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Along the covered arcades of Purvis Street, a quiet restaurant revolution is taking place at J’s Restaurant. J’s Restaurant, formerly El Toro before it was taken over by managing director Joy Mahbubani, draws its culinary influences mostly from Latin American cuisine, but head chef Darence Wee brings Singapore’s diners a pinch or two of contemporary European ideas too. This halal- licensed eatery is a bright, relaxed place for people to come together and dine.
There has been something of a media buzz around this unassuming place on Purvis Street, and for
good reason. When managing director Joy Mahbubani first decided to take over El Toro she made
some bold decisions about the future of her restaurant. She immediately removed alcohol, shellfish
and pork from the menu, with the aim of making J’s Restaurant an inclusive place where friends can
come together, regardless of their cultural differences. J’s is also a fully licensed halal restaurant.
In creating such an inclusive space, Singapore’s J’s Restaurant has a short, adaptable menu, and a separate menu for vegetarians. Portions are large, in keeping with J’s Restaurant’s commitment to community and sharing. The bright, colourful dining room has room for 30 diners only so a reservation can be a good move, particularly at weekends. Above diners’ heads, The Upper Room is almost certainly playing host to community meetings or NGO appointments, although it can also be hired out for special functions. J’s Restaurant on Purvis Street has a different attitude to food than other of Singapore’s restaurants, at J’s the focus is on sharing, community and inclusiveness.