Marvellous Mother’s Day Lunch @ The Gurnard’s Head on 10May2015

chicken ballotine

chicken ballotine

today is mother’s day in singapore,10.5.2015
(it seems that in UK it was 15mar in 2015, must confess i never knew that!). we all sent greeting messages, and my friends were quite active on the group whatsapps. ^^
yesterday morning on our first day arriving in cornwall, we were blessed with glorious sunshine when we visited minack theatre & hiked a bit at porthcurno & porthgwarra, and later from sennen cove to land’s end.
this morning, weather was ok albeit not a bright sunny day, we managed to visit cape cornwall & botallack mines.
the gunnard's head

the gurnard’s head

after botallack, we decided to press on to the gurnard’s head.
my wife had been reading about the restaurant, and it turned out to be such an excellent mother’s day lunch experience.^^
sunday lunch menu

sunday lunch menu

 we had 1 of the best lunches in UK 2-course for £18.50. my wife said she would skip friday’s set lunch at Dinner (Heston Blumenthal’s Pellegrino 50 restaurant) as it is no better than this!
rye bread

rye bread

rye bread

rye bread

we had complimentary rye bread. the butter was very tasty.

for appetisers, wife ordered a chicken ballotine & i ordered a ham hock terrine.

chicken ballotine

chicken ballotine

chicken ballotine was excellent, light & fast with the sauce.^^

ham hock terrine

ham hock terrine

i was thinking ter kar tan (pig trotters jelly)! the ham hock terrine looked more like a luncheon meat or 镇江肴肉

this was quite excellent, very flavourful if robust. i was surprised that wife took a whole piece. & the sauce & sides were superb.

we were sharing the dishes, which was great as we each got to taste & enjoy the dishes w/o getting satiated with 1 portion. we were saying this was like a 4-course degustation lunch!

prime ribs with yorkshire pudding

prime ribs with yorkshire pudding

prime ribs with yorkshire pudding

for the mains we ordered the slow braised beef ribs, and the whole megrim sole.

beef was more like a prime rib or beef on a wagon. it was a good prime rib, but not the specialty standard of prime ribs at SCC (singapore cricket club). 🙂

the prime rib itself tasted pretty good. & the red wine sauce & condiments – chinese cabbage, potatoes, turnips & carrots etc were excellent too! i recall form my student days 30+years ago they used to match yorkshire pudding with roast beef, & we used to joke that roast beef was like paper – i.e. tough & tasteless. now with modern cuisine it was not just roast beef but a slow braised beef ribs preparation. 🙂

whole megrin sole

whole megrim sole

whole megrin sole

whole megrim sole

i had the whole megrim sole.

the fish was quite sublime, very tender & tasty!^^

i would say the sole was far better than the prime ribs, and for me much better also when compared with the very good hake & john dory we had last evening at tolacrne inn.

the food was excellent & wife was in very good spirits!^^

c.h.e.f andy

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Enjoyable Dinner at Il Lido on 12Apr2015

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

had delightful 2pax dinner with wife at il lido on 12.4.2015.^^

had not been to il lido like 5yrs maybe? recently daughter was here & shared photos on family whatsapp, so we decided to come try ourselves after so long. 🙂

il lido terrace

il lido terrace

il lido view

il lido view

il lido view

il lido view

we came just before sundown & sat outdoor. not so humid this evening & really pleasant terrace ambience & wonderful dinner.^^

amuse bouche 1= mushroom cappuccino

amuse bouche 1= mushroom cappuccino

amuse bouche 1= mushroom cappuccino

amuse bouche 1= mushroom cappuccino

we were served 2 amuse bouche.

first was a mushroom cappuccino/foam. there were mushroom bits at the bottom & some balsamic cream & some barley etc on top.  taste was intense, fabulous. texture combination excellent too.

wife said what the server liked to hear, that this was better than jaan’s.

for me though, nothing beats jaan’s cepes mushroom tea amuse bouche. but since jaan’s was taken out of feed at raffles, and i am never going to pay full price for the degustation dinner at jaan, this would be the next best thing, i guess! & its close too!^^

amuse bouche 2

amuse bouche 2

second amuse bouche – crispy cheese risotto…quite ok i guess, but no impressions vs the mushroom foam.

bread basket

bread basket

quite good bread basket.

