This review took place in August 2022 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
Joy Dining Room opened as a grocery-slash-restaurant at Bambini Villa last year, and it wasn’t exactly in good shape right out of the gate. The then-restaurant was under siege from crusading influencers and self-righteous netizens after posting some controversial responses to online reviews on its Instagram’s stories (refresh your memory here).
It’s been a year, and we believe that every restaurant—just like people—can change. In fact, we’d say this is a lovely dining experience for anyone who doesn’t care about the prices.
Let’s start with some redeeming qualities: Joy’s strong points aren’t all about food. People love this spot for its photogenic elegance. The room feels light and airy thanks to its wood paneling, warm lighting, and large pane window bathing the interior with natural light. The walls sport a gallery of soothing illustrations from Thai artist Suntur that ooze a style we found more than pleasant while dining.
Being half grocery also means there’s no question about the quality of products served at Joy, from seasonal ingredients like hotaru ika (Japanese spring firefly squid) to sea bass and lobster. But high-end ingredients are no guard against lackluster food.
There are two set menus, one for lunch (B1,500 per 4 courses) and the other for (B4,800/6 courses for two) The deep-fried chicken wings stuffed with chorizo and topped with sakura shrimp and sriracha mayo were underwhelming. The dish relied too heavily on the sauce, and if you’re going for fancy fried chicken, it should do better than Bon Chon. The next starter, prawn toast with shiso leaves—arriving piping hot and plump—was satisfactory but nothing special.
To be fair, there are some dishes we loved. The firefly squid on linguine radiated freshness. It's a delicious and simple combination of cured gray mullet roe and squid that offers well-balanced garlicky saltiness–save for the portion. We also appreciate the miso lamb rump served with harissa. Well portioned, succulent, and juicy. The skin is crispy, and when joined with the pungent harissa sauce, the dish was almost perfect. However, the maitake mushrooms on the dish came mushy and drenched in the liquid on the plate. We checked to see if they were soggy throughout. To our dismay, they were. The same goes for the wagyu tenderloin beef, which was seemingly truffle in name only.
Joy knocks it out of the park in terms of mood and tone. With its inviting atmosphere and a great wine list and even sake—both by bottle and glass—this place can dub as a casual business meeting spot when you’re in the neighborhood. But, this is Bangkok. We can easily point to other casual destinations of the same caliber with lower prices.