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Belacan pasta, dabu-dabu croissant: Promising new dishes at Joe & Dough

Wening Gitomartoyo
Wening Gitomartoyo

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, October 6, 2019  /  05:51 pm
Belacan pasta, dabu-dabu croissant: Promising new dishes at Joe & Dough

Charcoal battered prawn & dabu-dabu croissant at Joe & Dough. (Courtesy of/Joe & Dough)

While East-meets-West on a plate is hardly a new concept, it still evokes a wonderful feeling when it is done right. Such was the relish when The Jakarta Post tried the latest offerings from Singapore-based bakery and café Joe & Dough, including a croissant filled with sambal dabu-dabu (Manadonese chili with tomatoes and lime) or seafood belacan (shrimp paste) creamy pasta.

The café opened its fourth branch in Jakarta in mid-September. Located at Gandaria City mall in South Jakarta, Joe & Dough loyally incorporated quaint and retro styles, as evident from the Art Deco-inspired display shelf to the pastel-colored chairs.

To mark the new branch, the café introduced four new dishes in collaboration with chef Desi Trisnawati, the winner of MasterChef Indonesia’s second season in 2012.

With nostalgic nods from both the chef and the café’s founders, the dishes featured thick Asian flavors. They are particularly apparent in the charcoal battered prawn and dabu-dabu croissant, the seafood belacan creamy pasta and the som tam with prawns.

Chef Desi Trisnawati (left), Joe & Dough co-founders Dawn Wee (center) and Damien Koh (right) present four new dishes to mark the opening of Joe & Dough's new branch at Gandaria City mall in South Jakarta on Sept. 24.Chef Desi Trisnawati (left), Joe & Dough co-founders Dawn Wee (center) and Damien Koh (right) present four new dishes to mark the opening of Joe & Dough's new branch at Gandaria City mall in South Jakarta on Sept. 24. (Courtesy of/Joe & Dough)

Chef Desi said the dabu-dabu croissant came from her journey to Papua, where she was asked to make a burger. “But finding beef was quite difficult there, so I went with seafood and dabu-dabu sauce,” she said in a media session in late September. “I then combine the concoction with croissants, as I believe that Joe & Dough makes the best ones.”

A more wistful taste came in the seafood belacan creamy pasta, where feelings of familiarity came alive as most Asian households are no strangers to shrimp paste. The dish worked wonders with the house-made shrimp paste sauce, which chef Desi said was inspired from her childhood in Bangka, Bangka Belitung.

Seafood belacan creamy pasta at Joe & Dough.Seafood belacan creamy pasta at Joe & Dough. (Courtesy of/Joe & Dough)

Read also: Legendary bakery Maison Weiner stays true to roots

For a refreshing course, the Thailand-infused som tam with prawns offered spicy fresh green papaya and mango salad with prawns, shredded carrots, long beans, cherry tomatoes and nuts. The finishing touch was sweet fish sauce for a balanced sweet and savory oomph.

Som tam with prawns at Joe & Dough.Som tam with prawns at Joe & Dough. (Courtesy of/Joe & Dough)

Another promising new dish was the pan-seared salmon with yoghurt herb sauce, created with the delicate sous-vide technique of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it at a precise temperature in a water bath. The result was the utmost tender and juicy salmon meat with yoghurt mixed herbs sauce, balsamic reduction and tobiko.

Pan-seared salmon with yoghurt herb sauce at Joe & Dough.Pan-seared salmon with yoghurt herb sauce at Joe & Dough. (Courtesy of/Joe & Dough)

Dawn Wee, Joe & Dough’s cofounder and marketing communications director, said, “For the food, we try to incorporate unique Indonesian flavors. I think it’s good to have that element because it’s comforting and familiar. I want to surprise the customers that when we do pasta, we can also use belacan.”

The four new dishes are available at all Joe & Dough outlets in Jakarta, namely Plaza Indonesia, Puri Indah Mall, Kota Kasablanka and Gandaria City.

Founded in 2009, the café and bakery is known for its high quality croissants, cruffins (croissant muffin) and baked goods. 

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