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

we ordered a grilled octopus to share.

it’s pretty good really. octopus was tender (like sous vide). there were some sausages.

prawn & uni tagliolini

prawn & uni tagliolini

for the mains, we basically go with the restaurant favourites & there server’s recommendations, and ordered the scampi & sea urchin taglioni & the black cod, asparagus & sea urchin. both were featured in the degustation set menu. 🙂

prawn & uni tagliolini

prawn & uni tagliolini

prawn & uni tagliolini

prawn & uni tagliolini

the scampi & uni tagliolini was tasty, not intense but subtle & pleasing. tagliolini though was too soft NOT al dente.

it had expensive ingredients like uni but overall taste & experience wise, i would not consider it better than most pastas i do myself.

black cod

black cod

black cod

black cod

black cod was great!

will try the other signature dish, the bone marrow crusted angus beef tenderloin next time.

gelato & sorbet

gelato & sorbet

coconut gelato

coconut gelato

passion fruit sorbet

passion fruit sorbet

we had a passionfruit sorbet & a coconut gelato to share. sorbet was tangy & excellent, gelato no coconut flavours nothing like the delicious coconut ice cream on 雪中情怀mango pomelo dessert we had at tunglok.

dinner cost S$100nett include 1 glass of white.

it’s really quite excellent ambience & food for a couples dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Another Fabulous Degustation Dinner @ Jaan on 16Jun2014

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

had another wonderful degustation par excellence at jaan on 16.6.2014. 🙂

regretfully jaan is fully booked for the rest of the year for feed-at-raffles (FAR) discounts. looks like only mikuni & occasionally equinox & prego to  go to.

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

the new amuse bouche of beetroot macaron, an eel mousse, (can’t remember the last) plus the rye cracker with very good hummus was good, pleasant & quite fine, though no better than previous.

amuse bouche 2

amuse bouche 2 – cepe mushroom tea

the second amuse bouche, a cepe mushroom tea, was the best soup ever, so intense & flavourful & lingering. 🙂

#1 ocean - simply delicious!

#1 ocean – simply delicious!

#1 ocean - simply delicious!

#1 ocean – simply delicious!

# the ocean seafood composition was simply delicious! every item was excellent & there were so many – langoustine, oyster (yummy!), scallop, ikura (salmon roe), eel, caviar, another prawn. i could have this again! 🙂

#1 toast

#2 toast

not quite sure what the toast do? anyway a good toast.

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#2 zucchini, tomatoes, olive, burrata

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#2 zucchini, tomatoes, olive, burrata

#2 the zucchini trumbetta was nice, pleasant, refreshing, not quite a standout among so many excellent dishes.

64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico ham

#3 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo

64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico ham

#3 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo

64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico ham

#3 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo

#3 the 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo was quite a complete dining experience with the dry ice foam flowing down. the silky egg yolk added texture combination to the crispy iberico chorizo.

#4 foie gras

#4 foie gras

#4 the foie gras preparation/presentation had changed several times but texture wise quite the same. the inside was soft tender tasty. the outside though was different from the more caramelised preparation which we preferred.

monk fish, white asparagus

#5 monk fish, white asparagus

monk fish, white asparagus

#5 monk fish, white asparagus

#5 monk fish was pretty good – firm, bouncy. meat was slightly sweet. somehow all the monkfish i tried in singapore (& this was a better one) could not match the excellent sweet tasting monkfish ala plancha i had in barcelona’s bouqueria market & tapas restaurants. white asparagus was very good, very tasty & tender. 🙂

