Most often, vegetarian restaurants are perceived as being simple, homogenous and plain boring with menu-items of nothing more than salads and wraps. This was until I was introduced to Joie by Dozo in Singapore for a lunch date.
Located in the heart of the shopping district in Orchard Road, Joie serves a 6-course lunch and 7-course dinner priced at S$38.80++ and S$68.80++ respectively, consisting of contemporary dishes with Japanese-European influences and flavours.
With expectations running high, we grabbed the menus and made our selections for the 6-course lunch. Joie offers a variety of at least four options per course and the service staff were more than helpful in providing us with recommendations and a comprehensive description of each dish.
Lunch began with a complimentary side of pasta sticks and a refreshing passion fruit sorbet, beautifully presented, to cleanse our palates.
Our first course started with with the Chef’s Selection of Assorted Platter. From the left, you have the raspberry sphere with pistachio cracker, carrot sashimi and cracker with wasabi mayo. The highlight here was the carrot sashimi, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference this and salmon sashimi. Tasted just like the real thing!
Next up, for our side dish, we had the Gratinated Champignon with Mozzarella – button mushrooms served with potato puree and Belgian endive and focaccia. The dish came served in an escargot plate, some humour there. The melted and stringy cheese went well with the mushrooms. Tempura platter, drizzled with gold flakes and served on a bed of pumpkin mash was our other side dish, accompanied with sesame sauce. Now, before you ask why is the tempura batter black, its because of the mix of charcoal powder in the tempura flour. Definitely a novelty and a first for me! In terms of taste, it was good but lacked the woah-factor.
In our third course for soups, we had the Infusion of Cepes and Truffle – cepes mushrooms with white winter truffle oil and black truffles pieces. Without being overpowering, the truffles provided just the right flavour to the soup. I was left wanting for more…And we also had the Pumpkin Veloute. Smooth, creamy and packed with flavourful goodness!
Finally, time for our mains! First-up, we had the Truffle Risotto wth edamamme, mascarpone cream and parmesan crisp. Beautifully executed! We couldn’t get enough of this.
Our next main was the Duo Ravioli Platter with Truffle Foam.Pumpkin and spinach ravioli doused in basil cream sauce and topped with flower emulsion. Like every other ravioli dish, I was afraid it was going to be too heavy and creamy but it was surprising light and a delight.
And the final main dish was the Grilled Summer Mushroom Steak on “Pu-Ye” Hot Stone. What a presentation!! Loved it on first sight. The fried mushroom fan, absolutely crispy. You can choose to keep your mushroom steak on the hot stone longer if you want it more charred. The mushroom was juicy and nothing like I’ve tasted before. My dining partners disagree. They found the taste similar to that of mock meat or soya.
Fifth course, time for some desserts! We selected the Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream, Truffle Creme Brulee (because we just hadn’t had enough of truffles yet) and the Liquid Chocolate. The desserts were nothing out of the extraordinary. They were yummy and pleasing to the taste buds.
Finally, the last course, the drinks to cleanse our palates. We had the Iced Rose Lemon Tea (with dried rose buds) and Mocktail of Love.
The presentation at Joie by Dozo is immpeccable. You can see the effort and creativity that has been put into each dish brought out to the table; meticulous attention to detail. It definitely debunks the myth that vegetarain food has to be boring. We were completely in awe of the presentation and quality of food that we almost forgot that we were having a meatless dining experienced. No one missed the meat, for sure! We were pleasantly surprised and looking forward to our next trip to Joie!