Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Joe and Dough: Good Honest Coffee and Food

Not a great fan of gingerbread man? Why not try the gingerbread latte at Joe and Dough?

The seasonal brew is not overpowered by spices but has a well-rounded smooth taste with lingering aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon. This is one of the festive items launched at Joe and Dough, a 6-year old  homegrown cafe establishment which takes pride in serving quality coffee and fresh wholesome food. Run by a passionate husband-and-wife-team, Damien Koh and Dawn Wee, this local brand remains unfazed against Starbucks' muscles and continues to expand with latest outlets at Kallang and Novena.

Besides the gingerbread latte which pairs very well with the two creative named gingerbread "Hansel & Gretel" ($3.20 each), there is a huge, gorgeous Varlhona Chocolate Noel Cake with Mixed Berries.

Clad in 62% Varlhona Satilia chocolate ganache and rolled in 33% Varlhona Opaly white chocolate cream, there is tinge of roasted almond aroma in the deep chocolatey profile that contrasts well with the light filling in the middle. The bright tart berries give the cake a lot of zip but I wish the sponge could be more moist and more chocolate ganache to illuminate the dark beauty of Varlhona. But at $6.80 per single slice roll, it is quite a steal.
I was worried that the pairing of Turkey Ham with Brie Cheese ($9.50) would make this an intensely savory sandwich but it was not! Sweet cranberries and refreshing wild rocket provided an excellent support for the creamy brie and moist flavorful meat, all barely stuffed within a crusty home-made cheddar cheese baguette. If only this special X'mas hot sandwich was for life and not only for this season......
Nevertheless, the tasty regular items would keep us coming back for more. For instance, the Spicy Surimi Crab Sandwich ($8.50) was an unexpected triumph. Between two slices of warm, fluffy sesame brioche, generous heaps of shredded crab smothered in light mayonnaise were piled neatly on fresh lettuce. There isn't much of the spicy kick, but the tangy mayo juices kept us working through to the final crumb. 
Like the Christmas Roll cake, all pastries and bread are produced in-house and they were well above the average cafe standards, if not pleasantly satisfying. I urged anyone to try the Blueberry Yoghurt Tart ($6.50), which is no flouncy haute tart but one of a silky-textured, gelatinous filling with hints of tart. Surrounded by a crumbly digestive fortress wall which caused a mess on a plate that anyone would be happy to clean up.
Instead of the Strawberries & Custard ($5.800 that owned a slightly clumpy cream, the Chocolate Trio ($6.50) is one to order. Dominated by white chocolate and milk chocolate mousse, the cake did not fit quite into the concept of "trio" but it was unexpectedly lighter than it looked, with a superbly crunchy Feuilettine base that would appeal to anyone. 

Served warm and fluffy, the Cinnamon Melt ($2.80) was less dense than most of the sugar laden American swirled brioches and filled with fresh crunchy walnuts. A pity that the icing frosting did not melt into a sticky gooey pool. There are plenty of lemon tarts but few is as delicious as the Tangy Lemon Tart ($4.80). There is a sweet tart vibe to the creamy filling within the crumbly shell, baked to a nice chocolate-brown shade. Definitely goes well with our matcha latte ($5.40)
Shirley @ littlemissbento making her "Rilakkuma" Latte that made everyone go WOW!! 

At the end of the meal, we were treated to a coffee appreciation session, during which we went behind the scenes to understand the secrets behind the perfect brew. Our coffee barista trainer, Adrian, not only knows his coffee beans well but also guides us patiently through the steps of coffee-making. Dedicated to serve the best quality coffee, the team roasts Arabica beans of the finest quality in small batches and grounds them upon order. I may not remember much of the technicalities, but my appreciation of coffee truly grew after the session. Most importantly,I also see the care, sincerity and pride that goes into every cup. 
Interestingly, "Joe" refers to the name of an American navy commander called "Josephius" who indirectly brought the rise in coffee consumption with his notorious alcohol ban. But at the heart of Joe and Dough is a humble local dream driven by passion to succeed. The team confess that they don't do a lot, but I don't see the need to. With good honest coffee, home-made bread and pastries made by people who care, Joe & Dough is another successful Singapore story that shines like no other. 
Joe & Dough
Various Outlets: Leisure Park Kallang, Orchard Gateway, Millenia Walk,
Marina Bay Link Mall, Income at Raffles, Golden Shoe Car Park
Joe & Dough is giving 2 logcakes this Christmas! Simply hop over to their instagram account ( @joendough) for more details! Good Luck!

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