‘Let's play a game,’ one of the staff says as
she balances shot glasses of soju on the edges
of beer glasses at our table. We learn that
these are soju bombs to the soundtrack of
‘Apache’ pumping out from the speakers at
full volume, with Biggie and Nicki Minaj to
follow. A quiet night out JUJU is not.
Powered by restaurateur Mark Klingspon
(The Nest, The Cannery, Rye & Co), the
Korean barbecue spot at Three on the
Bund is lively, over-the-top and a little bit
Almost in an act of defiance, brightly
coloured graffiti murals have been spray-painted
directly onto carefully wrought
brushed metal walls, originally fitted out
by architect power couple Neri & Hu for
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s upscale Korean
barbecue restaurant. Scratched table tops
and well-worn sunken seating leftover
from Chi-Q and then short-lived high-end
Japanese yakiniku restaurant Kanpai
Classic feel almost subversive for the fancy,
fancy Bund. Not everything great has to be
new and shiny, now does it?
machines, booze fridges and live octopus
tanks are scattered throughout the space.
Drinks are cheap. Highballs for 30RMB. Jinro soju
for 50RMB. A three-litre keg of Kirin for 200RMB. Red
plastic trash bins to collect your empties are by each
table, indicating how much fun your night contained.
The menu’s a laminated one-page affair. All-you-can-eat barbecue takes the limelight with as much
pork, beef and veggie plates as you can stomach for 288RMB a head. Throw cuts like pork belly
and beef brisket strips on the table grill
until you’re bursting, or if you’re not keen
on the meat sweats, order à la carte meat for
98RMB a plate and add on premium cuts for
extra. Beyond the grilled meat, a selection
of banchan (on-the-house side dishes) like
unexpectedly good potato salad and kimchi
help fill out the table.
Elsewhere on the menu, tuck into riffs on
Korean comfort and street food: jeon (fried
pancakes), odeng (fish cake skewers), jjigae
(stews) and bibimbap (mixed rice). Spicy is
unabashedly spicy at JUJU. Sinus-clearing
tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes, 38RMB)
come swimming in gochujang chilli paste
sauce, and make sure to get the combo
platter (88RMB) of Korean fried chicken –
you’ll be chasing the eye-wateringly hot ‘Fire’ variety
with bites of the classic fried chicken, which feels both
very wrong and very right. A punishingly spicy chilli
pepper soft-serve ice cream (38RMB) at the meal’s end is
But while some things might hurt at JUJU – your
hangover, for one – the final bill does not. Good value,
great vibes: we’ll drink another soju bomb to that.
Dinner for two: around 600RMB.
By Cat Nelson