According to the oracle that is Google, the restaurant at the centre of this week's review doesn't exist. Or at least, I can only find one other blog post which references it. No Facebook page or any anything else. The odds of a location not being found on Google is highly unlikely, so I can only assume that the error lies with me and I am somehow remembering Jojo's incorrectly.
I do know however, that I have eaten twice recently in Jojos, so unless I am transitioning to some parallel dimension when I walk down Parnell Street, it most definitely does exist, and it is most definitely very good. There's clearly been some investment in the interior with black marble topped tables and movable extraction flues to position over the traditional BBQs and hotspots. It's a far call from the first Chinese restaurants which opened on Parnell Street.
Over the course of our two visits, we got to try a good selection of dishes. We haven't yet tried the hotpot or BBQ options, which are very popular with the large groups of Asians I've seen in the restaurant. Leaf buns, filled with fresh shredded green vegetables were steamed and then pan-fried, but could have benefited from a side portion of dipping sauce. There's a wide range of spicy BBQ skewers available including chicken gizzards and hearts, but we stuck with the more familiar options of chicken and lamb, flavoured with chili and cumin seeds.
|Chicken and lamb BBQ skewers|
I did ask if the Chongqing chicken could be prepared off the bone, only to be met by a resounding "NO". Much as I love this style of cooking, the thought of biting into a piece of chicken bone unnerves me. I ordered regardless and was rewarded by a dish of intensely deep-fried, crispy chicken pieces with a scattering of fermented beans, chills and other tasty additions. Even with careful inspection for bone pieces, we still cleared the plate.
Cumin beef was tender with moist chunks of beef mixed through with cumin and coriander stalks. Deep-fried fish were topped with a richly flavoursome sauce of ginger, Chinese pork, fermented beans and dried mushrooms. Once the fish was all gone, I scooped tablespoons of this addictive sauce into my rice bowl to make sure that I got every last bit.
A dish of pork fat and deep-fried tofu was questioned by our waiter who didn't think it would suit our western tastes. To be fair, he did this in a very nice way, but we were rewarded with a clay bowl of fatty belly pork pieces in a rich red broth with cabbage leaves and bean sprouts.
|Chongqing chicken (on the bone)|
|Fried fish with Chinese pork and mushrooms|
|Fried green beans with minced pork|
|Pork fat and fried tofu|
I sometimes find the Chinatown restaurants to be hit and miss. By this I mean that I will get wonderful, flavoursome authentic dishes on one visit, only to get the "Westernised', gloopy version on the next visit. I don't know why this happens, but it's so far, so very good at Jojos. All dishes that we had were under €10 in price and the portions are more than ample. The heat levels are not very high at Jojos either, which would suit people who would to explore authentic Chinese food.
|The bill from our second visit to Jojos|
Jojo's, Parnell Street, Dublin 1.
Contact details unknown!