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.