Restaurant Jag at Duxton, a French fine-dining restaurant, is helmed by chef-owner Jeremy Gillion whose resume includes ME@OUE restaurant, the defunct Audace, and the defunct Michelin-starred L’Epicurien in the French Alps. Gillion brings with him 40 indigenous herbs from Savoie, a mountainous region in the southeast of France. He uses them in his garnishes, vinegars, syrups, and as seasonings. The 3-course set lunch starts from $58++ and the dinner set from $98++, although you may also order a la carte. For the purpose of this review, we ordered the 5-course set lunch at $98++.
The amuse-bouche, I have always thought, is an afterthought or leftovers from last night’s dinner. But here, it is rather exquisite: a mackerel cured in-house, paired with white wine jelly; two slivers of onion, one pickled in raspberry vinaigrette and one in white wine vinaigrette; and mustard seeds. Fantastic flavours that dance around the tongue.
With the amuse-bouche comes the free bread. Usually I think talking about free bread is boliao but here, the bread comes with a citrus butter, salted butter, and a herb butter from asperule odorante which has a musky taste that I cannot take to.
The first course is a smoked eel with slices of smoked foie gras, smoked eel cream, roasted buckwheat, and sorrel sorbet. It’s fantastic, with a great contrast of temperatures from the sorbet. It is the first time I am eating smoked foie gras which is usually pan-seared. Its texture is similar to smoked salmon, and it maintains its buttery character. Altogether, the dish is an umami triumph.
The second course–a grilled banana shallot with a crispy banana shallot, white clams, burnt walnut, and two types of seaweed on a bed of chestnut puree–is a wondrous kaleidoscope of flavours: pungent, nutty, umami, sweet, and salt from the sea of the clams. Fantastic, and might be even better than the first course.
The third, a fish course, consists of two parts of Brittany talbot–one from the belly, so fat it’s gelatinous–combined with olive soil, ham, cucumber, verbena herb, and kale. While this dish is rather nice, especially the texture of the talbot belly, the bitterness of kale may overpower it.
The beef heart is cured for 12 hours then grilled, and has a strange smoothness, as smooth as a Korean pretty boy’s face. It’s paired with three different textures of daikon, braised, pickled, and raw, giving this dish a Japanese feel. The dish also has anchovy power, aubepine herb, and beef jus with anchovy oil. Squid ink polenta, as a carb, comes by the side. It is a pretty innovative spin from the usual steak by using the heart, but the unnatural smoothness of the heart is a little strange.
The dessert is a textures of pumpkin: juice, shavings, and pumpkin panna cotta. With argousier meringue and menthe sauvage herb. Very good textures and flavours. No complaints here.
Including two flutes of champagne at $28 each, we paid $296 for two persons. Although I think the 40 herbs are a gimmick because they don’t add much to the flavours of the dishes, the combination of the ingredients is refreshing and interesting. Innovating different textures out of the same ingredient is a motif that runs throughout the courses; this innovation cuts costs for the restaurant and creates a distinct style for the food. On the whole, this is a great meal. We highly recommend it.
76 Duxton Rd Singapore 089535
M-F: 12-2pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Sat: 6pm-10.30pm
You may be interested in…
–Atout, Dempsey: New French Restaurant Serving Les Bistrot Du Sommelier 2.0
–Lerouy, Stanley Street: Modern French Cuisine is the New Black and White
–The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar Singapore: 3 Michelin-Starred Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Condescending Service, & Everything But the Signature Dishes
–Beni, Mandarin Gallery: I’ve Eaten at ALL the Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Singapore!
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.