Here’s a little secret – I often skip my evening snack when I’m looking forward to a sumptuous dinner. After all, what use is a great meal if you can’t do justice to it? That’s how I came to be at Joss, Santacruz with a rumbling tummy and a roaring appetite.
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The artfully lit-up interiors won me over instantly. Great evening ambience is all about an inspired interplay of lights and shadows and Joss does an excellent job. As I slid into my chair at one of the tables lined against the wall next to the entrance, I had a distinct feeling of being somewhere special. The feeling intensified as perfectly dressed customers walked in at regular intervals, speaking in hushed tones as the elite are wont to do.
Dining at Joss is an intimate experience and the low volume lounge music enables great conversations despite the considerable distance between both sides of a table.
A cocktail in a cigar pipe
Our smiling server (really, I wonder how he managed to have a sunny disposition throughout!) approached to seat us, offer us water and then the menu.
Prepare to be thoroughly pampered when you arrive at Joss and leave all those bourgeoisie self-help tendencies far behind.
The host recommended their ‘smoking cosmopolitan’ cocktail (Rs 450) for me while my friend decided to go with trusty Teacher’s Highland Cream (RS 250).
The cocktail was a work of art – a bubbling pink concoction encased in a cigar pipe made of glass, topped off with swirls of white fumes. And it certainly wasn’t all looks and no taste.
The cosmopolitan was among the best I’ve had, with delicious notes of berry and a generous dash of potent vodka.
The host had recommended an assortment of new vegetarian sushi on the menu and they began arriving at our table soon after. The wait time between dishes was longer than average but we weren’t complaining – we were happy to extend our time at Joss.
Sushi with crunch
The pair of chopsticks beside my table luckily had regular cutlery for company. I wasn’t about to embarrass myself by toying with those contraptions in such an elegant setting. So I happily cut into my Vegas Roll (Rs 850), topped with crunchy corn tempura and sank into my seat with satisfaction. The combination of avocado and furikake sprinkle made this sushi quite delightful. Of the three new vegetarian sushi on the menu, this one was my favourite.
I also enjoyed the TNT Roll (Rs 870) with spiced edamame, avocado, ‘bidi bomb’ carrot and onion tempura.
Tempura is such an integral component of vegetarian sushi – especially for those of us who need some change of texture with all that rice and seaweed.
While I personally preferred the Qi Roll (Rs 820) the least, it is a great combination of ‘power greens’, shitake mushroom and smoked mayo. Altogether, the sushi made for an excellent appetiser and left us with just enough room for a main course and dessert. I’d love to hear your views on their dim sums if you’ve ever had them – hope to try those on my next visit.
Spicy khow suey and golden chocolate
We were torn between the Thai green curry with rice and khow suey (Rs 690) for mains but in the end, my passion for the soupy delight won over. The version Joss serves is on the spicier side, though with the inherent sweetness of coconut milk intact. The portion size was ample for two people and slurping up the gravy was my favourite part of the meal. The khow suey came with six different accompaniments ranging from chopped spring onions to sauces and crispy noodles but when I went a little ballistic adding these to my bowl, I realised I’d made the khow suey too thick. Play it cool (unlike me) and add only one accompaniment, if at all.
The best part about Asian food is that it’s light on the tummy, given that most dishes are steamed and full of nutrition-rich elements.
We were game for some sinful dessert after the sushi and khow suey and decided to give the new dessert menu a try. After all, you’ve probably heard enough about The Big Bang Theory (their signature dessert). We zeroed in on the only chocolate item, which also had seasonal strawberries in it and the server echoed our choice. So The Midas Touch (Rs 450) it was.
The Midas Touch is, as you’d expect, golden in colour. It’s essentially an egg filled with rich chocolate mousse and strawberry and cinnamon gel at the centre. But it’s served with popcorn and chocolate crumble that are really fun to eat along with the mousse. A combination of textures is very important, especially for the Indian palate and I couldn’t have enjoyed that egg without the crunchy, crispy elements. As for the portion size, it was on the smaller side for two people who love desserts but definitely not meant for just one.
A drink to remember
Somewhere between the sushi and the mains, I finished my cosmopolitan and the server (God bless his soul) recommended the sangrias. And a better recommendation I have never received. I chose the sparkling wine sangria (a 500 ml jug for Rs 1100) and it brought back fond memories of my sojourn to a vineyard the previous week.
The wine hadn’t been watered down – it was merely topped with chopped fruits and the result was a delicious concoction that can only be described as liquid joy.
Be sure to order the one litre jug and nothing else if you love your wines.
Sushi lovers who live in Mumbai’s western suburbs would do well to book a table at Joss right away. And if you’re a townie, you could always hire an Uber. 😉
Address: Savoy Chambers, Next To Mini Cooper Showroom, Santacruz West, Mumbai
Phone: 022 26617772 / 022 26617771
Timings: 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM, daily