Her eyes, gleams with hope and love; her heart of gold, pumps with zeal and affection; the charitable efforts that portray her selfless love for the less privileged, tug on my heartstrings so emotionally.
Joy Mahbubani, Managing Director of J’s Restaurant, is a passionate and determined lady, who has survived the distressingly rocky road of being a single mom, has fought with death when she was taken ill 9 years ago, and has overcome ordeals of hardship and grief that an average Singaporean can hardly fathom. While many restaurateurs are driven by money, Joy derives simple pleasures from giving back to society.
There are no short of dining options along Purvis Street, but this under-the-radar and often-overlooked eatery distinguishes itself with its widely-varied classic Latin American influenced food, inspired by Joy’s travels through South America.
Step into the interior of vibrancy and warmth –it’s nothing pretentious or overly ornate. The comfortable and soothing vibe makes you want to dawdle longer –and if you decide to, there are board games and scrabble that you can occupy yourselves with.
The Upper Room’ on the second floor is available for events and parties.
Specially concocted for the non-alcoholic menu, J’s Mocktails include Frozen Lime Mexicana, Cuban Mint and Puerto Rican Colada, priced at $8 per glass.
It’s a brave step to take, abolishing alcoholic beverages from the menu, but fun does not always revolve around booze. J’s restaurant caters to a wider demographic, where all races can dine heartily together.
Healthy smoothies include Mango Tango, Mexican Berry, Cool Carribean Mango, El Mango Colada and Havana Strawberry Lemonade, all priced at $8 each.
Salmon Salad (Mixed garden greens with seared salmon and mango; $18)
J’s Restaurant strictly abides by its ‘No Pork, No Lard’ principle.
Though still in the midst of obtaining a Halal certification, the team – including two Muslim chefs – would go to great lengths to ensure that all foods meet the Islamic dietary standards.
(EDIT) J’s Restaurant is now Halal Certified by MUIS (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura)!
Enchiladas (Soft corn tortillas filled with vegetable ragout and cheese served with cilantro rice; $19)
The Enchiladas is vegetarian food made yummy, so much so that even a veggie-hater like myself couldn’t stop reaching for it.
Catering to most palates, the menu is easily customisable, accommodating to vegetarians and those with special dietary requests. Vegetarians and meat-lovers can dine satisfyingly together, in consensus with the venue.
J’s Restaurant works closely with a vegetarian society to obtain cheese that comprises no animal protein.
Chipotle Meatballs (Braised beef meatballs in spicy chipotle and tomato sauce with crispy corn tortillas; $16)
While still retaining the Latin-American influence, a touch of Modern European refinement brings complexity and creativity to the table.
Chipotle meatballs accompanied by crispy corn tortillas; this highly irresistible starter provides you with piquancy, creaminess, juiciness, meatiness and crispness, ample to bewitch your taste buds.
Poppers (Breaded “jalapeno” peppers stuffed with mozzarella; $15)
The Poppers are completely enjoyable, boasting a great balance of crisp, juiciness and creaminess, coupled with an appetising peppery zing. This is a personal favourite.
Scrambled Eggs with Salmon (Gently scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on toast; $19)
The Scrambled Eggs with Salmon scores high points in both the presentation and taste departments. Apart from the effortlessly satisfying balance of taste and textures, the creamy and comforting scrambled eggs left me wanting more.
Quesadillas (Tortilla filled with chicken breast or minced beef, cheese, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno and guacamole; $20 for chicken/$22 for beef)
“Adobo” Chicken (Braised chicken cooked “adobo” served with warm tortillas; $28)
As for mains, the “Adobo” Chicken comes highly recommended. Chicken is braised till tender perfection, well infused with robust flavours.
Wipe up the gravy with the accompanying tortillas so as not to let the deliciousness go to waste.
Braised Lamb Shank (Braised lamb shanks with heirloom vegetables and potato colcannon; $32)
The Braised Lamb Shank is another high-scorer in the flavour department, also fall-off-the-bone tender. The richly flavoured gravy cleverly masks the gamey odour that’s often associated with lamb, without being overpoweringly rich.
Churros with Bananas & Mangoes (Churros, salted caramel bananas, fresh mangoes and coconut infused marscaporne sabayon; $10)
Creativity and artistry continues at the dessert section, surprising you every step of the way.
Bocas Negras (Flourless chocolate cake served with triple chocolate gelato; $12)
Accompanying the guilt-free flourless chocolate cake and the alluring triple chocolate gelato, the citrus-infused foam steals the show, bursting with a refreshing flavour that lingers on your palate.
Lychee Espuma (Lychee mousse with fresh passion fruit and almond tuilles; $11)
If you’re feeling stuffed to the brim, this light, airy and refreshing dessert makes for the perfection conclusion to the meal.
Bread & Butter Pudding (Baked brioche with milk, eggs, white chocolate, walnut and peaches served with vanilla gelato; $10)
If you still have space in your stomach, I highly recommend the Bread & Butter Pudding. Utterly moist and comforting, this is one unique rendition of bread and butter pudding that incorporates atypical ingredients such as white chocolate, walnut and peaches.
7, Purvis Street, #01-01