March 30, 2014

Jojo Jajangmyeon, Mount Tolmie, Victoria

In the variety of shops near my house is a parade of store fronts that used to house the Fired Up paint your own ceramics centre.  I never visited it, because I felt no need to paint my own plates.  The stripey ones I got from Zellers do me just fine.  And cost me much less, even if they do appear in many different kitchens around Canada and the rest of the world.    I have now visited its replacement.  The K-Pub "Jojo Jajangmyeon".

Note first that the Urbanspoon entry has a spelling error in it.  Jajangmyeon is, according to my research, a dish of thick wheat noodles in a soy bean paste sauce.  I am not sure who JoJo is, but they obviously are proud of this dish. So they named their restaurant after it. And myself and the Brunette of my Acquaintance headed there one quiet and raining Saturday night.

Inside, this is a lovely-looking place.  Aesthetically, its got clean modern lines, in the big tables, high backed chairs, the thin dividers and lots of perpendicular lines. There's subtle lights around the bar area pikcing it out as the central focal point, though this is ruined by the flat panel TV above it. Korean (I assume) music plays in the background, not loud enough to interrupt your conversation, but enough to stop you hearing your neighbours talk.

The style is similar to many of the Asian-fusion eateries in town, but it feels like it came from the iPad generation.  Though, that might be the iPads on every table.  On which one orders.  There are two or three sliding doors on one wall which lead to more intimate rooms for groups, and the two front of house staff are left to prep drinks and bring out food from the kitchen.

The menu was limited as they had just re-opened (*).  But there was enough on their to choose a feast from.  Plus I love playing with technology, though I am sure the Brunette would have preferred me to engage in polite conversation.  And the downside of a menu on an ipad... no-ome comes around that you can ask awkward question about the contents of their dishes (everything seems to contain ground pork, by the way).

But we did get the helpful lady over to tell us about the food, and ordered up... no Jajangmyeon, but a seafood Pajeon, white kimchi, rice, and a soft tofu hot pot.  The Pajeon is a large pancake made from egg, wheat flour and rice flour, mixed in with green onions and in this case all sorts of fishy goodness.  Shrimp, calamari, possibly octopus and other shellfish.  It was rich dish, that filled me up a little too far by the end of the meal.  But very moreish.  Easily shared amongst 3-4 less hungry individuals.

The soft tofu hot pot was great.  A spicy, sauce with tofu that had the consistency of a soft poached egg white. And little bits of ground pork. So don't be thinking this is a vegetarian dish.  Really warming on a wet day.  And the white kimchi accompanied it well.  This is pickled cabbage that's not been smothered in a chilli sauce, so it has the damp, acidic crunch but with none of the heat.

It being a Korean-style pub, we ordered beer and sake to go with it.  I got a Black Crown Bud.  Mostly as I had not seen it served anywhere (though that has a lot to do with me only looking at the craft beer normally, and not playing with an iPad to look at every option).  It didn't blow my socks off, but a cold beer with more colour and malt than standard Budweiser, it went very well with this meal.  The Brunette got some warm sake, which was much enjoyed.  I sipped it, and think I prefer my sake cold.  Not that either way is 'traditional', as some foodies will tell you in the more snobby moments.  Drink it how you like it.

Other things on the menu were piles and piles of chicken pieces that were available in massive party platters (several of which disappeared into one of the side rooms). There was a couple of noodle dishes and a Bibimbap.  And that was pretty much it.  Prices were good (we had more than enough food and a drink each for $44). I'd heard quotes of 25-30 dollar dishes, but none of those were on this menu.

I may well go back, even though I can go to Pho-Ever as well for Korean-style food.  I like the ambience, I liked the food, and really should try the signature dish sometime.

Jojo Jajamgmyeon on Urbanspoon

(*) The one worrying part about them just re-opening comes from their facebook page.  A Mr Adams of the CRD Environmental Health board wanted to know when the 'clean out' had taken place from their last inspection.  The day before we visited it appears.  I could read a lot into this, but right now the place is still open, so hopefully this all past them.