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JAAN restaurant London
The restaurant at Swissôtel The Howard
Executive chef Nam Nguyen, chef de cuisine Tom Thomsen

Added on May 1, 2012 at 14:43 Giza Pyramids tme
Swissôtel The Howard and its restaurant have definitively been closed in September 2011. According to Eva-Maria Panzer, Director Communication Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts, the owning company will convert the hotel structure into a residential and office building.

Article added on June 2, last update June 21, 2004

JAAN Restaurant at swissôtel The Howard, London is a Raffles signature restaurant. Inspired by modern French cuisine and Royal Khmer flavours and scents, JAAN restaurant offers a combination of European and Asian cuisine, either European cooking techniques enhanced by some Asian ingredients or Asian cooking techniques combined with European touches.

The team in the kitchen comprises Australian chef Paul Peters, Danish chef de cuisine Tom Thomsen and two sous-chefs from Singapore, who had previously worked together for Les Amis group in Singapore.

The cuisine at JAAN Restaurant in London is light, spiced up especially with herbs. The chefs use no alcohol and very little butter. They import herbs and spices such as sawmint, coriander and laksa leaves as well as vegetables and fish sauces from Asia, mainly from Thailand and Cambodia. Other ingredients and influences come from China and Japan. Only the finest local and seasonal produce is used.

The staple ingredients of Khmer cuisine include river fish, rice as well as vegetables enhanced with pepper, coconut and lime. According to chef de cuisine Tom Thomsen, ginger, lemon grass and coriander are other ingredients used in the simple, spicy, but nonetheless refined Cambodian cuisine. 

At JAAN, there are always three vegetarian dishes on the menu, which changes four times a year according to the season. The lunch menu changes monthly. For frequent guests, the team at JAAN invent specific dishes, and they are of course open to special guest requests.

Among the classics served at JAAN in London are pan fried scallops with laksa, the five spice pork belly, which combines Chinese and European cuisine, and Gravadlax, salmon with spices, a Danish dish, but prepared with Asian spices.

JAAN offers wine pairings with excellent choices for all dishes on the à la carte menu, selected by sommelier Nicolas Bertrand, who of course also suggests wines for all other occasions.

JAAN overlooks the peaceful courtyard garden created by Mark Gregory, where, in the warm periods of the year, the guests can enjoy their drinks and meals. The chairs in the restaurant are draped in pure silk, with the colors changing according to the season. The culinary presentation is contemporary and minimalist.

A vegetarian dinner at JAAN Restaurant 
Tested in January 2004

The dinner at JAAN Restaurant started light with an excellent sweet and sour combination of a (sweet) tomato and (sour) green tea soup, which already set the tone for the gentle fusion of East and West. In addition, I tasted a lukewarm watermelon in a sweet soya and balsamic vinegar (actually a vinegar cream) sauce, a simple but refined combination. By the way, at JAAN you always get several types of bread as an appetizer; I particularly remember one with walnuts and sultanas.

My next dish was asparagus with a sweet pumpkin mousseline, a great classic served together with a French Sancerre "Porte de Caillou". Through the entire evening, the wine pairings proved to be excellent choices, both for me as well as for my guest, who was offered a Riesling "Kesseler" 2002 from the German Rheingau.  An unusual sweet and sour intermediate course followed, consisting of a sweet granite of pink grapefruit, seasoned with a few sour curry leaves, accompanied by a vegetarian laksa seasoned with coriander.

The main course was wild mushroom linguini with truffle. The key ingredient was the truffles, which gave the otherwise sparingly seasoned dish the flavor it needed. It was accompanied by a "Chardonnay Huia" from New Zealand. For once an entirely European affair.

With the desserts, Tom Thomsen's team continued to surprise with creative dishes. I first chose a tapioca with sweet potato, accompanied by three delicious sorbets, passion fruit, coriander syrup and coconut. The suggested wine was a sweet "Gewürztraminer" from the Alsace, a typical dessert wine. To round off the evening, I opted for a Crème Brûlée. This dessert is always the test of a good pâtissier - and the team around Tom Thomsen brilliantly passed it with a vanilla crème brûlée with banana and green tea purée, served together with a lemon-thyme sorbet (I could not resist) and a "Riesling Auslese", one of my favorite German wines.

JAAN restaurant offers evenings to remember for guests open to the unusual but successful and creative fusion of the culinary traditions of the West and the Far East.

Biography of executive chef of Paul Peters
Paul Peters was born in Australia in 1973, where he studied at the East Sydney Technical College to get his Certificate of Commercial Cookery.
In the year 2000 he came to the United Kingdom to work in the Hospitality Industry where  he joined the AA 3 Rossette Lygon Arms Hotel (Savoy Group) in the Costwolds. He then  moved to the MPW Brasseie in London to gain experience as a Junior Sous Chef.
From March 2001 to April 2003 he worked at Raffles Brown's Hotel as a Sous Chef in the famous "1837" restaurant which was voted the best hotel restaurant by Time Out magazine.
Previously to joining JAAN Paul was Executive Chef at the Millenium Hotel in Knightsbridge in the award winning "Mju Restaurant".
Chef de cuisine Tom Thomsen

Born in the Danish countryside in 1975, Tom Thomsen began training to become a chef in 1994 in Copenhagen, where he worked until 2001. That year, he moved to Singapore. As sous-chef, he worked together with Nam Nguyen and other Asian chefs in the Les Amis group. In 2003, he joined JAAN restaurant in London as chef de cuisine.

JAAN restaurant. Photo © swissôtel The Howard, London.

Executive chef Paul Peters. Photo © swissôtel The Howard, London.

The garden, where you can eat, drink or just chill out in summer.
Photo © swissôtel The Howard, London.

The Temple Bar. Photo © swissôtel The Howard, London.