It’s Pizzaboy’s birthday and I surprise him with a visit to one of his favourite restaurants, Ju Ju. Ever since I’ve started blogging its been rare that we visit a place twice and even rarer for us to visit our old favourites.
Descending the stairs you are forgiven in thinking that you have been teleported to a japanese izakaya in Osaka, Japan. Ju Ju is very charming with its wooden layout and sunken tables. Its huge menu ranges from sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki, grilled dishes, a vast array of japanese beer and a dizzying amount of small plates.
Be warned – you must remove your shoes before entering the premises, so wear your nicest socks and if need be, bring along some foot deodorant.
Bubble Butt and Miss South Africa (a married couple who keeps us laughing until our tummies hurt) join us to wish Pizzaboy a Happy Birthday.
Pizzaboy takes reign of the menu and orders all his favourites. He prefers ordering many of the small plates (tapas-style), trying to maximise the opportunity to taste as many dishes as possible. Bubble Butt and Miss South Africa are overwhelmed and leave the ordering up to us.
One of the things that he really loves is Yukke. This japanese version of steak tartare is a curious mix of raw beef, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, seaweed, spring onions and egg yolk. Pizzaboy breaks the egg yolk with his chopstick and swirls it around the beef and seaweed strips. Pizzaboy and I take the first bites and sigh, this dish is reliably good and very tasty. Bubble Butt is reluctant and takes a small bit. Miss South Africa follows and they are surprised that it is not as bad as they thought it would be. In fact, I think they are enjoying it!
The Salmon Carpaccio is a fusion mix of salmon sashimi, finely fried onions, mustard leaves and wasabi mayonnaise. The salmon sashimi is thinly sliced, fresh and succulent. The fried onions with the mustard leaves enhances the fresh taste of the salmon and the wasabi mayonnaise lifts the entire morsel to unbelievable gastronomic pleasure. We all really enjoy this dish and discuss a second order.
The Wagyu Rump Steak arrives at our table. Bubble Butt has never tasted the many wonders of the this particular breed of cattle and he breathes a sigh of relief that the moment has finally arrived. We all watch in anticipation to his reaction… “Awww. Now that’s my kind of steak. Meaty. Full of flavour. It is so soft. That tastes so good.” We dig into the pre-sliced steak and marvel at the tasty mound of mash potato sitting in the corner of the plate.
For $25 a steak, this must be the best value Wagyu steak in Sydney.
The yakitori arrive and and we all take one stick each. The meat falls off the stick and is dripping with the sauce. Everyone can’t believe how soft and tasty the grilled chicken meat is. I slowly eat it, so that I can prolong the enjoyment. Pizzaboy gobbles down the entire contents in one single bite. A classic example of the difference between male and female foodies.
We are only half way through eating the other dishes when the giant platter of sushi and sashimi is placed on our table. We must play plate tetris to accomodate for its massive size.
Miss South Africa marvels at the artistic plating of the sashimi, “It’s too pretty to eat!”
We politely ask each other which pieces are our favourites and divide the selections between what we prefer. Miraculously everyone gets their fair share and at the end of it Bubble Butt and Miss South Africa declare themselves full.
My bottomless stomach and Pizzaboy’s growing foodie appetite is not content with what we have so far eaten. So we scour the menu and point out a couple more dishes and another serving of the fabulous Wagyu Rump Steak.
I can’t help but point out the deep fried fish with cheese. Pizzaboy and I love deep fried cheese so we automatically order a plate of this. When it arrives at the table we all thought it looked like deep fried tofu.
It appears to have a tempura-like batter and is lightly deep-fried and large in size. It was quite tricky picking it up with my chopsticks, so I stab it with one chopstick and balance it with the other. The fish aspect of it is more like a cylindrical fish ball, hollowed out and stuffed with tasty cheese. It is the perfect kind of japanese fusion, trashy food that I am am addicted to. Pizzaboy chows down on this without concern that it may burn the roof of his mouth.
The karaage chicken arrives at our table mid deep-fried fish mania and we are all feeling overwhelmed. Pizzaboy and I are starting to to feel the effects of overeating and gaze at the plate of beautifully crispy chicken. Miss South Africa takes the first bite, “How do they get it so crunchy?” Bubble Butt continues the praises, “Aww, that’s my kinda chicken.”
The meat is moist, the batter is crispy and it has the much sort after ear-shattering crunch. The kewpie mayonnaise adds to the indulgent nature of the dish and we are all feeling stuffed to the brim.
After much laughter and beers we come to realise that we’ve been holed up in our little booth for more than 3 hours. Time flies when you’re with good company. Other patrons have come and gone, dirty dishes have been collected and the Mardi Gras parade continues outside. We do not feel rushed by the staff and could’ve stayed to the crack of dawn.
Happy Birthday Pizzaboy! Keep the cheezy pizza’s coming, I like them.
Kingsgate Shopping Centre
Shop 320, Bayswater Rd
Kings Cross NSW 2011
Phone (02) 9357 7100
Tue-Thu & Sun 6.30-11.30pm
Open microphone karaoke after 10pm… if your game.Please share this:
Richard ElliotApril 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm
Looks fantastic! Reminds me of some of the great food I had in Tokyo.
mademoiselle délicieuseApril 16, 2010 at 11:32 pm
I unfortunately have a sore throat at the moment but that doesn’t stop me drooling over that karaage chicken! Been to Ju Ju many times over the years and it’s always a great place to gather with a group of friends =)
Amy @ cookbookmaniacApril 17, 2010 at 12:36 am
Hi Richard. It is exactly like the pubs in Japan. I really adore this place and wish nothing but the best for it. Perhaps we can have a foodie feast there one day and reminisce about cherry blossoms and kachinko machines 😀
Welcome back mademoiselle délicieuse! I’ve missed you dearly. Congrats on the wedding! Please show me pics! We really must meet up one day over karaage chicken.
foodwinkApril 17, 2010 at 7:52 am
Ok, I’m sold. I’ve never been to Juju but it’s now on my “hit” list 🙂
minaApril 17, 2010 at 8:23 am
it all looks so amazing! hope we can make it there.
Conor @ HoldtheBeefApril 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm
I’ve fallen in love with this place from your post. I can totally understand why it’s a favourite. So glad you managed to squeeze in some chicken karaage at the end 😀
joey@FoodiePopApril 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Go the wagyu! Looks so meatalicious. Must have some now!
tangerine eatsApril 18, 2010 at 12:40 am
the salmon carpaccio looks so scrumptious! i love tokyo 🙂
tasteofbeirutApril 18, 2010 at 8:05 am
My brother is in Japan sending us mails on how great the country is and I was clueless; thanks to you, now I have an idea of what he and his family may be sampling before heading back to Singapore.
SKApril 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm
Great food pics!
I love the special seats in JuJu where it’s almost like you’re sitting on the floor.
SarahApril 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm
Yes I’ve heard JuJu is good!! And been there for work and the staff are nice, but it was only a meeting, so I still haven’t tried the food. Thanks for posting!!!
peachkinsApril 19, 2010 at 10:20 am
Stunning yummy photos!
bettyApril 19, 2010 at 11:30 am
mm great photos! i totally love the dinner booths here!
u didnt karaoke?? 😛
pandaApril 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm
i love the yukke here! the first time i came here was for a friend’s 21st and i remember how much fun it was with the karaoke and trying to get a photo with the waiter that looks like brad pitt – any chance he still works there?
AngieApril 20, 2010 at 12:04 am
Ooooo Ryan would like this, he still talks about his Japan trip (2-3 years ago mind you). We havn’t quite found a Jap place as authentic.
mashiApril 21, 2010 at 8:37 am
looks delicious, I’m going to make a trip there to try it out soon, esp the wagyu steak. The karaage chicken looks fantastic too. Great review x
ForagerApril 22, 2010 at 9:32 am
Mmmm.. it’s only 9:30am but I am seriously craving some yukke now! *drool*
I agree the Japanese version is my favourite – although there’s somethign to be said for chopped cornichons. Maybe someone should do a fusion of the 2?
Miss FeathersNovember 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm
You can never go wrong with karaage chicken and Japanese beer! It’s like kfc, but better! I agree with the fab presentation of the food. We had shocking service the night we went there, as I think the staff were a little overwhelmed, however, I’ll still go back to try it again, as we just had too much fun there not to!