When JAAN's Chef Kirk Westaway first introduced the 'Reinventing British' menu in 2018, the question on everybody's lips was, "What is his food really like?" Three years and 2 Michelin Stars later, Westaway has earned the distinction of being one of Singapore's most renowned and respected chefs. So now, we find ourselves asking, "What culinary treat am I in for next?"
For the latest iteration of the 'Reinventing British' menu, diners are treated to an enchanting taste of autumn, artfully interpreted by Westaway and his team — beautifully balanced, comforting flavors derived from the season's freshest bounty.
He reveals, "The new ‘Reinventing British’ menu features culinary dishes that evoke the heart-warming familiarity associated with Autumn; one that is marked by an incredibly romantic landscape of warm colors and falling foliage. We wanted to capture Nature’s scenic wonders and the spirit of Fall through beautifully composed, modern creations that creatively harness a palette of the season’s finest produce from artisanal producers in the UK."
To learn more about these Autumn offerings, we caught up with Chef Westaway who walked us through the new menu, while at the same time, revealing the struggles and successes the past year has brought.
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Salt Baked White Beetroot with Kristal Caviar
Can you walk us through the menu and highlight some of the dishes that mean the most to you.
The menu features plates that pay tribute to the season’s best ingredients and the natural flavors of root vegetables, pumpkin, and cabbage.
One of the key highlights is a Salt Baked White Beetroot with Kristal Caviar. This invigorating cold dish showcases thin curls of tender white beetroot enveloping a soft cheese, topped with Kristal Caviar and a rich cream sauce with dill.
A refreshed interpretation of British eggs and soldiers, the Hens Egg with Barbecued Celeriac and Black Truffle is imbued with a new dimension of deep, smoky accents created by delicately burning celeriac over a bed of embers. The accompanying toasted soldier sandwiches a melted 10-month-old Berkswell cheese, sourced from a farm near my home in Devon. This dish certainly brings back fond memories of my childhood.
Inspired by my hometown, a seaside county in southwest England, I’ve also incorporated several elegant seafood dishes, including a Scottish lobster served with a beautifully roasted hispi cabbage stuffed with lobster trimmings and onions. It’s paired with a warm brown butter mayonnaise made fresh every hour, and a velvety lobster sauce.
Rounding off the meal are two desserts for selection. The Pear Caramel is an interlace of thinly sliced, caramelised Conference pears that sit atop a delectable pear chutney, ensconced within a delicate puff pastry shell. Guests can also choose to indulge in the heart-warming Dark Chocolate and Coffee, an ensemble of light, medium and dark chocolate thins delicately arranged on a coffee crumble and caramel layered cake; and a caramel parfait served alongside.
What do you want diners to take away after experiencing this season’s menu?
We hope to enthral guests through our modern reinterpretations that evoke the very pleasures of Fall. By capturing the season’s picturesque beauty and its palette of elegant flavours in our culinary creations, I hope to captivate imaginations and create an exceptional experience that will leave an indelible mark on guests.
It’s no secret that the F&B industry is facing its biggest challenge at the moment. What keeps you going when there are so many uncertainties?
A big part of what keeps me going is my team. They are incredibly passionate, talented and hardworking and there is a familial spirit, even amidst the intensity of the restaurant environment.
I also find it incredibly fulfilling when guests tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the experience at JAAN. It’s such moments when I feel that all the hard work and sacrifice that went into bringing my vision to life has paid off.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though because you also received your second Michelin star this year. What was the first thing you did after the announcement?
The first thing I did was call my wife and share the wonderful news with her. She’s been very supportive and accepting of the career that I’ve chosen so this win is especially meaningful to the both of us. I also called my family in Devon to share my joy.
The team and I celebrated this achievement with a champagne toast, and it was right back to work. Achieving this milestone wouldn’t have been possible without my very dedicated and talented team who has demonstrated unwavering passion to create one of the finest gastronomic experiences in Asia. We are all very much looking forward to a proper celebration over a well-deserved dinner, a team tradition to mark significant milestones, once the Covid restrictions are lifted!
It might be difficult to put the emotions into words, but what was going through your mind after the announcement? What does that second star mean to you?
I felt a surge of emotions and pure elation the very moment the result was announced. It is such an incredible honor to be awarded two Michelin stars and also to be part of Singapore’s most prestigious list of gourmet restaurants.
Given the challenging year that the F&B industry has been through, earning the second star is a great testament of not only the team’s hard work and dedication, but also our enduring commitment to putting a definitive mark on modern British cuisine.
However, this doesn’t mean we will rest on our laurels as this achievement has only spurred me and the team to scale greater heights and take JAAN to the next level.
Looking ahead, can you share some forecasts/insights into Singapore’s dining scene? What are you most excited about?
In this new normal when people are more focused on experiences, F&B needs to augment its offerings to create tailored, almost intuitive gastronomic adventures. More people are dining out and rewarding themselves for the challenging months we had. At JAAN, the pandemic has provided us with the opportunity to recalibrate, reassess and refine everything we do. From service to culinary dishes, we’ve been exploring ways to elevate the experience in a way that will touch and engage with our guests on a personal and individual level.
I’m also excited to see a new generation of culinary talents who are harnessing culinary art as a medium to drive positive change and pave way for the future of food and sustainability through their personal approach. This resonates with me as sustainability is very close to the heart of what JAAN does, and how we operate. In fact, I personally source sustainable produce from accredited suppliers and artisanal producers from all over the world so that everything is accounted for; from where the ingredient originates to how it arrives at the restaurant.
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