FINDING JOIE IN MEAT-FREE CUISINE
I often emphasise to my patients and friends alike, that all of us must eat healthily and take time to relax your mind. Even on a post-hectic, post-work evening, you can still achieve this – eat a healthily, hearty meatless meal and relax your soul with a night sky view. Do this at Joie, appropriately pronounced as “joy”, the latest gastronomic choice that sits atop the 12th floor of the Orchard Central rooftop.
Joie serves a fanfare of meat-free cuisine, inspired by a recent trending of gourmet from both Asia and Europe. At long last, you can dine with a healthy conscience in an opulent setting, and Joie is set to alter our perception of meatless cuisine. At Joie, there is a highlight of gustatory set lunch and dinner menu — you have a choice of a six-course lunch ($38.80++) or seven-course dinner ($68.80++), which comprise contemporary offerings with Japanese-European twists. And of course, there is always a choice of a la carte menu available.
To start, Joie serves you a palate cleanser – the Passion Fruit Sorbet smoothie served alongside the amuse-bouche. This is a must in any gustatory experience, as you would expect diversity of flavours coming in shortly. It is such a refreshingly sweet and piquant concoction of fruits that I almost thought that it was actually dessert, served paradoxically at the beginning of my dining experience.
For the first course, the Mushroom Gratin – button mushrooms sautéed in herb garlic butter smothered over with a crisp of creamy mozzarella cheekily served in an escargot plate with Tennessee heirloom potato puree and caramelised Belgian endive on the side. As you can already guess, there is a European feel to it – this starter has somehow triggered a fleeting nostalgia of my trip to France some years back.
Alternatively, if you prefer a more Asian flavour, the steamed Matsutake Sponge Cake using the prized Japanese mushroom is a treat with its light and fluffy cake texture paired with rosemary gelée, golden enoki mushroom tempura for crunch and a touch of vanilla-scented cream. This starter should be tasted in the order of the vanilla-scented cream, then the mushroom tempura and finally the sponge cake – this will allow the lingering flavours in your palate to mix.
Then for the second course, you have a choice of vegetable of fruit. The Spring Vegetable Terrine, while not strictly a terrine in traditional terms, the assorted vegetables of aubergines, carrots, mushrooms and peppers are layered in a loaf mould, gelled together using vegetable broth. Served with pistachio crumble and parmesan crisps, the marinated vegetables pair well with the garlic-onion emulsion on the side.
Should you prefer a fruity course, you may opt for the Rubik’s Cube Salad which comprises compressed red and yellow watermelon, cubed mint gelée and feta cheese which are intricately stacked to resemble its namesake, Rubik’s Cube. This creative dish is paired with a balsamic glaze, to enhance the sweet tasting palate of the fruits and feta cheese.
The third course consists of soup in either Asian or European guise. The Snow Pear and Napa Cabbage Consommé is presented elegantly on a Chinese tea tray with a clay teapot filled with a robust-flavoured double-boiled vegetable stock that is poured over a tender poached baby pear and Chinese almonds; light and comforting with every spoonful. This one, I loved – the experience of pouring the tea elegantly into its accompanying bowl and then tasting the nutritious double-boiled soup, made me feel so at home.
The Tomato Broth with Garbanzo Beans is equally heart-warming with a mix of al-dente Orzo pasta and garbanzo beans crowned with a spinach dumpling in a tangy, herbaceous tomato-based broth. This rendition of an Euro-Asian soup resembles having dim sum, accompanied by an anti-oxidant-Vitamin-E-rich Italian soup.
The final savoury part of the dining experience presented us with 3 choices. Firstly. the Baby Garden Root Vegetables of sous-vide carrots, potatoes, caramelised onions and sweet golden baby beetroots air-flown from Holland nestled in fragrant truffle mash and drizzled with horseradish butter garlic sauce. Definitely a healthy choice!
My personal favourite was the Wild Rice, a deceptively simple dish of perfectly-sautéed wild rice with crunchy mixed vegetables such as carrots, baby radish and haricot verts. Despite its simple, played-down name, its presentation and the taste were impeccable! The wild rice were sautéed with such perfection that its fragrance was outstanding, and this was enhanced with their textures of crunchiness that left me wanting for more.
With an Asian-Italian flavour, the Trio of Spheres which includes a creamy butternut pumpkin risotto ball with curry mayonnaise, a crispy fried mozzarella cheese ball coated with panko crumbs, and a flaky puff pastry stuffed with fresh wild mushroom, onion and truffle – all these should be eaten in this order. You may notice that this savoury dish is served over a custom-made plate with a hand-painted, edible golden embellishment.
I was thoroughly impressed with the last presentation by Joie. To end on a sweet note, Joie rolls out the guéridon trolley stacked high with an assortment of desserts from macarons, mini tarts and candy – you can choose a choice of five sweet picks (and secretly wish that they would give you all of them) as well as a drink.
Joie has a wide selection of teas, coffee and refreshing mocktails such as Joie’s Rose Coffee with aromatic rose syrup; Hot Roselle Rhythm of age 3 of 3 Roselle flowers, citrus peel and herbs; and Ice Mallow Apple Melody of mallow flowers in apple and guava juice.
Be bold and try Joie, you will surely be enthralled by their inventive creations of natural fare of the freshest vegetables, fruits and herbs. Diners can choose a seat along the plush leather-quilted banquette, luxurious velvet armchairs or at no additional cost, one of the six private rooms which seats four to sixteen people.
Joie is at 181 Orchard Road, #12-01 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896 (enter via 11th Floor escalator). For reservation, please call +65 6838 6966. For more information, please visit joierestaurant.com.sg.