Juju's Korean BBQ adds flair to Bund dining
Three on the Bund is welcoming a new South Korean barbecue concept Juju, in place of its Taiwanese yakiniku restaurant Kanpai Classic.
The venue still retains the general design and layout, by Neri&Hu, but adds a new bold layer with a graffiti wall.
Vandal, a first generation graffiti artist from South Korea, was commissioned to create an art wall inside the restaurant — his views on the city of Seoul.
Nineties Hip Hop, graffiti art and plates, commonly used in South Korea’s local market, introduces some flair to the Bund’s fine dining scene.
There is no wine list and there’s only one simple menu. But at an average price of around 330 yuan, it’s not your typical evening on the Bund.
The menu emphasizes a free-flow barbecue at a reasonable 288 yuan per person. There is a selection of typical, strong-flavored South Korean staples, including spicy stir-fried rice cakes and comfortable stews. The menu is rather straight-forward, yet the team, headed by a South Korean chef, has made a meticulous effort to provide a different, refreshing experience rivalling most of its South Korean counterparts in the city.
Instead of making cocktails on the existing bar counter, odeng (fishcake) stick and spicy rice cakes are made, reminiscent of a typical Seoul street food bar. Live octopus is available in the restaurant’s seafood tanks, but you need to arrive early if you want to try some wriggling live octopus sashimi. They sell out quickly.
I started my fun night by trying the fishcake stick, rice cake, octopus scallion pancake and South Korean soybean paste stew, and they were all delicious. Octopus scallion pancake was my favorite.
Usually seafood pancake in South Korea is more doughy with lots of flour. But since there was water coming out of the octopus, the texture was not very crispy.
Nonetheless, the Juju kitchen twists conventional cooking methods and the dish turned out perfect, with crispy pancake and tender octopus and shrimp on top.
The free-flow BBQ is not to be missed. There are three different cuts of pork and three different beef choices to select from, plus a few small, shared side dishes (banchan) and a bucket of vegetables. The different cuts of meat are meant to be eaten separately. For example, the staff will guide you to grill pork belly and cabbage kimchi together, so the high acidity from kimchi perfectly balances with the pork belly fat. Brisket strips, however, were my favorite cut.
Juju expects everyone to eat and drink like South Koreans. Only beer and soju are recommended to go with the BBQ.
Juju is in the opening stage so there is still room for service training. But food wise, it’s delicious and affordable.
Opening hours: 5:30pm-1am (Tuesday-Thursday); 5:30pm-2am (Friday, Saturday); 5:30pm-midnight (Sunday)
Address: 2/F, Three on the Bund, 3 Zhongshan Rd E1
Average price: 330 yuan (US$47.1)