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 the hay roasted pigeon was as usual, nothing less than superb. the medium rare sous vide breast was the best. i couldn’t quite decide if amsterdam beulings’ quail was better or this. 🙂

the best dinner we had at jaan though was on 20.1.2014 where we had miyazaki beef in place of pigeon. 🙂

pre-dessert grape granite

pre-dessert grape granite

the grape granite palate cleanser was refreshingly good. 🙂

#7 choconuts - taste & texture

#7 choconuts – taste & texture

#7 choconuts was supposed to offer different temperature, texture & taste. i supposed it did & its a good dessert, but i thought some of the previous choconuts editions were distinctly better.

petit fours

petit fours

the petit four were good or competent for this level of restaurant, not a standout.

well, looks like i have to try the waiting list & see my luck play out.

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

 

The Best Dinner Degustation @ Jaan on 20Jan2014

seafood ceviche

seafood ceviche

of all my reviews thus far, this was the best dinner! 🙂

went to jaan on 20.1.2014 with a friend couple who are very close to my wife.  jaan has been always our favourite degustation restaurant. i had not intended to take photos as i had reviewed jaan when we dine here on 8.5.2013. the prestige menu (summer or winter) usually featured minimum changes, and so i missed out on the 2 amuse bouche photos. the first fingerfood bites platter was somewhat different with chicken samosa etc but the same crackers with humus dip. the second cepes mushroom tea, a very intense tasty soup, was largely the same – still the best soup i had. 🙂

the freshly baked bread basket came. i picked a brioche (a puffy highly enriched bread with nice crust) & a baguette. they did not have the previous truffle bread, which was brioche with truffle infusion.

when the first dish came – #1 a seafood ceviche – i decided to take photos. i had not paid attention to the prestige menu having assumed it had few changes. the ceviche was par excellence! well so many dishes were. 🙂 it was incredible – it had langoustine, caviar on top another prawn, scallop, oyster, ikura & crab meat. i could eat this again! 🙂

beetroot

beetroot “melody”

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toast to go with beetroot “melody”

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55min 60degC organic egg

55min 60degC egg

55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

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55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

roasted foie gras

roasted foie gras

#2 next was a beetroot melody thing – jelly, sorbet, some garnishes including cheese. there was some toast to go with it.

#3 the 55min 60degC  rosemary smoked organic egg with iberico chorizo & proscuito was same as before. i love the texture combination the egg yolk added to the dish & the savoury & slightly salty proscuito made it such a very enjoyable experience. a similar dish was served at au jardin for our recent new year eve dinner on 31.12.2013, and maybe this was something i could try out myself for my home dinners. 🙂

#4 there was no change to the roasted foie gras dish. my wife though preferred the caramelised pan-fried version, anyway she doesn’t take foie gras much these days. 🙂

brill

brill with crayfish foam

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

#5 the brill, an atlantic flatfish in the turbot family, came with crayfish foam. it was beautiful to look at, fine & exquisite in taste, but the texture of the brill was not my favourite.

#6 the menu prestige had pigeon as the second main, however 1 friend did not want pigeon so we asked the chef to substitute & requested for the miyazaki dry aged wagyu which was served on the 5-course menu. thanks to our friend, i tried miyazaki wagyu at jaan for the first time! it was fabulous! we were served a black sesame puree on the side, sounded odd, but tasted perfect with the wagyu.  although it is common for western steak cuts to be wet-aged or dry-aged, i have not seen this done for japanese wagyu. don’t know why but jap wagyu are so expensive, and already the flavour is very intense due to the high marbling, so perhaps not common to incur weight loss & intensify flavour further through ageing? anyway i was not complaining as the aged miyazaki wagyu was just exquisite! 🙂

pre dessert

pre-dessert

choconuts

choconuts

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we had a citrous pre-dessert, which had blood orange etc like a palate cleanser., very nice indeed.

