Taiwanese-born culinary star Andre Chiang leftto start his own venture more than two years ago, and yet, the man’s shadow still looms large. Heading the kitchen at a restaurant as decorated as this is always a tall order, but filling the shoes of such a renowned predecessor makes for a different challenge entirely.
As such, it takes a chef of considerable fortitude to rise — quite literally, given the restaurant’s location on the 70th floor of Singapore’s Swissotel — to the challenge of running the high-altitude kitchen. Fortunately JAAN has always had a knack for finding young, ascendant culinary talents, and they seemed to have done so once again with 29-year-old chef Julien Royer.
In the one year that Royer been at JAAN, his cooking has grown from strength to strength, winning him the title of ‘Rising Chef of the Year’ at this year’s World Gourmet Series. Though young, he is a chef who seems mature beyond his years and exudes a quiet confidence in his style of artisanal cuisine. A native of Cantal, Auvergne, the French-born Royer comes from a family of four generations of farmers, so it is only natural that he finds inspiration in nature’s bounty. Firmly believing in the importance of respecting the produce you’re working with, he builds his seasonal menus around the best ingredients that he can find from the most passionate producers around the world.
Having trained under famous French chefs such as Bernard Andrieux and Michael Bras, Royer’s style of cooking is classically French — every dish is exquisitely presented and refined. But there is also a sense of purity and lightness of touch to his cooking and JAAN is the stage on which he showcases his creativity and technical skill in bringing out the best of every ingredient he works with.
In Chef Royer’s hands, dried porcini mushrooms from Chaspuzac and fresh porcini mushrooms are turned into a rich, earthy cepes sabayon and mushroom tea, while a particularly rare variety of zucchini is paired with burrata cheese and heirloom tomatoes from Cote d’Azur to form a wonderfully refreshing appetiser. We were particularly entranced by his 55’ rosemary smoked organic egg. Sourced from New Zealand, each organic egg is slow cooked for 55 minutes at 64 degrees to maintain a creamy translucence and when broken on top of some salty iberico de bellota from Salamanca, porcini crumbs and garden peas — the result was simply sublime.
Food aside, the 40-seat restaurant is intimate. It is a relatively austere space (save for a spectacular Murano crystal and silver free-form chandelier that spans the length of the ceiling) but when the service is as good as it is at JAAN and the view this spectacular, there is very little need for adornment. Add Royer's outstanding cuisine, and you have an experience that is pretty close to perfect, be it for a business lunch or an indulgent dinner. We've never been disappointed by a meal at JAAN, and confidently predict you'll be equally gratified dining here. It's high up, and every bit deserving high praise.