Restaurant Review: Restaurant Review
After you're finished looking through kitschy playthings at Toy Joy, visit their connected cafe, Dhaba Joy, for vegan soft serve and baked goods
Reviewed by Daniel Mottola, Fri., Dec. 7, 2007
Dhaba Joy2900 Guadalupe, 320-0705, www.dhabajoy.com
Monday-Thursday, 9am-11pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-12mid
Next time you're picking up a set of fake mustaches or Chinese finger traps over at Toy Joy, the Austin institution of kitschy playthings at the corner of 29th and Guadalupe, your revisitation of childhood bliss will be incomplete if you don't venture around back to Dhaba Joy, their equally jubilant cafe and bakery. There, you'll find healthier versions of youthful treats like cupcakes, oatmeal pies, muffins, and soft serve, as well as a unique selection of smoothies, fresh juices, vegan sandwiches, and a full array of espresso and coffee drinks.
The word "dhaba" is a variation on an Indian term referring to a food kiosk or an eatery more devoted to its cuisine than its atmosphere. By no means blah inside, the cafe maintains Toy Joy's fun standard of aesthetic overstimulation. Dhaba Joy serves up one of Austin's foremost selections of vegan and gluten-free treats, offering a refreshing departure from the wheat and dairy domination of typical bakery/cafe fare. Their vegan Oatscreme is a novel take on soft serve that's made from oat flour. For lunch, Dhaba Joy's tempeh unchicken salad sandwich is flavorful and fresh. Another morning, I nibbled a top-notch, flaky, vegan scone while sipping their equally pleasing Cuvée organic, fair-trade coffee as I chatted with manager Scout Phillips. "It's either a good muffin or not," she said. "There's no such thing as a good vegan muffin." Phillips, herself allergic to dairy, hopes to add more gluten-free items to the cafe's all-vegan bakery case. She said Dhaba Joy's vegan food menu is set to grow, too, including additional seasonal soups and a holiday Tofurky sandwich with cranberry dressing. For a full menu, visit their website.