Food review: Tasty food and a vibrant setting for the whole family
I’ve had some great restaurant experiences in Lichfield. It’s a city where I’ve always thought you can find somewhere to suit numerous occasions or tastes.
So, if I was heading out for something a little bit more special with my partner Amy, we might, say, book a table at Ego or Bistro 1709.
I’ve also enjoyed a nice meal at 55 Wade Street and, when tempted by a curry, have headed straight to the Bengal Restaurant.
But, when heading out as a family – with 11-year-old daughter Eleanor in tow, I’ve always felt that sometimes you want something away from the usual McDonald’s visit. As she is a pasta lover, we have previously taken Eleanor to Pizza by Goli.
But on a pleasant evening recently, while taking a stroll around the city centre, we found a new location to try and, it’s fair to say, as a place for a family meal, it quickly won me over.
A stone’s throw away from the main food hub of the city in Bird Street, it could be easy to overlook the Jungle Street Kitchen, but that would be a mistake.
The cosy restaurant offers something different to other venues in Lichfield, with a vibrant atmosphere that’s popular with the locals.
You don’t always have to book, but it certainly pays to do so, especially on more popular evenings.
The restaurant’s main attraction during the day is its selection of bubble or boba teas, with a good range of flavours and options on bobas to choose from.
If you’ve never tried bubble tea before then give it a whirl.
They also have an impressive range of non-alcoholic cocktail options which means that anyone driving doesn’t have to stick to a Diet Coke for once.
Beautifully presented, Jungle Street Kitchen proves you can still have exciting drinks even if you don’t want to have alcohol.
You can even opt for a hot drink to go with your meal, so it really does cater brilliantly for teetotalers.
However, if you do want a tipple, the venue has a bring-your-own-drinks policy which makes it easier to keep the costs down (or spend more on your food).
I loved the vibe and decor inside the place – the bright colours caught my attention as we walked along Bore Street. Your eyes are drawn to all quarters inside the restaurant, whether reflecting on the bright streets, colourful parrots, hanging from the ceilings, plus monkeys and green vines twisting their way up the walls from floor to ceiling.
And, of course, there’s a striking and very colourful mural of a tiger, which really stood out to me and having such sights around you really made this place stand out.
The menu is extensive with a plethora of options on offer – and all promising something a little different.
You make your order at the bar, which can be confusing to a first-time visitor, but the main issue is deciding what to eat.
There’s no pretension – this is street food with the bonus of a sit-down and a roof over your head.
And with a range of cuisines on offer, from Mexican, Indian to Caribbean, it’s a bit like having a whole food festive in one venue.
We decided, on this occasion, not to go for a three-course style sit down, preferring to choose a main and pudding and leaving the starter.
But, had we wanted to do so, there were a number of ‘Street Starters’ which caught the eye, providing temptation.
I particularly liked the sound of Lava Lava, medium spiced potato, cheese and jalapeno patties, dipped in chickpea batter, deep fried and served with a salsa fesca.
You could opt for nachos while Crazy Chaat also sounded nice – a smashed crisp vegetable samosa, puffed rice, chopped onions, tomatoes and a sweet and sour chutney.
However, we went straight for the mains and I went traditional, with a burger. There were some great options but I plumped for a Texas Smash Burger which included a lamb patty, hash brown, bacon, salad, cheese and mayonnaise in a brioche bun, served with chips and coleslaw.
This was a decent burger overall, with plenty of different textures on the palate and a bit of a kick to it.
My partner Amy decided to go for one of their specials, JSK’s Crunchy Fish.
Made with Tilapia fish, which is fried in their own batter recipe, it’s served simply with chipotle mayonnaise and some decent, chunky chips.
The mild flavoured fish allows the spices from the batter to shine, and what’s not to love about chips?
There was incidentally, a good kids’ menu. The Jungle Street Kitchen says: ‘Our kids’ menu has something for even the fussiest of eaters and always goes down a storm!’.
And, to be fair, I’d agree. It was good value at £7 for a main, scoop of ice cream and drink and the selection was extensive, with options such as butter chicken and jungle rice, crunchy fish fingers, sausage and chips and a lamb patty burger with chips.
Eleanor plumped for grilled chicken and chips and it won her approval which is no mean feat as she’s generally pasta obsessed.
The dessert options are less extensive, but by no means anything to be sniffed at.
As a creature of habit, I quickly settled on the New York Cheesecake and this came well presented – looking good and tasting even better. It’s fair to say, a restaurant shouldn’t go wrong with something like a cheesecake and that was the case. A solid 8/10 effort!
Each day there’s a different selection of cakes, as well as a strong display of pudding classics.
It was one of these that my partner chose to round off her meal, selecting a slice of coffee cake.
Soon after ordering, a mini slab of cake arrived in front of her. A chocolate-covered coffee bean topped off this moreish offering.
It had a good coffee flavour, not too artificial, and just the right about of ‘squishiness’.
The main complaint? It wasn’t big enough, but all the best things leave you wanting more.
And we could say that about Jungle Street Kitchen. With a wide range of options on the menu, this place will certainly be worth a second outing.
To find out more, visit https://www.junglestreetkitchen.co.uk/