Chef Jean-Michel Lorain only comes to J’AIME three times a year. Last month, he brought back a French degustation 8-course dinner using seasonal wild mushrooms including Alba white truffles. This exclusive mushroom dinner by Chef Jean-Michel Lorain brought gastronomes a lot of surprises and further affirms his well-deserved honour as a 3-Michelin starred Chef.
We have visited J’AIME before in daytime and reported their renowned upside-down concept in its decoration. At night time, J’AIME exhibits its elegant charm through the illumination of gentle blue light that subtly suggests stylish dining ambience.
Warm aromatic bread was served to us throughout the dinner. For bread lovers, it is really irresistible. I did not succeed in saying no to the delicious bread at all. When the server came with a full basket of aromatic bread, my bread plate was always ready to get one more piece.
(1) Frothy cream of frog’s legs with wild mushrooms and asparagus
I wish you won’t feel offended when you see ‘frog’s legs’ in the menu and turn down the chance to taste this flavourful soup. If I hide the menu from you, I am confident that you will never be able to name the kind of meat it is. The most surprising part is the use of the foam to hide the most delicious ingredient in this soup – the morel mushroom. Its rare fragrance filled my nostril and further pushed the aroma and taste of the soup to another level. Besides, its unique texture added wonders to this foamy soup! I was impressed.
Appetizers were served with the concept of sharing – a marvellous ‘upside-down’ concept that Chef Jean-Michel Lorain brings to conventional French dining. It is a clever manipulation of East and West, which successfully innovates formal French dining experience, and makes French dining less stiff and more acceptable among Asians.
There were three dishes for appetizers:
(2) Porcini and foie gras salad
(3) Jerusalem artichokes and porcini espuma
(4) Beef carpaccio, porcini and aged parmesan
The appetizers featured wild porcini whose savory flavour and mesmerizing taste made a rich addition to each of the appetizers. Although same kind of mushroom was used in each dish, it tasted quite differently because of the brilliant use of ingredients and culinary techniques that made each appetizer distinctive.
When all the appetizers were artistically placed on the lazy Susan, my epicurean genes were stimulated with excitement! Which one should I start first?
Porcini and foie gras salad:
No extra sauce was needed. The earthy flavour of porcini gave extra flavour to the pan-seared foie gras.
Beef carpaccio, porcini and aged parmesan:
The taste of the thinly sliced and pounded beef blended perfectly with aged parmesan and porcini, making it a light palatable appetizer.
Jerusalem artichokes and porcini espuma:
Jerusalem artichoke is not from Jeursalem at all, it is a kind of root vegetables that tastes nutty, sweet and crunchy. The mushroom foam gave a light texture to this flavoursome dish. A very nice appetizer!
(5) Chanterelle-crusted Turbot with chestnut mousseline and verjus sauce
This dish tatooed “Chef Jean-Michel Lorain” in my heart, I was totally amazed at his outstanding culinary skills. The unique taste of chanterelle, which is mildly peppery with soft fruity aroma, made ‘new skin’ to the fish and brilliantly added extra flavour to it. With the strong aroma of chestnut, this dish was full of diverse texture and tastes.
The turbot was cooked just right, not a single second overcooked! A very outstanding dish!
(6) 64 °C Egg with lentil salad and cream served with parsley spume and Alba white truffles
This dish may look very simple to you, but it is indeed not the case. As its name suggests, the egg was cooked at 64 °C – a slow poaching skill that requires patience and accuracy of timing and temperature. To me, this dish is very interesting, an ordinary ingredient (egg) was matched with one of the most precious kinds of mushroom in the world – Alba white truffles. The intricate white marbling throughout the Alba truffle produced an aroma and flavour that was wonderfully intoxicating. Amazingly, they were very well-matched, and this dish also interestingly presented the theory of relativity in cuisine.
(7) Fillet of Vension “Opera” style served with black trumpet mushrooms and spaghetti squash
Vension, which is a kind of meat with game, was cooked so perfectly that every single bite of it melt in my mouth with high satisfaction. It was tender and succulent without game. The taste of black trumpet mushroom blended very well with other ingredients in this dish, making this dish so unforgettable.
(8) Hazelnut fondant with mushrooms salad and coriander sorbet
This dessert was another incredible dish. Not only the plating of it contributed to a delightful sight excitement, the aroma of hazelnut filled your nostrils that made your mouth water. Besides, I am pretty sure no one (except chefs) will ever think of using mushrooms in a dessert. Every bite of the fondant contained finely chopped mushrooms. I have never tried a mushroom dessert before, but this one put me in awe! Another surprise is the coriander sorbet, I have never thought that coriander can make such a refreshing sorbet. When spooning a bite of hazelnut fondant and coriander sorbet into my mouth, all I wanted to do was to order one more dish of it! It was heavenly delicious and ended my dinner perfectly.
You may feel regretful if you missed the chance to experience Chef Jean-Michel Lorain’s culinary skills. No worry, he will come back again in January 2016 and brings another surprise to all foodies in town. We are looking forward to another surprise, and we are sure, this time, you will join us to experience all amazing, delectable dishes prepared by a truly professional, passionate Chef.
J’AIME by Chef Jean-Michel Lorain is highly recommended to you all.