Crew Eats: The team at JAAN by Kirk Westaway share their go-to places for a bite

  • Ever wondered where the staff at your favourite food and beverage haunts dine outside of work?
  • We have and we asked, so you don’t have to. In this instalment of Crew Eats, we reach out to the team at the modern British restaurant JAAN by Kirk Westaway which is presently helmed by the British chef. We hear not just where Chef Westaway likes to eat, but also staff in both the front and back of houses.
Restaurant interior of JAAN by Kirk Westaway boasts a majestic panoramic view of the CBD. (Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)
Restaurant interior of JAAN by Kirk Westaway boasts a majestic panoramic view of the CBD. (Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

At JAAN by Kirk Westaway, a majestic panoramic view of Singapore’s central business district (CBD) greets the eye. Located 70 storeys above the ground at Swissôtel The Stamford, the internationally celebrated restaurant also boasts an impressive collection of accolades, including two Michelin stars in 2021, ranking 42nd in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2021, and one Michelin star in 2020. 

Restaurant interior of JAAN by Kirk Westaway boasts a majestic panoramic view of the CBD. (Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

For the uninitiated, JAAN started out as a French restaurant in 2001, during when Chef Andre Chiang was behind the stove. Chef Julien Royer of the three-Michelin-starred Odette took over the helm in 2011 but when he left in 2015, he handed the reins of JAAN over to his protégé Kirk Westaway. 

In an interview with Timeout Singapore, Chef Westaway confessed that the pressure to perform well was insurmountable. “Now, the boy from Devon is going to take over – English boy, good luck. He’s going to be a disaster. Jaan’s going to fail,” he said, before cutting off all contacts with the world to focus on his craft over the span of six months. 

Left: Executive chef Kirk Westaway; Right: Scottish Lobster with Hipsy Cabbage and Brown Butter. (Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

Chef Westaway’s philosophy, as it turns out, is all about showcasing British cuisine in a modern and innovative manner, or as he says ‘Reinventing British’. He does so by spotlighting seasonal produce or traditional British fares. Take for instance the Hens Egg with Barbecued Celeriac and Black Truffle, which is a refreshed interpretation of the classic British eggs and soldiers dish that has been imbued with a deeper and smokier flavour. Under his direction, JAAN by Kirk Westaway is Asia’s only modern British restaurant and has earned high praises from diners and critics alike. 

Given the unpredictable and challenging year the food and beverage industry went through during the pandemic, receiving not one, but two Michelin stars (the restaurant’s and Mr Westaway’s first) this year was an unexpected surprise for the team at JAAN. The executive chef says: “The second star was admittedly a very appreciated affirmation. It is a testament of not only the team’s hard work and dedication, but also our enduring commitment to putting a definitive mark on modern British cuisine.”

In this series of Crew Eats, we hear from Kirk Westaway, executive chef of JAAN; head chef Ng Guo Lun, senior sommelier Tan Chuan Ann, assistant manager Rashelle Bantolina, and restaurant executives Dorothy Ling and Steven Lee about their favourite dining haunts.

Kirk Westaway, Executive Chef at JAAN by Kirk Westaway

Hailing from Devon in South West England, Kirk Westaway has been working as a chef in Singapore for nearly a decade. (Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

Executive chef Kirk Westaway will be celebrating his 10-year anniversary under the hospitality hotel group Accor this coming December. He says: “A big part of what keeps me going over the last decade is my team. They are incredibly passionate, talented and hardworking and there is a familial spirit, even amidst the intensity of the restaurant environment.”  

Chef Westaway says the restaurant scene is dynamic and ever-changing, making it “difficult to pinpoint a favourite restaurant”. And yet, in his quest to unearth new food establishments, he found sustainability-focused restaurant Kausmo a delight to visit. “(Kausmo) embraces a progressive culinary philosophy that bucks the practice of aesthetic filtering by using ‘imperfect’ produce that are typically discarded,” Chef Westaway says. In fact, the restaurant is helmed by JAAN alumni member Lisa Tang.

According to Chef Westaway, dishes at Kausmo are thoughtfully curated using ethically sourced ingredients and, thus, “full of character”. He adds: “What’s arresting is how Lisa intently elevates ‘unattractive’ ingredients with finesse to provoke thought and embody a meaningful perspective.”

Kausmo

Address

1 Scotts Road, #03 – 07, Singapore 228208

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Sunday: 6.30pm – 10.30pm

Closed on Monday

Ng Guo Lun, Head Chef

(Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

Like Candlenut’s chef-owner Malcolm Tan, JAAN’s head chef Ng Guo Lun enjoys dining out at the acclaimed tze char (Hokkein for stir fry) restaurant Keng Eng Kee Seafood. “I was fortunate enough to befriend the owners during a work trip and have been patronising their restaurant ever since,” says the Singaporean father of two. 

Chef Ng adds: “Keng Eng Kee seafood is renowned for its Chilli Crab, Silky Moonlight Hor Fun, and my personal favourite, Coffee Pork Ribs. The pork ribs are deep-fried and glazed with a roasted coffee caramel, giving it a bitter and sweet taste that’s to die for.”  

(Photo courtesy of Ng Guo Lun)

Keng Eng Kee Seafood 

Address

124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-136, Singapore 150124

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 11.30am – 2pm; 5pm – 10pm

Rashelle Bantolina, Assistant Manager

(Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

Assistant manager Rashelle Bantolina frequents the hawker centre near her home with her husband. The 32-year-old Filipina professes her love for hokkien mee, or fried prawn noodles, cooked by a local hawker at Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market. Highlighting how she likes her hokkien mee tangy, she would often get extra servings of lime with it. “Ever since my husband recommended it to me, I’ve been hooked! In fact, the stall owner recognises me too!” she says.

On what piqued her interest in the dish, Ms Bantolina praises its umami-filled profile that pairs well with the tartness of the lime, while the crunch from the pork lard is extremely addictive too. She adds: “The hawker is also very generous with his portions too.”

Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market

Address

2 Bukit Panjang Ring Road, Singapore 679947

Opening Hours

Monday – Sunday: 6am – 10pm

Tan Chuan Ann, Senior Sommelier

(Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

A former sommelier at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, Mr Tan Chuan Ann is JAAN’s senior sommelier. An adventurous soul, the 33-year-old Malaysian would traverse the sunny island in search of good food and unorthodox culinary experiences. The self-professed lor mee lover recommends dining at his go-to haunt is the award-winning hawker Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee at Old Airport Road Food Centre. Mr Tan says: “Its lor mee features a rich gravy that is balanced with vinegar and spices. It also stands out from the rest because it offers hand-peeled fish as a topping. It’s a must-eat in my books!”    

(Photo courtesy of Tan Chuan Ann)

Old Airport Road Food Centre

Address

51 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390051

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 6am – 11pm

Dorothy Ling, Restaurant Executive

(Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

Originally from Sarawak in northwestern Malaysia, restaurant executive Dorothy Ling is looking forward to returning home when the much-anticipated vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Singapore and Malaysia opens. Like many Malaysians who are unable to return home due to the pandemic’s restriction, Ms Ling often feels homesick. Her way of coping? Sarawakian dishes at Shi Wei Tian Coffeeshop at Kaki Bukit — from Sarawak laksa,  which contains no curry but a tart and spicy soup base made using sambal belacan, galangal, lemongrass, and assam (sour tamarind)  to kolo mee. The 29-year-old recommends first-timers to try the stall’s kampua mee, a variant of kolo mee that comes with straight noodle strands instead of its curly twin. She adds: “It is a flavourful dish that is lightly seasoned with a mixture of shallot oil, soy sauce and pork lard. To me, that is the ultimate comfort food that truly reminds me of home!”     

(Photo courtesy of Dorothy Ling)

Shi Wei Tian Coffeeshop

Address

31 Kaki Bukit Road 3, Singapore 417818

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday: 6.30am – 6.30pm

Saturday: 12am – 3.30pm 

Closed on Sundays

Steven Lee, Restaurant Executive

(Photo courtesy of JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

As someone who occasionally works into the wee hours, restaurant executive Steven Lee knows a thing or two about the best supper spots in town. One of his favourites is Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant, which is located on the outskirts of the CBD along Outram Road. With close to two decades of history, the tze char restaurant sees eager patrons making a beeline from a little after half-past six in the evening. “(Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant) was recommended to me by Chef Kirk,” Mr Lee says. “The food and service are top-notch, making Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant a repeatable experience. Furthermore, it opens till late, which is perfect for those who work in the F&B industry!”

(Photo courtesy of Steven Lee)

Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant

Address

239 Outram Road, Singapore 169042

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 5pm – 3am

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