Food Review: Full Circle By J.man Restaurant, Leng Kee Road | Progressive Asian Cuisine By Chef Jay Teo In Redhill
The Place Located along Leng Kee Road, Full Circle by J.man is a relatively under-the-radar restaurant near Redhill MRT Station in a building which was formerly Thye Hong Biscuit confectionary factory, now Thye Hong Centre. Full Circle by J.man is a semi-fine dining restaurant which serves Progressive Asian Cuisine by Chef Jay Teo who was previously head chef of the now-defunct Cheek by Jowl and Cheek Bistro.
The interior of the restaurant spots a minimalist vibe in earthy and woody tones, denominated by a counter tabletop seating and a few regular tables for various party sizes. It is quite an intimate and cosy setting, just few units from Yi Qian Private Dining.
The Food There are only set menus here where the 5-course lunch menu is at S$98++ while the 5-course dinner menu is at S$168++ per person. Do note that the dinner menu also comes with additional snacks and petit fours, which is not part of the lunch menu. Full Wine Pairing goes at S$128++ per person while an Abridged Pairing is at S$88++.
I had the 5-course dinner menu and my dinner started with a series of Snacks. The Cured Mackerel is a refreshing start with a cucumber base.
I then moved on to the ‘Lap Cheong’ Croquette which spots a contrasting warm texture after the cured mackerel. You get a tinge of ‘lap cheong’ flavour here.
The third snack is the Smoked Chicken Cigar. I like this cigar idea, not that I consume cigar, but I do get that strong smokiness of the chicken which is lovely.
The ‘Char Siew’ Tartlet next is easily my favourite snack. Filled with Iberico Char Siew, the crispy tart is delicious and the char siew itself is extremely flavourful.
The last snack is the Blue Swimmer Crab Broth, where the taste of the soup is quite close to Thai tom yum soup.
A different type of bread course, the Oyster Bread is a pretty interesting take on ‘Fuzhou Bing’, which reminds me of Taiwanese street snack. The espuma bread here is stuffed with Irish oyster, served warm, where the texture of the bread is quite airy.
The first course proper is the Hokkaido Scallop, a mix of water chestnut, ginger flower and jicama. A take on rojak where you mix it all up together, it is a refreshing dish to start where I especially love the element of the torched ginger flower and lime sorbet.
The second course is the Obsiblue Prawn from France. You get the prawns served in two ways – a largely raw presentation of the prawn which is largely unseasoned which is only possible if the prawn is very fresh, and it was. It is served with bamboo shoot, coconut sauce, and tamarind.
Separately, you get a fried prawn head. I am usually not a fan of prawn head as the taste can be too overwhelming for me, but this fried prawn head is delicious. Fried to a nice golden brown texture, you get a crispy texture and the best way to have it is to dip it into the sauce as well.
The third course is the Australian Quail done two ways – Quail Breast with angelica root and a tempura fried quail seasoned with barbecue sauce. I am not the biggest fan of quail meat but surprisingly, I do enjoy this dish.
The quail breast is surprisingly tender and flavourful, while the fried quail is very well-seasoned which gives it a good flavour. Served with barley risotto with mushroom, the risotto spots an al dente texture and helps to balance the flavour of the quail.
This is an additional course on the dinner menu where I had the Red Snapper (supplement of S$28). I love the laksa rempah element with the fish, a very familiar Singaporean flavour which is punchy enough and it elevates the flavour of the snapper. The snapper is topped with toasted coconut crumbs, which adds another layer of texture to the fish.
The accompanying pomelo salad by the side helps to cut through the rich laksa rempah flavour and is a good complement to the fish.
Next up was the Duroc Pork Belly served with lettuce, similar to Korean-style way of wrapping the meat in the lettuce. It is served with coriander pesto and fish sauce caramel by the side. The best way to enjoy the tender pork belly is to wrap it in the lettuce and add the two sauces as well. I love the punchy coriander pesto which goes really well with the pork and lettuce. The pork belly has almost an equal proportion of fatty and lean meat, and it can come across as too fatty for some. Overall, a very well-balanced flavour profile from the sauces and pork belly.
Munch on the accompanying pickles to cleanse your palate.
Next up was a Palate Cleanser – a refreshing and sour mix of lemon juice, chrysanthemum jelly and goji berries.
For dessert, I had the Parfait which is anything but ordinary. Imagine porcini parfait topped with sesame and burnt pear, with a miso ice cream by the side. The combination sounds very savoury and weird initially, but it works well for me surprisingly. I love mushrooms, so the porcini element is a pleasant surprise for me where the mushroom flavour is pronounced. Similarly, the miso ice cream is a delight to have where you get that intense miso taste, a very interesting one for me.
Last but not least, Sweet Endings come in the form of Petit Fours where I had the 9-spice Madeleine with a black vinegar glaze and a Kaya Toast meringue. The latter is really good and tastes so much like the real deal – the cream is blended with butter and kaya, while the meringue texture is similar to that of an actual bread toast.
Rants There is not much action from the kitchen even if you sit at the counter seats, unlike other restaurants where you can watch the chefs at work. Note that there is also no private dining room.
Will I Return Again? I enjoyed my meal at Full Circle where every course is a surprise for me in terms of flavour. You get a range of Asian elements in each course, and it is definitely not just Singaporean elements. Full Circle is one underrated new restaurant in Singapore this year in my opinion and it is definitely worth heading down for a good time.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservations instantly at Full Circle by J.man here.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
Full Circle by J.man
2 Leng Kee Road, #01-05
Tel: +65 8031 0141
Tuesday: 6pm to 10:30pm
Wednesday to Saturday: 12pm to 2:30pm; 6pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Monday & Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter