brindley place

Ju Ju’s Cafe, Birmingham

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.

032

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.

033

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.

034

036

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.

7/10

Ju Ju's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Cau, Birmingham

Today it’s a whistle-stop visit at Cau, a new South American style steakhouse in Brindley Place. Inside the monochrome interior is broken up by lucid green wallpaper that echoes grass, whilst clouds dangle from the high ceiling. Its an odd space, seemingly kitsch and intent on dividing opinion. With little time to wonder around the menu, we plunge straight in to the beef for mains. The cow, or cau as they would have it, would prove to be very good, maybe even surprisingly so, full of deep bovine flavour from an animal properly sauced and hung. The sirloin appeared central to the plate with no accompaniments – a ballsy move that lives or dies on the quality and cooking of the meat. It was cooked rare as requested, and correctly rested so that the meat juices had remained where they should be and not on the plate. The seasoning was exact and the flavour of the cow good. It was hard not to be impressed and impossible not to love. On the side came chips the size of a fat mans thumb, which were crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle. At fifteen quid it was a serious bargain.

045

047

A burger also impressed.  Stacked high, the patty came pink as requested, with an onion ring, American cheese and piquant ketchup.  What made it was the addition of sticky bits of braised short rib, that reinforced the bovine flavour and added a subtle fattiness.  It wasn’t easy to eat, but then the best things never are.  More of those fat chips and another fifteen quid left us replete and pleased with the afternoons work.

046

We never took desserts, though the website shows some interesting options.  Perhaps next time, eh, when I can also explore a seemingly well crafted list of Malbecs.  Cau impressed for having a product that far exceeds the mid price range it promotes.  And they deliver via those efficient scooter boys over at Deliveroo, which makes that steak / burger dinner at home all the more luxurious.   I normally insist on several dishes before I can give a score,though in this instance I can confidently say that if you’re looking for a lump of Cau, you’ve come to the right place.

8/10

Cau Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato