Tosca at DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru offers Italian cuisine in an informal setting that also includes al fresco poolside dining.
As we were in town for a few days, we were offered the opportunity to test out their vegan cooking skills and, being lovers of good Italian food, we happily accepted the invitation. We set off to sample a 5 course Vegan Food Quest menu prepared by Chef Jaffrey and his team…
The first little vegan treat delivered to our table was a miniature ‘garden’ of vegetable crudités planted in a ‘soil’ made from a delicious mix of brown lentils, canellini and borlotti beans, and tender petis pois that popped with fresh sweet pea flavours when eaten.
Fresh rosemary and oregano sprigs added both flavour and aroma; the vegetable crudites sprouting from the ‘lentil earth’ were satisfyingly crunchy but it was the rich, well seasoned lentil mix that really stole our hearts.
Our table was full of talk of our first course when a beautiful looking (and smelling) mushroom soup arrived. After initial praise for how good it looked, silence ensued as we began to eat it and were far too busy eating spoonful after spoonful of this gloriously mushroomy soup. It was like eating a warm mushroom velvet; soft and smooth with a bold, earthy mushroom flavour.
Next came the pasta course; a perfectly al dente bowl of linguine. Tossed with toasted pine nuts, juicy baby tomatoes, generous slices of garlic and a sauce made from the creamy flesh of roasted aubergine. We really loved how the sauce had been made from the aubergine and will definitely be trying this ourselves in the future.
Isn’t it great when you get to eat something fabulous but are also inspired to try to cook it yourself? If our creation is half as good as dish we were served, we’ll be very happy!
So much creativity with vegetables so far and not surprisingly, the next course continued along this theme; a cauliflower steak with purees of cauliflower and carrot, topped with sautéed spinach.
A cross section of a whole cauliflower had been chargrilled giving it a great texture (no over boiled tasteless cauliflower here!) as well as a tasty grilled flavour. The purees were both smooth and full of flavour and the well seasoned, iron-packed spinach was the perfect balance to the other vegetables.
As Tosca has a great looking pizza oven, we were happy when we received a pizza bread, topped with fresh tomato sauce and accompanied by chilli oils and tabasco. The base was so light and fresh, the sauce so rich and tangy, that we must admit to eating it all even though we’d polished off 3 courses already.
Last but not least, our dessert arrived in front of us; little did we know but we were about to eat possibly the best vegan ice cream we have ever tried in our whole lives.
We promise that’s not an exaggeration, it was just so awesomely good that we can draw no other conclusion. Accompanied by a caramelised baked apple that had been stuffed with raisins and candied fruit, this amazing coconut ice cream was a true slice of vegan heaven.
Luxuriously smooth and creamy, this wasn’t the watery, icey or ‘gacky’ vegan ice cream that is so often available. It held it’s shape, with a whipped cream, panacotta-esqe texture. We absolutely loved it.
The service was faultless; from the friendly welcome by our hostess as we were shown to our table to our attentive waiter, the service at Tosca was exactly as it should be. Staff were bubbly, efficient and good natured but also gave us enough space to enjoy our meal without feeling hurried.
We were honoured to meet Chef Yuzry who seemed as happy to try out his vegan ideas on us we were to be eating them. We love this kind of positivity from people who are tasked with making our vegan food.
Tosca has a laid back and relaxed feel with mellow lighting and music to match. There is an open kitchen next to a pizza oven where you can watch the delicious pizzas being made. We loved the cool bar and the beautiful view of the pool.
Located on the 7th floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru, it’s easy to get to Tosca in taxi from anywhere central and is just a short walk from the CIQT border crossing with Singapore.
There is a comprehensive drinks menu including vegan beer and cocktails (we sampled their Cosmopolitan and it was great).
Monday to Sunday 11.00 am – 10.30 pm
Make a reservation at Tosca for some great tasting and really creative vegan Italian food.
Don’t forget to ask for the vegan coconut ice cream so you can have your very own slice of vegan heaven.
We were guests of Tosca but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
No. 12 Jalan Ngee Heng,