I was looking for someplace to eat for my lunch break as I did not have my usual packed lunch and I stumbled upon Joy Cafe in William Street, Northbridge. I walked in not expecting too much because I had a feeling that this place would let me down. The photos of some of the dishes like “Fragrant Chicken Rice” and “Beef Brisket Noodle” posted on the window looked good enough for me to try this place.
An alarm sounds when you walk in notifying the staff that there’s someone at the door. So I was looked after quickly. The interior is a bit weird for me. It looks like a typical chinese restaurant setting but also a diner with Asian-style diner couches. I really could not make up if this is a Hong Kong style or, perhaps, a Taiwanese style restaurant. The TV screen was playing a Hong Kong TV series but the staff were speaking in a Taiwanese accent. To add to my confusion, this place also serves some very Hong Kong style cafe dishes like “toast and ham with creamed corn soup” or “toast and steak”, something very similar to Hong Kong’s Cafe de Coral’s breakfast and tea menu.
Anyhow, the waiter led me to sit on one of the Asian-style diner couch which was super uncomfortable. The seat was sinking in the middle and I could hardly rest my elbows on the table. So I moved around trying to find a spot on the couch that is not sinking but everywhere was just as bad. The waiter stared at me while I was decided what to order. After a few minutes of glancing at the menu nothing caught my eye so I just asked him what is a good noodle dish? He suggested the “Beef Brisket Noodles” with soup on the side and I said OK.
And just as I had predicted, this is not the best beef brisket I had eaten but it was edible. Good enough for me not rant about it. My plate had a small serving of the beef brisket, about 6 pieces medium sized beef cubes, that had been cooked in either a sauce from the jar or a homemade blend of oyster sauce and sweet soy sauce. There are no spices (e.g. star anise) to be seen nor tasted that goes into cooking beef brisket. The beef itself was not even tender enough. To make up for the small serving of beef 1/3 of my plate is covered in thin egg noodles lightly tossed with a soy sauce gravy. The amount of noodles is enough to make you full. And to top it off they will also give you 1 bunch of bok choy cut in half and a spoonful of dry chili. From what I can assume, the soup that came with it is made from chicken powder and a whole lot of ground black pepper and a whole lot of spring onions. It was obviously not made with stock and I was simply grossed out by the amount of pepper that I am sipping with each spoonful.
I hurriedly went to pay for my meal rushing back to the office. Cost me $10.50 for such a mediocre meal. I gave the cashier a $20 note and a 50-cent piece and they had no $10 notes to give me. So I went out with a pocketfull of $1 and $2 coins.
My rating: 5/10