The front of the menu at Ju Ju’s reads ‘Welcome to Ju Ju’s’ in large font. Rarely has such a statement been so simple yet so accurate. Its a place where the worst of people could go in and leave smiling. I know this because I have been and I fall very much into that worst category. It does not offer much to the culinary world other than a big hug and a kiss to the forehead, but that’s fine with me; comfort is underrated is modern cooking. Flavour is too often sacrificed for finesse, heartiness lost to dainty dressing. Not here. At Ju Ju’s Julia is boss and her world is about feeding others.
We find Ju Ju’s tucked away in a canal basin stacked high with glossy residential apartments, five minutes walk away from Brindley Place. Its not an easy place to find, though others seemingly have with ease and the place is thriving late into Saturday brunch. From the three dishes we order (two from the mains, one from the breakfast for my girlfriend who is still to wake up) the trio of pies impresses least. The Shepherds pie works well with its topping of crisped potato cubes and well balanced mince ragu, the cottage pie on similar ground with a less successful topping of under-seasoned mash. The cheese and onion pie is the disappointment; good puff pastry opening up to a watery and salty interior that remained uneaten.
Fortunately everything else was far better. The breakfast hash was a finely diced mix of the good stuff. Bits of sausage meat, onion and potato, topped with a couple of fried eggs that gradually find their way into the nooks of the frying pan when released. It feels value at £8.50, too, unless you opt to add grated cheese for a scandalous £2.50 extra. The main courses finish with a burger filled to the brim with a tangle of ham hock and braised belly that’s been bound in a hollandaise the right side of sharp. A mound of braised red cabbage at the base of the bun is the perfect foil for both the meat and hollandaise. There is a dusting of bacon bits because there always should be. Its all bloody delicious. If you have one dish when you come here, make it this.
With portions this size it was of no surprise that there was no room for dessert, leaving us to pay the bill and head home. Ju Ju’s isn’t rewriting any cookery books any time soon, but it will feed you for a fair price and leave you with a belly full of food and a smile on your face. The constant table turning during our lunch is a testament that others feel the same way. Sometimes you just need an honest feed and Ju Ju’s knows how to do that very well.