Located along Purvis Street, known for good restaurants and eateries, J’s stands tall beside its neighbours
By Lester J Wan
If you find that the dishes on the menu at J’s call to mind the rolling plains, lush mountains and passionate people of the Americas, you should not be surprised. The menu at J’s was originally inspired by owner and Managing Director Joy Mabhubani’s life and experiences in the far off continent.
Joy has lived in Hong Kong, Jakarta and Central America. It was her experiences in Central America that inspired her cuisine. She has since been in Singapore for about ten years.
The story behind J’s is also unusual and interesting. Joy says it all started with wanting to purchase a drum set. She had gone down to El Toro, that was closing, at Winsland House. When she saw the restaurant, she decided that it was an opportunity not to be missed and purchased it. Joy is actually a banker by training.
“I have always had the idea of feeding people,” Joy explains.
“I am grateful for wonderful people working with me, who make this possible,” she adds.
The food at J’s caters to a broad variety of patrons with different dietary preferences, as it contains no pork, lard, alcohol or crustacean. Joy says that this was inspired by her experiences, including with friends who found it difficult to eat together due to their dietary requirements and the menus of the restaurants.
“I just felt that if we keep it simple, everyone can share a meal together,” she explains.
The Latin American-inspired menu is definitely interesting and with lively flavours. One example is the Poppers ($15), breaded jalapeno peppers stuffed with mozzarella. These are invigorating and add some spice into your life. Those who have tried these before may feel that they could somehow be better though.
Nonetheless, one of my favourite dishes at J’s was the Scrambled Eggs with Salmon on Toast. From my personal experience, “fusion” is usually a bad word. This would be a strong exception. Flavourful and rich in taste, this is not what you would expect with scrambled eggs on toast. In fact, its name, while accurate, doesn’t quite seem to do justice to its taste.
The Chipotle Meatballs ($16) are also one of the best items on the menu at J’s. These are essentially braised beef meatballs in spicy chipotle and tomato sauce, served with crispy corn tortillas. While these delicious meatballs were prepared in a more Latin American style, they were very similar to the fragrant and wholesome taste of Italian meatballs. If the taste of life’s richness, pleasures and passion could be encapsulated within a meatball, this would probably be it.
The Quesadillas ($22), tortillas filled with chicken breast or minced beef, and cheese, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno and guacamole, were good and filling.
The “Adobo” Chicken ($28), braised chicken slow-cooked in marinade “Adobo” style, is undoubtedly the highlight of the menu. This concoction was nothing short of ambrosial. Served with warm tortillas, it is a main course that’s sure to please your tongue and your tummy.
To help you wash down the food and even revitalise you, J’s sodas ($8) are truly refreshing. Try the Pineapple, Green Apple or Mango Lemonade. If you prefer a mocktail ($8), the Cuban Mint or Puerto Rican Colada are other refreshing options.
J’s has some interesting desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth as well. The Bocas Negras ($12) is a flourless chocolate with a triple-chocolate gelato. The fudge in the chocolate cake is thick and rich, while the gelato is as good as Haagen Dazs’ Belgian Chocolate but not as creamy and sinful.
The Bread and Butter Pudding ($10), while simple-sounding, is also sweet and satisfying. However, it is a bit heavy as a dessert and should be shared.
J’s has recently received its Halal-certification. Joy says there are not many mid-range Halal restaurants and this makes J’s a great
Whatever your dietary preference, you are likely to find something at J’s that will please. Head down to taste the passion and joy of living.
J’s is located at 7 Purvis Street, #01-01, Singapore 188586. Tel: 6887 4787