You know that bit in that Simpsons episode ‘Lisa the Vegetarian’- the school information film ‘Meat and You, Partners in Freedom’, where actor Troy McClure* runs his finger along the spine of a cow, as you would the rim of a mixing bowl, then sucks it and pronounced it delicious?
Yep, that’s basically me.
So a cafe which not only comes recommended by a vegan friend, but also majors in juice cleanses and has ‘healing teas’ and chia seeds on tap should be beyond the purview of this blog, right?
Well, only if you believe that restaurants should be polarised, that a kitchen which takes a pride in its largely vegetarian and vegan menu, must naturally flee from flesh. That a commitment to meat free cookery and a belief in the health benefits of this choice, means you offer nothing for those who don’t share your opinions.
Here’s a radical idea- how about offering something of equal quality, something you’re equally proud of, for everyone? Something for strict vegans, for vegetarians, for those who love a great beefburger too?
Or as they pithily put it here, “Vegans don’t always marry vegans. Or have vegan kids”.
Besides, anywhere which promises “all the goodness and naughtiness you desire under one roof” is worth a look. And as someone who can resist everything except temptation, this speaks to me on an almost visceral level.
A freshly-squeezed pineapple, orange and apple juice was just the ticket on an unexpectedly balmy Spring afternoon. While we waited I took a squint at some of the sporting memorabilia- signed shirts from everywhere from LA Galaxy to Ipswich Town, via the England Cricket Team- and the quirky furnishings, including giant cushions made from band t-shirts stuffed and stitched shut. My daughter slept particularly soundly on a Foo Fighters effort, which shows she needs some further refinement in her musical leanings. Still, she’s young.
They also do a whopper of a burger. Several whoppers. The Classic comes in handmade 4oz and 6oz sizes, the patty densely packed but still juicy. It’s a lot of a burger.
The BDC doubles up on the 6oz patties- made here, each as thick as your thumb- and loads up on with cheese and bacon. It’s a hefty proposition, and comes with skinny, skin-on fries. The patties- for an easy local reference point, think Got Beef- are well-seasoned, full of flavour and have that lovely irregularity you only get from the handmade burger.
In practice, ‘sizeable’ is underselling it a tad. I tried to eat it the right way, I really did: two hands, no cutlery. But the height of the thing meant I was reduced to taking bites at an angle, hoping to render the whole thing manageable by stages.
I failed. Don’t judge. I had to admit surrender, cut it in half and turn it sideways.
The bread is ciabatta style. It’s an unusual but wise choice- sturdy to contain the prodigious amount of filling, sure, but crisp and light enough to do the job without ever feeling doughy or heavy. A brioche wouldn’t be up to the job of soaking up those burgery juices, slowly losing the unequal battle before falling apart in your hands in inconvenient, unedifying, and downright annoying surrender.
I didn’t eat again that day.
A curried chickpea wrap was a zingy thing, laced with raita- warming with spice, substantial yet somehow light.
Don’t fancy a bun with your burgers and chips? Have them sliced, in a wrap.
We didn’t order anything further, because I couldn’t find ‘An Afternoon Nap’ on the menu. But we’ll certainly be back- I was very much taken with the offbeat charms of BJs and its insistence on ambling along in its own groove. Their insistence on offering something interesting for everyone is refreshing: let’s hope it catches on. Besides, I’ve already got my eye on something they do with laver bread…
*you may remember him from such educational films as
Two Minus Three Equals Negative Fun! and Firecrackers: The Silent Killer
BJs Burger Bar and Juice Bar
Unit 12 Freemans Industrial Estate,
10am – 6pm Monday
10am – 6pm Tuesday
10am – 6pm Wednesday
10am – 6pm Thursday
10am – 6pm Friday
10am – 6pm Saturday
Closed – Sunday
YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY:
This blog is a very simple thing.
I won’t try to sell you any hand lotion, exercise programmes, coffee syrups or Patagonian nose flutes. You won’t find tips on dating, ‘wellness’ or yoga mats.
I write because I love it (and food, as indicated by my increasing girth). Greed happens to be my Deadly Sin of choice, but at least it is never shy of providing me with subject matter.
A simple thing, then: all you get is me wittering on semi-coherently about places I’ve eaten at; hence a ‘restaurant blog’ rather than a ‘food blog’, although there are a few recipes scattered throughout.
From mezze to Michelin ‘fine dining’ and all points in between.