Michelin-starred Jaan is changing the rules of British cuisine
"Is there such a thing as British food?"
The question might sound absurd, but it does get you thinking. After all, do we know anything else besides fish and chips and bangers and mash? The truth is, British cuisine isn't one that you can compartmentalise and that's where the misconception arises. Most of us are unaware that Britain stands as a melting pot of differing cultures and cooking traditions. A port of immigrants who have settled in — whether it be from India, Ireland, South Africa etc.
But what's wonderful about the 1-Michelin Jaan, is that with every visit there — lies an education (which more Singaporeans could definitely use) on the unknown cuisine to which we had so rashly dubbed non-existent. Chef de Cuisine Kirk Westaway's newest summer menu, "Reinventing British" is here to answer that call. Passion at the fingertips, as we like to call it. This seasonal line-up has been a longstanding desire of Chef Kirk's — to serve up what he calls home — and we were lucky enough to savour it for ourselves.
They come in fours...
The snacks at Jaan never seem to disappoint; if anything, it's hard to imagine the Jaan experience without them. In the summer bite-sized teasers, we found ourselves demolishing a beetroot meringue (crafted from organic beets sourced from Yorkshire), which was piped and dehydrated for 12 hours overnight, then graced with a rich horseradish and smoked eel cream. Also, who could forget the indulgent Devon cheddar cheese buckwheat pancakes that was last seen in the Spring menu? Next up, fish and chips — unrecognisable in a delicate mini tartlet. Little did we know, the crispy thin tartlet was an intricate by-product of thinly-sliced Australian potatoes, withholding cured cod fish poached in aromatic milk. What really stood out was the chicken curry creation — think French chicken legs baked to a golden crisp, before it's minced with an array of spices and placed over a puffy rice chip. Flavours were nailed to a tee, while visually resembling nothing like what we grew up with. A cheeky play with our minds, we concede.
Pearl of the ocean
Call us spoilt silly from fanciful plating, but when an aluminium can was placed on our table, we were left slightly confused. Turns out, it was a Kristal caviar tin we were misjudging — containing a softly poached Irish oyster that was steamed directly into the roe itself. It wasn't just the biggest oyster we had to dissect, but it was also one of the freshest ones.
An English bed
Re-enacted from Chef Kirk's memories of tossing summer salads with his family, the English Garden is a picture-pretty display of seasonal vegetables, herbs and flora (we counted it to be a grand total of 30 different types) all freshly picked and paired with black olive powder and flavoursome anchovy dressing. Add to that a watering can of Scottish seaweed and herb broth served on the side — engaging the diner to "water" their very own garden. Well played, Chef Kirk. It was so much fun, as it was a wise lesson learnt on vegetation.
Now that your palate has been refreshed, it's time to tuck into a hearty slab of Welsh salt marsh lamb. The gorgeous marbled meat came bearing an intoxicating aroma while accompanied with aubergine puree and finished with a lamb tomato and basil sauce. In this case, the gamy taste was balanced expertly well with tangy and sweet condiments.
A British sweet ending
If you're British, you should know what Pimm's is. The refreshing summer cocktail is usually made with assorted fruits, lemonade and a splash of liquor. Perfect for our pre-dessert cleanser — think Pimm's infused pomelo dabbled with fresh oranges, cucumber slices, lemon granita — nestled in a chilled bed of wheatgrass fostered in Jaan's very own herb garden. And yes, we did mention pre-dessert — the prelude to another sweet finisher. Chef Kirk's strawberry cheesecake closed the show like a pro; one that compiled the season's best strawberries with a buttery cheesecake biscuit base, fresh green almonds, and a smooth mascarpone sorbet. Talk about a lasting impression of Britain's finest.
Get a taste of Jaan's new summer menu today.
2 Stamford Road, Level 70, Equinox Complex, Tel: 6837 3322
Opening hours: 12pm-2.30pm, 7pm-10.30pm