#7 then it was the choconut – different temperatures of chocolates..good but no better than previous versions.

we ended with petit four & coffee/tea. it was such a wonderful dinner! 🙂

the entire degustation comprised 7 courses (4 appetisers, 2 mains & 1 dessert) PLUS 2 amuse bouche & 1 pre-dessert, so it was almost like a 10 course degustation.

every dish was great, many were superlative, and it was indeed an artisan cuisine, very pretty, fine & refine, utterly pleasurable.

c.h.e.f andy

Fabulous New Year Eve Dinner Degustation @ Au Jardin on 31Dec2013

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

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wanted to buy my wife a nice new year eve dinner, and saw the quite attractive menu in au jardin’s website, so decided to make a reservation for 2pax dinner on 31.12.2013.

we had couple of degustation dinners at au jardin many years back (my wife said 10 years ago). they were like 8-course priced at S$200pax  & were really good. i had considered trying the S$150pax table d’hote  (ie prix fixe)menu, but never did. subsequently, the regular menu did not look attractive as it does not today (ie 4-course at S$150pax), so i did not do dinner at au jardin but only occasional lunches (especially the recent maybank 1 for 1 promotion set lunch).

my wife & I generally have the practice not to dine out during public holidays, festive periods, mothers’ day etc as those occasions were very commercilaised & one often ended up paying through the nose (like 50% – 100% more) & getting poor food & poor service. anyhow for this new year eve dinner, au jardin served a 7-course+amuse bouche dinner at $198pax which was no difference in price from 10 years ago & far better menu than the regular S$150pax course menu, so the arrangement suited us fine.

i just wonder why they don’t do such menu regularly, especially when their business had not been good, and they are closing down by 31.3.2014 as a result of huge rental increase (& to me perhaps poor strategy & marketing). sign!

i do not rate au jardin degustation as better than the creative & excellent degustation at Jaan which cost only S$119pax after 50% feed at raffles discount, however one need a change of menu & environment, and most degus restaurants like iggy’s, gunthers etc are far more expensive. others like keystone & saint pierre are a little cheaper but not as fine, and private affairs had closed down.

wife ordered a red. it was expensive, 1/2 bottle for S$85++, but it was a grand cru classe & was really nice though i took maybe 30ml.

amuse bouche - foie gras terrine

amuse bouche – foie gras terrine

blue fin tuna ceviche

blue fin tuna ceviche

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

the 7-course dinner (+amuse bouche) came with 4 appetisers, 1 palate cleanser, 1 main, 1 dessert; as well as coffee & petit fours.

we had a warm bread basket. both the baguette & a raisin bread were good. the amuse bouche was a foie gras terrine with tobiko (flying fish roe) & jelly. this wasn’t exceptional & but still a great start to the evening dinner. 🙂

1st course was blue fin tuna ceviche with tobiko. it was nothing inventive, but very sweet & tasty.

the 2nd course, cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & sea urchin, was heavenly, par excellence. it way surpassed gordon grill’s (no comparison really as gordon grill’s was for a S$48pax lunch) & according to my wife likewise c/w gunther’s. 🙂

the 3rd course was a braised iberico pork cheek, with joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffle. sous vide low temperature poached egg is a regular feature in fine dining & i really loved the texture enhancement it gave to the dish, the proscuito was excellent, pork cheek so-so & i had already written about the excellent winter truffle here. 🙂

the 4th course was a lightly breaded dover sole served with razor clam & clam emulsion. the dover sole was ok, tender, i guess considered good in a good restaurant, but really average dish by comparison to other courses. the razor clam was great. 🙂

palate cleanser - watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

palate cleanser – watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

next we had the palate cleanser – a watermelon confit with sorbet & lime jelly. it was good.

the grilled wagyu striploin MBS5 rare (top photo & second above) was excellent. this was much better than what i did at home. it was done rare & yet totally charred (for maillard reaction that gave flavour to the beef) & served with carrot & root vegetables and a tiny piece of black garlic. superb! 🙂

for dessert, we had pistachio cake with raspberry sorbet. the cake was bland but when taken together with the slightly sour sorbet, it was good. 🙂

my cappuccino was great. the petit fours though was miserable (same as they served for set lunches). mini macarons were too sweet, chocolate was ok.

