By: Amy Greenburg
181 Orchard Road, #12-01 Orchard Central
Located in Orchard Central’s rooftop garden, new vegetarian eatery Joie (pronounced “joy”) offers beautifully plated, Japanese-inspired European fare in a contemporary-chic setting (think plush velvet armchairs and dark grey damask-print walls) with great views.
The restaurant’s set-menu-only concept sure makes things easy, and allows for sampling lots of innovative dishes – try the six-course lunch ($38.80) or the seven-course dinner ($68.80), choosing from four or five options per course. Each meal starts with a palate cleanser – a refreshing passionfruit sorbet smoothie when we visited – followed by the first appetiser course. The highlight of these was the gratinated champignon with mozzarella: garlic-sautéed button mushrooms covered in a crisp mozzarella layer and served in an escargot plate.
Second- and third-course standouts include the zucchini tower, stuffed with cream cheese and truffle mayo, atop a medallion of puff pastry with shaved Parmesan, and the tomato and garbanzo soup with orzo pasta and a spinach dumpling.
Don’t miss the polenta castle, a main course of pan-seared polenta cake, tempura-crusted tofu, tomato, broccolini and eggplant ratatouille – delish!
Your “sweet ending” is left to the discretion of executive chef Sherwin Sim, but will most likely include a selection of mini-macarons, tiramisu and Black Forest cake from the table-side cart. Last but not least in this delicious (and filling!) meal is your choice of one of seven “potions”, including iced rose lemon tea, hot lavender tea, a bright purple-hued iced fruity refresher and the mocktail of love, a sugary cranberry, orange and pineapple concoction. Pure joy, indeed.