Imagine a chef’s table, but without the surrounding restaurant. That’s Joy: Sarah Baldwin's 10-seat omakase-inspired restaurant in Fortitude Valley.
Describing Joy is easy. It’s simply a kitchen with a comptoir attached. There’s a compressed-stone counter; an enormous, eye-popping mural on the back wall; and a whole lot of stainless steel. Baldwin co-designed Joy, and you can tell – the galley-style kitchen has acres of space to manoeuvre, with two people covering everything from the cooking to the plating to the pouring of wine and then the washing up.
There’s another reason for making this a two-hander. Joy is designed to be an intimate experience but also to address the overheads that have put the squeeze on high-end diners in Brisbane. Without any managers or waiters or sommeliers or commissioned chefs to worry about, Baldwin cuts down on costs while not cutting into the experience.
Joy’s menu leans on Baldwin's experience working at some of Australia’s best restaurants, including Urbane and Sixpenny. It changes almost daily but you might eat seared scallops with corn milk, sour pumpkin and kaffir lime; or fermented celeriac with venison tartare, roasted sesame and garlic.
For drinks, bartender Maddie Sim preps paired cocktails and wines. The vino focuses on boutique Australian producers, the better to accompany Baldwin's lighter style of cooking.