Joyeaux Cafe is a popular lunch spot on Howe street that has a mixture of Vietnamese and Western dishes. The menu is large and a bit overwhelming because they have everything from sandwiches, to noodle soups, and rice bowls.
Despite the warm summer weather, I was craving a noodle soup and I chose the beef brisket soup ($8). This soup was filled with rice noodles, brisket, carrots, onions, and cilantro.
The broth was slightly different from regular pho broth and it had a slight orange hue. It was flavourful and had a hint of spice to it. The punches of flavour from the fresh cilantro made the broth extra tasty.
The beef brisket was cut into large chunks and it was so tender it fell apart in your mouth. The large pieces of carrots were soft and the onions added some crunch. This bowl satisfied my noodle craving and it was nice to have something beyond regular pho.
I ordered the lemongrass chicken on rice ($8) to go since I needed dinner for later. This also comes with a small salad and a springroll.
This chicken smelled so good in the bag I had a hard time waiting to eat it. Even after reheating it, the chicken had a nice crisp skin and was moist on the inside. A fragrant lemongrass flavour was embedded in the chicken and was pleasant to eat. The rice was a dry, but that could be due to reheating it.
The springroll was not good at all. The filling was pasty and lacking flavour, while the outside was soggy and tough (I ate the springroll at the restaurant when they gave me the box so I didn’t reheat it).
Despite the bad spring roll, I throughly enjoyed both of my meals from Joyeaux Cafe. The food comes in large portions, it’s affordable, and full of flavour. The menu is also so large that there is something for everyone there (even if you don’t like Vietnamese).
This place gets super busy at lunch time so be warned, you will probably be squished in beside strangers at the table.
Yes, for a quick Vietnamese lunch downtown.