overall we had an excellent evening of food, wine & conversation. Jaan’s degustation gave far better value.nevertheless i enjoyed this dinner very much & would come back but regrettably they do not serve this in their regular menu. i may consider trying ala carte or their course menu. not sure for now!

happy new year everyone!

happy new year everyone!

and before signing off, happy new year 2014 to all my friends, readers & everyone!

c.h.e.f. andy

Esquina Degustation Did Not Happen/Other Restaurant Promotions

6 of us had planned to go to esquina to try out the dinner tasting menu. the menu items (including beef tartar, beetroot salad, kingfish sashimi, scallop ceviche etc) & gallery photos from esquina website had looked awfully exciting & most alluring. 🙂

esquina is a tapas bar, sister of Pollen at Marina Bay by Jason Atherton who had worked with Gordon Ramsay in his restaurants including Maze in London for 10 years & received 1 michelin star within 6months of starting out Pollen Street Social at Mayfair London.

i called & emailed esquina to make a reservation for 6pax on a friday. there was no reply to the email (does not look like i will get a reply). when i called to reserve a table for 6pax, the person who answered said they do not take reservations as theirs is a walk-in tapas bar with counter seats.  i told him it was kind of difficult for me to arrange for 6pax to come and try out a S$95 tasting menu if we could not get a confirmed reservation & we have to eat at the counter trying to have conversation among the 6 of us. i asked for the manager and he replied that he was the manager, and the name was Ashburn when i asked for his name. he said perhaps we could be seated outside, so i asked if i could make a reservation for the outside table if there was one. he replied that he would check with the chef & revert to me. he never did – perhaps he was too busy or had misplaced my handphone number haha. 🙂

i decided to google hungrygowhere & tripadvisor (i had earlier saw 1 or 2 good reviews of esquina by bloggers before deciding to try out esquina with my friends). i must say that the majority of the reviews & comments were actually favourable. there was one that stood out rather ominously for us=Waited 1.5 hours for a table and food. Walked out. Scary! 

  • The biggest inconsistency I’ve found with Esquina is the service. I’ve visited 3 times and on the first occasion the service was horrendous. Rude and unaccommodating…. I guess it was stress from the busy Friday night

a second review helped me drop the idea altogether.  A great buzz and original tapas was actually an overall favourable review & i guess quite balanced as it included the not so good parts as well. the only reason i extracted the above was not to highlight the bad part but just that it was immediately relevant to our specific needs as we were going on a friday evening. 🙂

many things are a matter of matching expectations. the restaurant is probably right. if they are positioned as a walk-in tapas bar, and if that is well received by patrons, then they probably got it right. having introduced a 9-course tasting menu (& from the gallery photos a rather exciting array of dishes) perhaps to please its regular supporters & to introduce new patrons to its tapas dishes, whether they should extend the service to include a proper table degustation with full service experience is of course something for the restaurant to decide. 🙂

so it would be that the venue & setting are just NOT matching the needs for our dinner get-together – in the end, food is not everything & we cannot trust every food photo…if service & ambience are not right then the experience is not quite there..(will have to try esquina another time)..

i found though a few other restaurant promotions so giving an update here-

  1. sichuandouhua at Parkroyal has a second anniversary celebration Suckling Pig Feast set at S$288 for 6pax (& S$48.80pax) until 31.7.2013, with added 20% discount for UOB cards.
  2. Oso has a amex 5-course set dinner at S$78 (usual S$98) until 31.12.2013.
  3. Xin Cusine has continued the very good set i reviewed here=S$118 1 for 1 Lobster & Abalaone Set until 18.8.2013.
  4. Azmaya is still offering its 50% discount for wagyu/pork shabu shabu & now sukiyaki (S$45pax & S$50 respectively after discount) all-you-can-eat shabu shabu for the month of sep2013 (updated on 14.9.2013)

