Review- Farrokh Khambata’s Joss attempts to recreate the Far East in Santacruz west

After Joss shut shop at Kala Ghoda our Khao Suey relishing hearts surely broke, even if just a little. So we were quite relieved to hear of the oriental restaurant’s newfound sanctuary at Santacruz, not too long a trek from ours (also new-ish found) in Bandra west. And from what we’d been hearing Chef Farrokh Khambata’s latest move had brought sufficient cheer among its suburban fans.

‘Cheer’, however, is hardly a word we could relate to as we set foot into the establishment, a dim, ballroom-esque expanse littered with chunky furniture and lacking any apparent Far Eastern influences. The same might appear ‘homey’ to some, if you’re into that kind of old school thing. We’d have any day picked the out door seating over this, despite its whole fake grass, cheesy patio furniture vibe. But owing to the muggy weather, that area wasn’t open.

Food & Drink
Luckily they have enough in skilled bartenders to let you forget that sort of thing.

Ours sent over one seriously stiff (yet perfectly balanced) Smokin Cosmopolitan and enough dry ice to get a clip to boot.

(Check out the stunning pipe-glass that rests on one weighty slab and is probably also where the drink gets its name.) The Fire & Ice, a marriage of cool mango and hot chili was equally engaging. The last, named Drunken Picasso would have Picasso turning in his grave and had us thinking- glamorized Screwdriver. The Dim Sum platter, meanwhile, had us thinking, glamorized momos. In typical momo fashion, each doughy dumpling heaved with meat as opposed to being the bite-sized elegance we’ve gotten so used to. Although, if we have to find one good thing, we’d say the meat in all its assorted glory was truly tender and succulent.

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Scorpion King Rolls
Scorpion King Rolls

Next up, the Scorpion King Rolls were delicious, if your idea of delicious is also mayonnaise-laden. But barring that one act of heavy-handedness that did manage to ruin our hopes of salvaging the dinner over the next courses, the rolls did reveal some excellent lobster selection and use of “Nitsume” or sweet soy sauce. Far from admitting defeat to a lobster display, we decided to order something chicken and what we thought to be the Joss fail-safe, Khao Suey with Asian vegetables. If memory serves and it usually does, what had us returning to the original Joss was the light, almost brothy rendition. But here it had gone from Burmese to butter chicken. Veggies swam in a thick gravy that could’ve barely gone down our throats had it not been for the frantic lemon drizzles. The Korean chili pepper seasoned chicken that came recommended could hardly help our disappointment. As for the dessert – a trio of exploding crème brulées – let’s just leave it at ‘interesting’.

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Exploding Crème Brulées – Yuzu Limoncello, Mocha Kahlua, Mandarin Cointreau
Exploding Crème Brulées – Yuzu Limoncello, Mocha Kahlua, Mandarin Cointreau

Recommendations & Verdict
We want to say we’d give them another shot. Especially due to what we saw right before we could give up and walk- Big Bang Theory! Much like the cosmological model, this one comprises an explosion, the remnants of which can be scooped right off the table.

All eyes were on the table next to ours as their meringue bomb exploded and crushed pieces fell conveniently onto dessert sauces.

And if we learnt anything from our neighbors, (and from our own experience) it is that, skip straight to dessert and order this. Although, I suppose another redeeming point here would be the cocktails. It may not be lot, especially given the establishment’s past reputation. But considering its latest setting and drinks’ pricing, we can’t say we would mind stopping by for one, or let’s just be honest, a few post-work, pre-gig Cosmopolitans.

Fire & Ice
Fire & Ice

Meal (for two)
Smokin Cosmopolitan – Rs 400
Fire & Ice – Rs 400
Drunken Picasso – Rs 400
Dim Sum Platter – Rs 800
Scorpion King Rolls – Rs 1600
Khao Suey Asian Vegetable – Rs 500
Korean chili pepper seasoned chicken – Rs 490
Exploding Crème Brulées – Rs 380
Total (exclusive of taxes and service) – Rs 4970

The Luxe Factor Is

7 Food
8 Service
8 Ambience
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