One of my favourite restaurants in Singapore, Restaurant JAG, recently launched its Autumn menu. I tried the new menu in December 2020, and my dinner was definitely one of my highlights of 2020. The seasonal menu showcases autumnal vegetables – often in the form of different textures within one course – alongside their signature spotlight on wild-foraged herbs handpicked from regions of the French Alps.
For the uninitiated, the Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant is set within a cosy shophouse along Duxton Road. The dining area and open kitchen occupy the ground floor level, while an intimate bar and lounge area on the second level serves exciting tipples from bar concept IBHQ. Helmed by French chef Jeremy Gillon and co-owner Anant Tyagi, whose first names feature in the titular “JAG” which stands for “Jeremy Anant Gastronomy”, the restaurant is known for how they conceptualise dishes based primarily on vegetable and herb pairings before incorporating the protein complement. This dish creation strategy means the restaurant is usually able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and special requests from diners. While most of the vegetables are imported from France, the team does source some fresh ingredients locally, such as the langoustine featured in the Autumn menu. Four and six courses are available during lunch (Fridays and Saturdays) while dinner consists of eight courses (Tuesday to Saturday).
During your Restaurant JAG journey, alpine herbs such as angelique and ortie enjoy a loving spotlight – a Jeremy Gillon signature. Aside from being used in the dishes themselves, jars of the herbs deployed in the day’s menu are presented during the course of your meal for your educational seeing and sniffing purposes. More interestingly, these herbs also exist in bottled spirit form for your libation pleasure if you wish to pair your meal with something edgy and novel as opposed to the usual wine arrangements (which are of course very much available, with several bottles exclusive to Restaurant JAG). I must say I am positively obsessed with the beguilingly aromatic sapinette, which plays it all coniferous forest luxury in a glass.
The season’s autumnal lineup features vegetables such as parsnip, carrots, brussels sprouts and pumpkin paired with herbs such as origan, berce, verveine and hysope respectively, with the protein element (if any) seemingly increasing in size as the evening progresses. Things kickstarted on a promising note with the amuse bouche Textures of Corn, Sage, where charred corn kernels and powdered popcorn revel in a warm, comforting veloute. An early highlight is the Chestnut, Soucis, Uni, essentially a rich chestnut puree topped with creamy umami sea urchin, with chunks of diced water chestnut (an unexpected inclusion in a Western dish) offering spurts of juicy refreshment. Another notable dish was the Sunchoke, Agastache, Arctic Char, where the interestingly-named, silky cod-like fish is assisted by a crunchy hazelnut nuttiness and paired with different textures of Jerusalem artichoke. The closing course, Quince, Melilot, Calamansi Bâches, brought the meal to a tart, refreshing end.
My favourite dish of the night was the Beetroot, Sapin, Langouste, and it was probably one of the few dishes of the menu in which the protein managed to artfully steer focus from the central vegetable/herb liaison. The lightly seared and memorably sweet langouste seemed to defy conventional states of matter, straddling the thin boundary between aburi and sashimi, while elsewhere on the plate, the earthiness of beetroot is juxtaposed with the indulgent salinity of ostrecia caviar and a pleasurable haziness from the smoked cream.
Overall, the experience was very refreshing, with notable divergences from the usual fine dining experiences in Singapore. Whilst undeniably still a formal setting, the service was unusually warm and welcoming, and the way the exotic herbs are weaved into the overall dining narrative and how the vegetables are showcased in unexpected ways make the Restaurant JAG experience fairly one of a kind.
Restaurant JAG Singapore
76 Duxton Road
Singapore 089 535
Reservations, takeaways and delivery inquiries can be made at +65 3138 8477.