The La Balade du Végétal Découverte tasting menu at Restaurant JAG is a gastronomic adventure featuring seasonal autumn produce.
Chef Jeremy Gillon ambles over halfway through our meal.
“How’s the food so far?” the big, hulking French chef of Restaurant JAG asks us.
“Oui, chef. Magnifique!” our table of four reply.
We couldn’t say anything else. After all, Chef Jeremy probably has torn many a beef carcass apart with those massive hands of his. It would have been too easy crushing our windpipes with them.
But we didn’t have to lie; the food was that good. And Chef Jeremy is really a gentle giant. One who thankfully prefers to put those big hands to better use in the kitchen. Just watch him intently and skilfully plate up dishes with his chef’s tweezers using those bear paws – it’s quite the sight to behold.
We were at Restaurant JAG to sample its seasonal autumn découverte menu – the La Balade du Végétal. For those not familiar with the contemporary French restaurant, it first burst onto Singapore’s ultra-competitive gastronomy scene in 2019 with its own brand of author’s cuisine. Chef Jeremy’s unerring focus on seasonal produce and the use of herbs from Savoie, France impressed so much it landed him a Michelin star within the year.
Each quarter Chef Jeremy would source some of the best seasonal produce to grace his restaurant. It’s autumn this time, so he’s proudly showcasing the bounty of fall. A medley of mushrooms. Chestnut. Jerusalem artichoke. Fennel. Root vegetables of all shapes and sizes – kohlrabi, celeriac, sweet potato, and pumpkin, among others. Fruits as well, such as quince and kumquat.
And, of course, his signature wild foraged Savoie herbs.
It’s a total of 17 courses, a gastronomic journey through the different phases of autumn with its attendant flavours.
There’s pumpkin, presented in two forms. It comes as pumpkin juice that’s livened up with some tangy vinegar and burnt lemon berce oil, as well as a sphere of pumpkin. The latter is an utter play on texture – pureed pumpkin, pumpkin crumble, and even glazed with gelatinised pumpkin. There’s sweet potato too, offered up as a tartlet also of different textures.
The celeriac, when it arrived, was scrumptious. Pickled grain mustard accentuated the sweetness of pureed and shaved slivers of celeriac. On the side, a biscuit sandwiching salsify puree scented with lemon thyme.
A chestnut course too featured the nut in different forms – pureed, as a fricasse, as well as a foam.
There’s a lot of puree.
Jerusalem artichoke arrived as a silky veloute. Verveine oil and coconut foam provided a beautiful aroma, while crushed linseed, tiny croutons and artichoke crisps afforded bite. We lick up every drop.
The list goes on. Kohlrabi was served with seabream, while another course featured a mushrooms in a myriad of ways – pickled, as stock, as a quenelle of ice cream, and even a sable – that was altogether nutty and earthy. Our main course was tender venison, served with a cannelloni made from parsley root.
Chef Jeremy is clearly a master at his art. He interprets and dissects ingredients with careful precision, and then reassembling components for optimum flavour and texture. By the end of the meal I wasn’t so much as impressed as the freshness of the fall ingredients as how this Savoie native can coax the subtle flavour and textural nuances – with those big hands – out of each ingredient that go into his dish.
The browns, golds and yellows of autumn never tasted this good.
The La Balade du Végétal Découverte autumn dinner tasting menu at Restaurant JAG – consisting 17 expressions of dinner experience with proteins costs S$338++ per guest (S$278++ for vegetarian option), with wine pairing at an addendum of S$248++ per guest. The Promenade du Végétal autumn lunch tasting menu consisting 14 courses costs S$228++ per guest (S$178++ for vegetarian option), with wine pairing at an addendum of S$158++ per guest.
Address 76 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089535 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 6pm to 10.30pm Tuesdays to Thursdays; 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 12.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays
Tel (65) 3138 8477