Well it has been a beautiful sunny summers weekend and the sun has shone bright and warm… What better way to spend a day by the seaside than a leisurely and imaginative lunch at what is an amazing and well-respected eatery. Having recently been to another seaside eatery with Rocksalt in Folkestone, this one I am glad to report is deserving of your patronage far more than what I experienced at the afore-mentioned.
JoJo’s is basically an informal clifftop eatery on the Tankerton side of Whitstable with lovely sea views. The style of this place is both informal but professional in its approach. It describes itself as Meze, Meat and Fish and it delivers on all fronts.
This visit was planned as a family day out with an older son and his partner who take much pleasure in a simple grazing and sharing meal. Well this place fits the bill perfectly and delivers on every level.
A warm and friendly welcome greeted us in what was initially an empty restaurant. This is something so very simple and so often neglected but here they delivered it in abundance. We had been once before and had a sharing Meze Platter and thought we would order two this time as we had managed to polish one off the last time between the two of us.
They could have just let us ordered the two platters but quickly advised us one would be sufficient along with some of the other dishes on offer. So one Meze platter was ordered and then some five other dishes. Fish Goujons, Courgette Fritters, Smoked Haddock & Leek Croquettes, Pea & Mint Rice Balls, Mini Stuffed Red Peppers.
The Meze Platter is a large wooden board loaded with a range of cured meats, Chorizo, Lomo, Cecina, Serrano Ham and then little dishes of Fresh Tzatziki, Hummus, a potted smoked mackerel dip and a fresh guacamole Some gorgeous Spanish Manchego and Cave Aged Gorgonzola with some gorgeous preserved fruit, Warm Pitta Bread, Crostini and a large bowl of olives complete the board. Produce is top-notch and such simple and well though out presentation make it all a very pleasurable way to kick off a leisurely Sunday lunch.
Our extra platters ordered were beer battered fish goujons, they were to die for, crisp batter and soft succulent fish (haddock) with a lovely tartare sauce.The courgette fritters also in a lovely beer batter and with Parmesan shavings and a garlic mayo dip were also perfectly executed. The mini red peppers were filled with feta cheese and herbs and had a delightful little piquancy as well.
The fish goujons & the courgette fritters… a real triumph with their crisp batter but it was the smoked haddock & leek croquettes and the pea and mint rice balls that stole the show. Little old wooden bread boards came laden with the golden crumb coated spheres. The smoked haddock positively oozed as you cut into them and the lovely smoky fish flavour was a perfect balance of textures and seasoning. The risotto rice balls were equally well made a lovely subtle mint flavour complemented the sweetness of the peas and then the garlic mayo dip provided that extra kick.
By this stage we were then struggling.
JoJo’s was, when it first opened, not licensed so operated a BYO policy. They now have a license but still allow you to BYO so we had lugged along our chosen wines. We decided to go with a bottle of a sweet red wine from our favourite producer Mas Amiel so a portion of their chocolate torte was chosen along with a several spoons. We were drinking a bottle of Mas Amiel Vintage 2005 Maury a beautiful wine that married perfectly with the chocolate torte.
So what made this place work so well and deliver. The food was good, simple and well prepared…great produce that was handled well. We had one small complaint that was handled well with aplomb and professionalism. The service was spot on… they were busy but they provided just the right amount of attention and the banter was warm and friendly that made you feel relaxed.
The total bill came to just under £100 for five of us – outstanding value and well worth the hour plus drive to the place. It is well worth the effort of a long drive and we cannot wait to go back. This is something we cannot say about Rocksalt!
covert by name, covert by nature