Ju ju’s Cafe – Canal Square, Browning Street
For a classy brunch, head to Ju ju’s Cafe. People really really love Ju ju’s, raving about its quality food, independent Brum credentials, and beautiful canalside location. Time to check out the hype.
The cafe is set in the middle of the expensive piles of flats built around the Oozells Street Loop off the old James Brindley Main Line canal. The decor uses the canal as an atmospheric backdrop rather than for inspiration; the views from the windows on two sides are tranquil and charming, always peaceful as the canal is the only thoroughfare in this direction, so only boats and pedestrians use the swooping white bridge opposite. Inside, tartan covered chairs, chandelier lighting, chalk paint facebook adverts, and a wall of wine crates manage to look smart and modern.
Saturday lunchtime, the cafe was buzzing: some couples, some groups of friends, but all beautifully stylish. The waiter, sporting a distinctive watch with exposed internal mechanisms, was attentive, if slightly rushed off his feet. When my tea arrived, I was about to be grumpy that a seemingly nice venue with table service wouldn’t give you a teaspoon, when he rushed the missing implement over with an apology. Tea comes with milk already added. No tea pot or milk jug here, which feels a bit out of whack with the rest of the ambiance – I like making my own cup of tea to my own ideas of strength and milkiness.
Ju ju’s is too trendy to serve eggs Benedict; you choose ‘eggs Beni’ if you fancy muffin, bacon and egg here. The eggs were cooked perfectly, slightly runny yolk but not too much. The bacon was thick and tense. The hollandaise was a solid, creamy consistency. Possibly the very pale muffins could have done with some more time under the grill; underdone muffins tend to wilt under hollandaise and turn mushy.
The full English proved too much for one man to eat. All the key ingredients were present and correct, and the review came back as ‘solid, very nice.’ For once, leaving half of it was a compliment, rather than a criticism; there was just so much food on this plate!
The toilet is one of the oddest surprises about this brunch venue. There is only one unisex room, busily decorated with plants, photographs, chandeliers, French-style mirrors, Trip Advisor framed reviews, and stuffed heart-shaped light pulls. It has two doors, although the other door – too far away to slam it shut with your foot should someone try to come in unexpectedly – reassures you that it will always remain locked. Ominously, there is no sanitary disposal bin at all, instead just a normal bin, which doesn’t seem adequate.
Price: pricey: £8.50 full Monty, £8.50 eggs Beni, £2.80 brioche bun
Atmosphere and design: modern design, buzzing clientele
Food: good quality ingredients, the brioche toast was a delight, and the muffin lightly underdone
Toilets: enormous and heavily decorated, although only one unisex room. No sanitary disposal bin.
Enjoyment: great location by the canal, attentive service, good food – sign me up to go back and try dinner as well