Joya’s Cafe in Worthington serves Asian-inspired American food


The Kati roll at Joya's Cafe is a combination of lamb kebab, egg, pickled red onion, apple chutney, maple yogurt chaat and coriander cream in a pan-fried roti.

Eat in the The new local hot spot, Joya’s, has become almost a must for anyone in Greater Columbus who writes about food or posts photos online. Belonging to a group like this has rarely been so rewarding. In other words, believe the hype: Joya’s cooks up interesting stuff.

Continually busy since opening in August, Joya’s generated early buzz because it is the first restaurant launched by local celebrity chef Avishar Barua, whose talents have previously landed him at top-rated restaurants like Veritas Tavern and Service Bar, as well as the TV show ” Top Chef”. .

The brainchild of Joya’s, named for his mentor mother, landed Barua at the helm of the recently lamented Sassafras Bakery in Worthington. That quaint space now resembles a small modern cafe with a couple of tables and limited counter seating. While quite understated, the room is enlivened by plants, trendy cookbooks, name-brand products, peach-stained walls, and personable waiters. A few makeshift outdoor tables await the inevitable overflow of customers.

Hot milk chai Exclusive Joya recipe, made with lightly sweetened Ceylon tea and evaporated milk.

Any sense of understatement evoked by such trappings evaporates upon sampling Joya’s intense food. Similarly, diners familiar with Barua’s long and funny Instagram posts (jokes and puns that shoot from his fingers like fireworks exploding in early July) will note that “more is more” describes the manner of speaking. de Barua and his approach to cooking at Joya’s.

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Intricate sandwiches that require numerous components and multi-stage home cooking techniques anchor a small menu that draws on fast food favorites, street food and popular chili dishes from across Asia. The latest influences prevail, and several items are spicy yet nuanced umami bombs with ties to the cuisines of China and India.

The Toast-in-a-Box at Joya's Cafe combines a Bengali omelette, pork roll and pepperjack cheese with Korean mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and is wrapped in toasted and buttered bread.

Take the excellent kati roll ($15), just don’t think about having mine. Inspired by an Indian street food classic, it’s like a curry-scented shawarma on steroids. The stars, delicious and juicy ground lamb kebabs, are wrapped in a huge, pleasantly knobby and springy pan-fried flatbread. Spicy, rich, spicy, sour and sweet accents arrive via the egg, ‘maple yogurt chaat’, wonderful house apple chutney, pickled onions and ‘cilantro cream’.

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