When I saw a Janice Wong Dessert Bar in the heart of Tokyo right outside Shinjuku Station, there was a huge sense of pride. ”LOOK! Janice Wong opened a shop here. WOW.”
”Janice who?”, my friend wasn’t that sure.
Well, JANICE WONG… Asia’s Best Pastry Chef for 2013 and 2014, Pastry Chef of the Year from the World Gourmet Summit Awards, nicknamed the Dessert Queen, owner of 2am:dessertbar.
Known to combined art and food, influenced by the works of Ferran Adrià and Grant Achatz, she is one of Singapore’s most talented pastry chef, with her dessert bars found in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Despite all her achievements at a young age, I suspect that her works fascinates a specific group of audience in Singapore (which is fine really), and therefore she has a less widespread appeal compared to other more-recognizable local celebrity chefs.
She is driven, humble and really down-to-earth.
And I observed her taking time to serve customers at the new restaurant, sincerely explaining about the dishes when questioned.
This flagship Janice Wong Restaurant Bar is located at the iconic National Museum of Singapore.
However, some may be mistaken that the restaurant is at National Gallery (they are two very different places by the way), because there was a misprint in the press invite (gwa gwa).
Spanning over 1500 square feet, it is a 40-seater with an ice cream counter and sweets retail shop.
Instead of focusing on just desserts, the restaurant offers a Mod-Chinese savoury menu done in collaboration with “dim sum expert” Chef Ma Jian Jun – her co-owner of the book “Dim Sum: A Flour-Forward Approach To Traditional Favorites And Contemporary Creations”
Both the Lunch and Dinner Degustation sets are surprisingly at a friendly price-point. The 3-course Lunch at $28, while the 5 course Dinner is priced at $68.
The Mini Pots ($15) which is a basket of three Siew Mai, is NOTHING like what you see in a typical dim sum restaurant.
Each coming in a dual psychedelic coloured skin, with fillings of Portobello rosemary, shrimp, and scallop, topped with vegetarian or olive oil caviar.
Janice thought that the focus of dim sum had always been on the fillings, and wanted to use a variety of flours to highlight the skin.
While costing about three times more than an average basket outside, each ‘playful’ piece tasted both intriguing and delectable, with my favourite being the vegetarian Portobello. Juicy textured with a memorable-rich flavor.
Accompanying dipping sauces were provided, though I thought they were unnecessary it would steal the distinctive taste of the siew mai.
On the flipside, I wished that the other dim sum, namely the Hot Explosion XLB with Truffle Cheese Chicken, and Whimsical Buns with Liquid Egg had thinner, more delicate skins.
Both noodles I tried were somehow the weakest links.
Don’t get me wrong, both the Corn Noodles ($16) and BlackRed Duple Noodles ($18) won in terms of their soup bases. But the noodles were limpy and lacked the springiness, and somehow didn’t gel well with the rest of the ingredients.
Desserts are still the strength, and worth looking forward to.
The Chocolate Praline Poprocks Cake ($19) was a demonstration of the play of textures, fudgy chocolately dense on a bite, with peanut-butter like spread with pops on the other.
One of the highlights to try is the Cassis Plum ($24), inspired by the Japanese Cherry Blossom, the very dessert used in MasterChef Australia to test the contestants.
Tthe sphere is made by aerated Blackcurrant and white chocolate filled with Elderflower Choya Shiso Foam, and sits on a bed of Choya Shiso Granita with Kochi Yuzu Pearls and Blackcurrant Pastel.
Looking like a spring-time fruit, and tasting sweetly-dark like concentrated grapes.
Going to Janice Wong Singapore is perhaps like entering a food-meets-art gallery. Some pieces will draw you immediately, some you may walk past, while there are those which will leave a deep impression. And we should be proud.
Janice Wong Singapore
93 Stamford Road, National Museum Singapore, 01-06, Singapore 178897
Tel: +65 9712 5338
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm, last order 10:30pm (Mon – Thurs),
11am – 1am, last order 12:30am (Fri – Sat),
11am – 6pm, last order 5pm (Sun)