for that. The menu changes every now and then.

They have a 3-course set lunch on weekdays at $36++, and Italian Afternoon tea on Mondays to Fridays at $26++ and Saturdays at $40++ (I suppose this helps cover the costs of the live band, dessert bar, and the additional crepes suzette and pasta stations).


A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

2-starter

We opened our meal with an antipasti of Salmon Carpaccio; The salmon was fresh and the roe was springy as it should be, but the greens did nothing for the dish by being dry and tasteless. Although I like my dressing on salads or antipasti light, this was an olive oil dressing that did not quite bring out the flavours of the dish.

For the mains, we ordered the Porcetto Sardinyan Style, Carre’ d’Agnello al Forno, and Fettuccini with slow-roasted veal.

The Porcetto Sardinyan Style (see feature picture) was recommended to us as a fantastic Alkaff Mansion special. While the meat itself was relatively juicy and tender, the skin was really hard to cut through. If I were to knock it with my knife blade, it would remain unblemished while giving rise to a clicking sound. Again, the rest of the greens on the plate did nothing for the dish.

Lamb Rack and Veal Fettuccini

The Carre’ d’Agnello al Forno, or Oven Baked Lamb Rack, was slightly on the well done side but remained tender, although I wasn’t a fan of the slightly sweet and sticky sauce. The mash was grainy. As a pasta lover, I was disappointed that the fettuccini was rather forgettable; the meat was tasty and the pasta was al dente, but they felt like two separate dishes put on the same plate. The sauce could not coat nor cling to the pasta even after I tried to mix it up a few times, possibly also because there wasn’t a lot of it. At almost $30, there are many other places which can serve up a better pasta at this price point.

Semifreddo and Panna CottaTo end off, we had the Semifreddo al Cioccolato Bianco e Caffe’, and the Panna Cotta alla Vaniglia, Frutti di Bosco e Salsa al Lamponi. I love my sweets, but I would suggest having dessert elsewhere. The coffee came across as way too bitter in the semifreddo and the panna cotta had a bit too much of a gelatin texture to it which prevented the creaminess from coming through.