Joseph Bistro (Goan cuisine)


#1

I’ve been going to Joseph Bistro every week since discovering this Indian restaurant specialising in Goan cuisine. It’s a nice change from the richer and stronger flavoured North Indian fare.

In my opinion, owner-chef Joseph makes the BEST butter chicken curry - a symphony of flavours with the tanginess of tomatoes, mintiness of fennel seeds, fragrance of green cardamon and other freshly ground spices in a light gravy. This is one dish I never order at other Indian restaurants as it’s always too heavy. Love the chicken tikka, mixed lentil curry, fish jaw curry, mushroom-nut-cheese-fig starter and fig kulfi too.

Joseph has worked in 5-star hotels (Four Seasons etc) in Dubai, Maldives and Garden Hotel in Taipei before setting up his own restaurant last November. He has an excellent palate and his freshly ground masalas are amazing! Here is where you can taste kokum (from the mangosteen family) which is often used in Goan cuisine.

This is very high quality and exquisite Indian food in a bistro setting. They serve Thai rice though and basmati rice is used in the chicken biryani (advance order required). Plain nann available only. Those who like tasty Indian food without the risk of heart burn/indigestion would love Joseph Bistro.

Here’s a Chinese review with mouth-watering pictures of some dishes: chinatimes.com/realtimenews/ … 392-260405

Check out their menu on Facebook: facebook.com/josephbistro
Closed on Sunday & Monday


#2

Oo, thanks for posting about this. Looks good.


#3

Tried the pork vindaloo today. I must say it’s the best I’ve had! Wonderful balance of spiciness and acidity. The pork is really tender too. Highly recommended!!


#4

Tried another fantastic dish recently: the oven-baked Chicken Dum Biriyani. The chicken is succulent, and the dish contains 4 kinds of nuts (cashew, pine, almond, walnut). I’ve had it 4 times in the past week (twice at the restaurant, and twice reheating leftovers). Absolutely yummy! 48h advance order required.


#5

Terrific sounding place! Any address available?

Guy


#6

Address: No. 13, Lane 69, Songjiang Road 松江路69巷13號1樓 (near Yitong Park)
Tel: 02 2508 1329
Closed Sunday & Monday


#7

Excellent! Thank you!!!

Guy


#8

I finally had a chance to make it to Joseph Bistro for dinner tonight. I arrived just as they opened, without reservations. It’s a good thing I arrived early as the place filled up quickly.

First off, it’s a really pleasant space, clean and comfortable. No cliched Indian knick knacks in sight–just a lovely display of fresh spices, which are used expertly and liberally in Joseph’s cooking.

I had a simple meal for one: the Chicken Makhanwala, priced at NT$420 (I guess this is the light version of butter chicken mentioned by ichun). From the first bite, it blew me away. It’s by no means spicy but wow the range of flavours is amazing!

The nan (ordered separately–NT$60) was made to order. While certainly not bad, it is unlikely to impress most patrons, with little yeasty complexity. At the same time, Joseph specializes in Goan cuisine, so it’d be reasonable to ask why one would expect the nan to be outstanding here anyways. Still it does the job, helping to scoop up Joseph’s excellent thick curry sauce.

I finished the meal with a cup of masala tea (NT$100), which was complex and satisfying and far better than most desultory versions sold in Taipei. There’s also a nice selection of house made desserts, which I did not try.

The service is pleasant and mostly professional. One woman, who seemed to be in charge of the front room, was especially attentive and friendly. One of the young guys serving looked a bit stiff. But overall this place has good vibes and lots of smiles that nicely complement the (mostly) terrific food.

With the price point of the dishes, the a la carte ordering style, and no lunch specials (boo!), this is probably not a place that most forumosans would hit regularly. But for a special treat in an attractive space, this would be a fine choice. With a range of starters and drinks, one could have a very nice evening here.

Thanks to ichun for the recommendation! I’ll definitely return.

Guy


#9

Hi Guy, glad to hear you enjoyed the food at Joseph Bistro. I was just there for dinner today and Joseph mentioned that a foreigner came after reading my review (thought it might be you). I agree with your assessment. Joseph said his nann doesn’t contain any yeast as he lets the dough ferment naturally overnight. I like to order the fish tikka and pan fried salmon too, which are always so fresh and delicious. This is one place where I can be assured of very high quality ingredients and food that is cooked with thought and passion. It currently ranks as my favorite Indian restaurant in Taiwan and Singapore.


#10

Thank you ichun! Your recommendations are always much appreciated!

As I mentioned above, the Chicken Makhanwala knocked my socks off. Next on my list is the pre-ordered Chicken Dum Biriyani.

Given the often lousy Indian food scene in Taiwan (there are exceptions), Joseph is to be commended for taking his craft so seriously and for setting up such a remarkable shop. When I chatted with him earlier this week, he was quite proud of the fact that something like 98% of his customers are Taiwanese. While there are consequences to this (less fiery dishes than I would normally prefer), it means that the business can actually succeed. He told me that ten years ago this kind of shop would not have worked in Taiwan, but now it can. I personally feel we are lucky this guy is here in Taipei!

Guy


#11

This is one of our all-time favourites. In fact, we just had it today! But please note that it’s a big portion enough for 4-6 people. My husband and I usually finish half of it and take away the leftovers. It tastes good even after 2 days in the fridge and you can easily reheat it in the microwave oven (recommended to heating on the stove so as not to break the basmati grains).

If you like fiery dishes, you will enjoy Joseph’s Pork Vindaloo – his most spicy dish on the current menu. He offers 3 options of spiciness. We’ve tried the most spicy version and it’s superb!

Joseph grinds his own spices in small portions to ensure freshness. I had a whiff of several of his masalas/spice mix and you can tell that he doesn’t stinge on certain spices to cut cost, like some places do. Several of his dishes are made using laborious and time-consuming processes, which are reflected in the complexity in taste and tenderness in texture. Like you, we are also very thankful for Joseph Bistro. That’s why we’ve been going there every week. Owner-chef restaurants are just so much better!


#12

Joseph’s recent interview on TVBS programme “Step by step 一步一腳印”:


#13

A wonderful video. What a generous take on Joseph and his craft!

Guy


#14

A quick update: I made it back to Joseph Bistro this evening to sample the chicken biryani (ordered 48 hours in advance; NT$950). What a treat! Extraordinarily tender chicken (which flakes apart), lovely basmati rice, a compelling mix of spices and nuts, all baked to perfection in a massive pan. I’m not sure if it makes sense to call this “comfort food” but I would be hard pressed to think of a more comforting dish available at any restaurant in Taipei.

While the portion size is enormous (as noted above by ichun), Joseph is happy to help pack up the leftovers. If the typhoon hits, I will be prepared! :slight_smile:

Before the meal, I mused about which starter would work with the biryani. Joseph directed me to his version of raita (full order NT$380), named “Seasonal Fruit Raita” on the menu. It was a brilliant complement to the piping hot biryani, and highly distinct. Instead of having some shredded cucumber swimming in yoghurt (as is usually the case), Joseph loads up his version with fresh ingredients he finds in the market. In this season, he uses pomelo (!) and fresh figs, along with cucumber, basil, yoghurt, and some lovely spices. It was fantastic.

As before, I finished my meal with a very nice cup of masala milk tea (NT$100)–a perfect end to a perfect meal.

Thanks again to ichun for letting us about this place. And kudos to the gracious Joseph for preparing such wonderful food!

Guy


#15

The raita sounds amazing. Does he do a veggie curry option, or is it butter-chicken and fish-jaw curry all the way?

edit - just checked the facebook link and staring down at all this:
mix lentils xacuti (what’s a xacuti?)
tomato paneer scramble (!)
sweet n sour potato & pea
baby cabbage foogath (what’s a foogath?)
cauliflower & broccoli

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:


#16

Joseph’s raita is indeed amazing.

Regarding veggie options: they are there on the menu, as you figured out. But unlike some other places serving food from the Indian subcontinent, Joseph’s menu ranges across many meat and fish dishes, using chicken, pork, ox tail, fish head, etc.

Perhaps ichun has tried some of Joseph’s veggie offerings. I’d love to hear about them if anyone has more details.

Guy


#17

I’m glad I’m not the only one singing praises about Joseph’s amazing food! He is our favourite chef in Taipei – so talented, passionate and perfectionistic. He even does different versions of the Chicken Dum Biriyani for us since we order it so often (we’ve tried 3 versions).

I’ve tried all the vegetarian dishes on the current menu. Joseph likes to use crushed Szechuan peppercorn 花椒 in his spice mix. The Mix Lentils Xacuti is delicious (contains 4 different lentils). According to wikipedia, “Xacuti or Xacutti (Konkani: शागोती, सागुती) is a curry prepared in Goa, India, with complex spicing, including white poppy seeds, sliced or grated coconut and large dried red chilies. It is usually prepared with chicken or lamb.”

Foogath is the term used for any vegetable dish made with coconut and curry leaves (from about.com)

I’ve only ordered the Tomato Paneer Scramble with Dry Fruits and Nuts once. The paneer is scrambled and not diced (which I prefer), but the taste is good.

We like the Gratinated Cauliflower and Broccoli in Green Masala too. The green masala is like spicy pesto.

I would also recommend the Mushroom Cheese Tikki (under House Specials). Very flavourful and yummy!

I’ve not ordered the Seasonal Fruit Raita, but I will tonight, after reading Guy’s glowing review :slight_smile:


#18

I swung by Joseph’s Bistro this evening and saw that he has juggled the menu, inserting some intriguing new dishes that are evidently part of his formidable repertoire. The Chicken Makhanwala is off (at least for now); in its place is Joseph’s take on Malabar Chicken Tikka Masala, which was fantastic. Joseph joked around that this is why Europeans tried to take over India. I say no thanks to colonialism but big thanks to Joseph for preparing such incredible food!

Guy


#19

We were at Joseph’s today for our weekly meal. Had our pre-ordered Chicken Dum Biriyani and tried his new dessert: Laddu. Loved these round morsels. The chocolate one is coated with fragrant toasted coconut flakes, the black glutinous ball is infused with spices (almost like eating solid Masala tea), and the last one with oats is also lovely. We’ll have to order 2 plates next time as they’re difficult to cut.


#20

After a lousy garlic laden meal the other day, I decided it was time to get some decent food. This evening, I made my way up to Joseph’s Bistro, where I was greeted by the amiable owner-chef. I had not tried any of his vegetable main dishes, so tonight I asked Joseph what he recommended.

I placed my order and settled in at my table, and enjoyed some fantastic cooking smells coming from the open kitchen. About fifteen minutes later, I was served a stunning beautiful green dish: Joseph’s take on spinach paneer. Hands down, it was the best version I’ve had–anywhere. After a couple of bites, I was already planning my next visit!

Guy