This restaurant-bar had us at Chicken in a Biscuit.
Like the first page of a good book, the first dish you taste in a restaurant is often the clincher. Will it be enticing enough for the diner to eat on? At Jam at Siri House, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
Chicken in a Biscuit ($12), a chicken fat cookie with spiced cream cheese and crispy chicken skin, reels us in with its unabashed savouriness. Executive chef Tan Huang Ming—co-founder of Park Bench Deli and previous head chef of Lolla—spends hours rendering the chicken skin until it’s golden and crisp, being careful not to burn it. Though the process is arduous, he thinks the final result is well worth the effort for the “intense chicken punch to the face” it gives. We couldn’t agree more.
Here, we should backtrack a little to say that the restaurant & bar is a part of a larger entity that is Siri House, a showroom-gallery-workshop space by Thai luxury property developer Sansiri. Entering the space feels like walking into a stylish home. Just as in a house party scenario, drinks from a bar cart are offered the minute you arrive, and you think nothing of moseying up to kitchen counter to see what’s cooking.
Where flavour’s the only compass
When chef Ming says his cuisine is not limited by geography, we imagine treading on a barren terrain, anticipating flavour bombs as we go. After Chicken in a Biscuit’s opening assault, the next dish continues a similar line of fire. Spicy potatoes ($16) elevates Hasselback potatoes with exquisite execution—the potatoes are fluffy like fresh snow on the inside, and crisp on the outside. Mala mayo, beef lardons and parmesan pile on the flavour without adding on the grease.
The Hokkaido scallop carpaccio with yuzu and truffle dressing, trout roe and kizami kombu ($30) on the other hand, is more of a stealth attack from left field. The thick-cut wild hand-dived Hokkaido scallops are sweet and have a burgeoning savouriness as you tuck into them.
We might have seen the next flavour bomb coming with chef Ming’s remark that junior sous chef Wei Ling’s confidence in handmade pastas grew after her stint at Gramercy Tavern, New York. Or when we see her carefully preparing elements of the dish. But we are still caught unawares when we taste the handmade pappardelle with crustacean sauce, pan-roasted tiger prawns and mussels ($33). On the plate, every element, from the silkiness of the sheets of pasta, to the delicate texture and bite of the prawn, is perfectly calibrated.
Just as delicious is the seared Chilean seabass fillet with asari clams, mushroom dashi ($38) topped with chilli, ginger and coriander. This Cantonese-influenced dish, spearheaded by head chef Leo Pang, comes with a crisp skin and tender meat that has just the right amount of give as you bite down into it together with a good spoonful of rich broth.
When it’s time for dessert, we’re still thinking about the mains, but sweet endings complete the meal in delicate renditions such as pavlova made with meringue, mandarin-yuzu curd, sour cream ice cream and fresh citrus ($17) and the Calvados caramelised apples with brown sugar oat crumble and clove ice cream ($17).
For drinks throughout the meal, the beverage programme curated by Mark Tay, Jam at Siri House’s beverage director and co-founder of Sunday Punch, will have you spoilt for choice. Go with more drinks from the bar cart, wines, sakes, beers or one of head bartender Kavinn Raaj’s craft cocktails. If you’re up for some creative concoctions, try the maize runner ($25), consisting of bourbon and a housemade roasted coconut distillate, peanut froth and corn salt rim. Or go for the melting port ($24), a blend of dark rum, white port and housemade burnt butter syrup if you’d rather sip on dessert.