Jaan is located on the 70th floor of the Swissotel, and as you might expect has a spectacular view over the city. There has been considerable change in the kitchen in the last couple of years, with Andre Chiang leaving in May 2010 to set up his own restaurant, then Ebbe Vollmer moving on barely a year later. The head chef was, at the time of my visit, Julien Royer, who had earlier work at the Brasserie Les Saveurs at the St Regis hotel in Singapore. In the past he had trained with Regis Marcon, and also cooked at the Greenhouse in London.
The carpeted dining room had around a dozen well-spaced, large tables, and there was rather unnecessary muzak playing in the background. There was a rather incongruous industrial feel to the ceiling of the room, which doubtless was the result of careful and expensive interior design, which did not extend to good lighting on the tables (hence the murky photos).
In addition to the a la carte menu there were five and eight course tasting menus, priced at SGD 198 and SGD 238 respectively. The 28 page wine list was presented on an iPad rather than on paper, and included wines such as Chablis Domaine St Claire 2008 at SGD 130 (£66) for a wine that retails at just £13 in the UK, Didier Dagenau Silex 2006 at SGD 380 (£192) compared to a retail price of around £76, up to grand bottles such as Chateau Latour 1996 listed at SGD 2970 (£1,506) for a wine that will set you back around £714 in a UK shop.
There was a trio of nibbles. Crisp salmon skin with lemon snow and lemon cream with lamb bacon sounded more interesting than it tasted, while walnut crisps with cheese had subdued flavour (13/20 for these). The best nibble was pickled mackerel with apple,radish and seaweed jelly: the acidity of the apple balanced the richness of the mackerel nicely, the jelly adding an extra dimension (15/20).
A further amuse-bouche was cep sabayon with fresh walnuts and lovage, and displayed in a cafetiere was a wild mushroom tea poured out at the table by the waiter. The presentation seemed a bit gimmicky to me, but the cep sabayon itself was excellent, the cep flavour coming through strongly (16/20). Breads are made in the kitchen and consisted of a series of rolls: black truffle brioche, black olive roll, sourdough roll and baguette. The breads were pleasant but not remarkable (15/20) A chicken liver and foie gras parfait had a slightly grainy texture, and lacked the deep flavour that I wold have expected; this was served with a yellow raisin verjus that did not add much in the way of balance to the dish (13/20).
A single scallop had reasonable flavour but was was a fraction overcooked, served with a pea puree that had limited taste, and a watery tarragon nage (13/20). Boudin blanc of young pheasant had pleasant texture but surprisingly little pheasant flavour, served with rather tasteless small trompette mushrooms and a little Madeira sauce. Seasoning was rather subdued, a common theme in this meal (13/20). Short rib of beef was curiously lacking in flavour, served with artichokes, confit tomatoes (the vegetables also not having much flavour) and more lovage (13/20). Caramelised honey pear was pleasant enough, served with a good ginger ice cream and butter shortbread (14/20).
The bill came to SGD 310 (£156) per person, with just a couple of glasses of wine. This was an absurd amount of money for the standard of food that was delivered. Dishes consistently seemed under-seasoned and ingredients in many cases lacked much flavour. It is rarely a good sign when an amuse-bouche of soup is the best dish of a meal. Perhaps this restaurant was better under its previous chefs than it was at my visit. Sadly, whatever display of culinary skill may have occurred here in the past that earned the restaurant its reputation, I appear to have missed it.