The incredible food at the Café of Joy makes you want to return for more

The first thing that hits you is the heady, yeasty smell of warm bread. My eyes seek the source of the delectable fragrance and soon find it. Loaves of freshly-baked bread are nestled in wicker baskets and arranged on a shelf. This quaint touch coupled with the interesting bric-a-brac, white picket fence and the fresh white and lavender interiors gives the place an old-fashioned bucolic aura, reminiscent of a cosy little neighbourhood bakery in some faraway European village.

The Café of Joy, Whitefield is owned and run by Joy Basu, who holds a diploma in baking from the Akademie Deutsches Backerhandwerk, Germany. This management professional-turned-entrepreneur, who lived in Germany for several years, admits that her inspiration was indeed the small town artisanal bakeries of Europe.

Besides a variety of speciality breads, she also has on sale confectionary, beverages, salads, pastry and sandwiches. There is also a hot lunch option that varies from week to week, which is displayed on the glass board at he café.

A cup of steaming hot cappuccino arrives at my table. It is a cold, wet day and the strong, bitter brew is hugely welcome. I sip watching the rain lash against the large windows, leaving behind wet streaks on the glass panes.

I’m soon roused from my reverie as a basket of fresh bread arrives at the table. I take a bite of the date and walnut roll and am floored. The dates confer a subtle sweetness to the bread while the walnuts give it a nice crunch making this bread a clear winner. Next are some exceedingly healthy options—a rustic millet, a German rye roll and a multi-grain three-seeded bread—that manage to tread that fine line between health and taste perfectly. This is followed by a crusty baguette roll—slathered with a nice thick layer of butter, it simply is delicious.

I move to the mains starting with a nicely cooked, well-spiced beef goulash, which comes with a side of sesame sourdough bread. This is followed by a croque Monsieur also on sourdough. Ham and hot melted cheese, how can you go wrong with that?

Next is a chicken meatloaf with Bavarian potato salad. The warm, slightly salty meatloaf is delicious as is the potato salad and I wipe my plate clean with a piece of sourdough bread. There is also a mushroom and caramelised onion quiche — the flaky pastry and the creamy filling complementing each other perfectly.

I’m rather stuffed by now but how can you say no to pizza—especially a German version of it? The Flammkuchen, its thin crust pizza, topped with green pepper, onion marmalade and feta cheese, is delicious and I reach out for seconds without hesitating.

A mind-boggling array of dessert arrives. The first is the celebrated Sacher torte—a dense, rich chocolate cake, layered with apricot jam and dark chocolate icing. Decadent as sin, but oh-so-delicious. Then comes a fresh fruit tart—fresh cream and exotic fruit encased in a flaky pastry leaves you licking your fingers followed by a berry quark cheesecake and apple streusel tart. The cheesecake is much lighter than a regular Philly cheesecake and much less sweet—the tartness of fruit discernible through the layers of cheese. The streusel tart is rather less complicated but nevertheless melt-in-the mouth delicious.

Reeling from the sugar rush, I waddle home. But it really was worth it. The food, the ambience, the variety and the homey aura of the café made the visit there a joy indeed.