well, for this friday, we will be going to sichuandouhua. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Degustation Dinner at My Favourite Restaurant @ Jaan on 8May2013

prawn cannelloni on crustacean jelly decorated with ikura & topped with oscietra cavier

prawn cannelloni on crustacean jelly decorated with ikura & topped with oscietra cavier

recent update = the-best-dinner-degustation-jaan-on-20jan2014

dinner at Jaan has always been a most enjoyable experience. we used to go Jaan quite a lot when Andre Chiang first arrived, and while we enjoyed his degustation dinners we liked his ala carte menu even more. 🙂

when Andre left (predictably) to set up his own restaurant & some swedish chef joined Jaan, we had given it a miss for most part of 1+ years, but somehow managed to rediscover Jaan a year+ ago when it was helmed by Julien Royer, the young current Jaan Chef, and we liked his degustation menu just as much now. 🙂

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7-course Menu Prestige

The Menu Prestige was a 7-course affair. as usual there were 2 great to super & very substantial amuse bouche, as well as a pre-dessert, so it was no less a 10-course meal. 🙂

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the first amuse bouche was 3 small items – a rye cracker with a very nice hummus dip, another cracker & a wonderful eel with jelly stick & croquette.

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the second amuse bouche was a cepes mushroom tea. this was truly sublime with such intense flavours & the best soup I had ever taken anywhere. 🙂 the bread basket came at this point as they baked them fresh. 🙂 I had truffle bread (very nice) and sour dough.

the FIRST course was prawn cannelloni on crustacean jelly decorated with ikura & topped with oscietra cavier. this was wonderful in taste as it was a beautiful picture to behold (see top photo).  I did though find the jelly just a little bit salty.

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the SECOND course was a 55min (at 60degC) rosemary smoked organic egg with iberico chorizo. It had wonderful smoked rosemary flavour. the texture & flavour combination of a very smooth, somewhat sticky egg yoke with savoury chorizo was excellent.

bread & butter crusted Norwegian scallop with pumpkin puree

bread & butter crusted Norwegian scallop with pumpkin puree

THIRD course was a bread & butter crusted Norwegian scallop with pumpkin puree, a great dish. the scallop meat was very sweet & totally consistent – looked like it was sous vide (vacuum low temperature cooking) then deep-fried.

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next, the FOURTH course was pan seared foie gras in 3 large bite-size pieces topped with strawberries & a very good fish broth or dashi stock – this was somewhat new variation to the usual caramelised version & it was easy to eat too with a spoon. 🙂

confit atlantic turbot with squid, grilled leek

confit atlantic turbot with squid, grilled leek

the first Main –  the FIFTH course was an excellent confit atlantic turbot with squid, grilled leek. they called it confit here but they were all sous vide to produce the very excellent consistency & sweetness. My wife liked this very much. I was a bit undecided as while it was good I might actually have preferred a good pan-seared version of this great fish. 🙂

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hay roasted bresse pigeon confit leg with barley & morel mushrooms

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the second Main – the SIXTH course – was hay-roasted bresse pigeon confit leg with barley & morel mushrooms. I had always loved this dish, very sweet & tender both the breast & leg. again, it was sous vide then hay roasted. the barley was excellent touch. 🙂

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very nice pre-dessert sorbet palate cleanser

this was followed by a very nice pre-dessert sorbet palate cleanser.

choconuts version 4 - different flavours of chocolates

choconuts version 4 – different flavours of chocolates

the SEVENTH & last course was a choconuts version 4 – different flavours of chocolates. every version at Jaan was good, basically it was just re-decoration of the same items but showing off the chef artistic plating skills. 🙂

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coffee was served with petite 4 – marshmallows, nutty chocolate, a rock melon sorbet stick, and a rosemary infused profitero lollipop.

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Jaan the restaurant – we had a window seat great view

we managed to get window seat for the evening. the view was great! MBS, Esplanade, the Flyer – very enchanting skyline. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy