This month’s Eats In is so very close to this writer’s heart. Each month, when the hunger strikes, we as a team put our tummies together to discuss what deliciousness we’re going to order in for lunchtime to share, photograph and write about. Dear readers, Eats In has been going on for almost a year now, and since JOA’s release on a certain delivery app last July, I’ve been trying to get the team to agree on a review month after month, as I am a resident sushi-enthusiast. Now, the collective reluctance has nothing to do with JOA as a concept, it’s just about timing; it never ends up working out. But this month, one bazaarite’s (namely, me) wish came true, with a scroll of a menu and a few taps on the smartphone.
It’s unusual to say that Christmas would come in the beginning of Spring, but while ordering from JOA, I certainly felt that way. On this day, the office was fairly empty, but a couple of us were overjoyed to feed our hunger and cravings with ORA’s fresh sister concept, in the form of JOA’s poke bowls, which come vast in variety with choices between seafood and beef.
For those of you who don’t know: poke bowls are an actual gift from heaven, and are an extremely sophisticated form of deconstructed sushi packed into a bowl.
In a poke bowl, you get your sushi rice, protein of choice, another couple of cheeky ingredients like edamame or crispies, pickled ginger, or other creative veggies and components to make the bowl burst with flavor. I opted for the Simply Salmon: a bowl containing marinated, sashimi grade salmon, sushi rice, avocado, green beans, edamame, spring onion, sesame, pickled ginger and a glorious spicy sweet soy sauce. The meat-based poke was whimsically named “Let’s Get Serious”, as perhaps a nod to the searing of the steak in pan-fried fashion. This beauty, the turf to my surf, was ordered by my colleague who had tried this bowl on previous occasions and swears by it. Consisting of Angus beef, poached shrimp, wild rice, edamame, avocado, spring onion, marinated mushrooms, sesame seeds, crispy garlic and JOA’s signature spicy honey mayo sauce. Coupled with an order of Tuna Chili rolls, a Spiced Honey Shrimp appetizer, and a Seaweed and Crispy Kale salad for added fun, we were up to our ears with excitement as we processed our orders and pretended to work as we waited for it to make its way to us.
As soon as the food arrived, we could hardly contain our excitement and laid the containers out neatly on the communal table before digging in. Let us start out by saying that JOA’s sushi is of the freshest we’ve ever had in regards to deliverability. Not only is it beautifully vibrant in presentation, with the tuna’s impressive magenta hue, but also its fresh chili garnish breaks the simplicity with innovation. And guess what? It wasn’t even that spicy! It had just enough spice to let the average spice lover sacrifice the compulsory wad of wasabi traditionally served with the dish.
The Spicy Honey Shrimp was crispy to perfection and resulted in a bite-sized tempura based appetizer. Paired with their Spicy Honey mayo, a dressing not different to that of the Let’s Get Serious, the combination was sublime and indeed appetite whetting.
And of course, we had to tuck into bites of our health-conscious colleague’s gloriously green Seaweed and Crispy Kale salad, its taste of cucumber and roughage left us excited for days to come, where we will soon be lounging on the beach.
But those poke bowls – man, where can I start? My colleague knew what to expect with the Let’s Get Serious, which is why she apparently always orders it, but that Simply Salmon – I was blown away. I think it’s safe to say that this fresh, yet hearty meal is my new favorite thing on the planet, and a personal goal of mine is to try each different poke bowl offered on JOA’s menu after this experience.
Once I cleaned out my poke bowl, I felt a wave of sadness, yet extreme satisfaction. This was by far one of my favorite Eats In experiences, and as I happily realized that I could perfectly conclude my with a steaming hot cup of tea made with the Matcha I keep in the office, I knew surely that JOA was worth the wait.