jaan – a landmark
One of the landmarks of the Singapore skyline is Swissôtel The Stamford. When it was originally built as The Westin Stamford Singapore in 1986, it was the world’s tallest hotel building. In 2002, the hotel was sold and was renamed into Swissôtel The Stamford. Till today, it is one of the highest hotel towers in Southeast Asia. It is on the 70th floor of this hotel that Jaan was opened in 2001 as a French fine dining restaurant. The 40 seats restaurant got its name from the ancient Sanscrit word for bowl. Main attraction factor at that time was the breathtaking view that guests could enjoy during lunch or dinner. Since its opening, different chefs have been heading the kitchen of Jaan. It was definitely during the time that Andre Chiang was behind the stove, and the restaurant was called Jaan par Andre, that it went through its biggest evolution and at that moment, the basis for the present international reputation of Jaan was built.
Chef de Cuisine today is United Kingdom born Kirk Westaway. He became interested in cooking at the age of thirteen, while being a dishwasher in a local restaurant. When one day, he was all of a sudden asked to take over the salad section, he got impressed by the team work in a professional kitchen and decided to pursue a future in cooking. During his three years at Exeter Catering College, he did a two months internship in Manoir de Lan Kerellec in France. This experience has been one of the most influential in his career. During the early years of his career, he worked in several restaurants across the globe, of which Pattersons and The Greenhouse in the UK are the most important ones. He also travelled in South America and worked a few months in DOM in Brazil. It was around that time that he was contacted by Julien Royer. The chefs knew each other from the time they worked together in The Greenhouse. Royer, who was the chef of Jaan at that time, needed a new sous chef and invited Westaway to become part of his team in Singapore. When Julien Royer decided to leave Jaan in July 2015 to lead a new restaurant project in Singapore, Westaway, who had been sous chef for three and a half years, was given the opportunity to become chef de cuisine.
He describes his cooking style as modern food cooked classically. Focus is on the products and dishes tend to be light and delicate. Westaway calls it ‘feminine food’. He wants the people he is cooking for, to enjoy all the flavours on the plate without giving them the feeling that they are stuffed. Favourite products of the chef are vegetables and that is very clear in the dishes he is proposing. Even though mainly classic cooking techniques are used, almost every dish also features spheres, espumas, foams or other contemporary accents. They are mainly applied to enhance the visual experience, and add a modern accent to the plate, without taking the attention away from the impeccable products that are casted for the leading role. The chef uses sous vide quite often to give the right texture to meat, but he prefers to finish the meat in a pan on the fire, in order to keep control in his hands at all times. From a food pairing perspective, he mainly sticks to traditional combinations, which work well. Products are mainly sourced from Europe and Japan at this moment. However, it is the ambition of the chef to further expand the list of suppliers to other continents.
Jaan has built a solid reputation in the region. Since the moment Andre Chiang put the restaurant on the map, international recognition has increased significantly and this has also continued under the previous chef. In that sense, Westaway has a big challenge and a strong name to defend. During our visits just after he took over from Julien Royer, he was still serving the signature dishes of his predecessor. In the meanwhile he is introducing several new dishes to the menu and putting his own stamp on the food. His cooking style is not that different from the previous chefs and most probably this is also one of the reasons why he was given the opportunity to become chef de cuisine. Based on the new creations that we tasted, we are convinced that Swissôtel made the right choice and that continuity is guaranteed. If chef Westaway can keep his cooking consistently up to this level and succeeds to introduce new dishes regularly, the solid reputation of Jaan is secure. During one of our visits, the service team seemed to be a bit distracted, but in general the service is professional and smooth, and perfectly adapted to what you can expect in a contemporary fine dining restaurant.
The great contemporary food of Chef Westaway in combination with the stunning views of the Singapore skyline, make Jaan a destination that should not be missed, whether you live in Singapore or you visit the city as a tourist.
Jaan scored 85 points of 100 points in our rating system. View our Top 60 of the world. Back to the reviews.
Level 70, Equinox Complex
2 Stamford Road
Phone: +65 6837 3322