The week after New Year typically sees a lot of people going into healthy-eating mode, though whether they actually maintain it for more than a couple of weeks after is an entirely different matter (aye, guilty!). But no matter, early January always feels like a perfect time to introduce some changes, especially after the crass commercialism and excitement of December have taken their toll on you. And losing weight, or simply living a healthier life, is one of the more popular, eh, resolutions.
Which is what makes eating in a restaurant like Juju Eats to start the year feels so… right. The name might probably ring a bell to those who have been fans of the juicing trend, as the restaurant is from the same couple who introduced the Juju Cleanse, a brand of organic juice that’s meant to detoxify the body.
You won’t find anything here other than salads (or their wrap versions) and mostly fruit-based drinks, but don’t let that put you off. Co-owner Katharina Rempe Azanza has said in various interviews that her and her husband’s restaurant is out to change the perception that salads are mainly diet food for the anorexic killjoys. The result is that the salads of Juju Eats aren’t exactly what you expect of salads – sad mixture of greens with minimal calories (and taste) thrown in.
Here, the salads are full of interesting ingredients and can stand as meals by themselves. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can pick your own ingredients (which are displayed in a bar at the counter so you can see firsthand your salad being created) and make your own salad. Alternatively, you can have your salads as wraps, with a choice of either flour or whole wheat tortilla.
The Big Boy Salad, one of the more popular items, is packed with flavor – romaine, grilled chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, sun-dried tomato, grated cheddar, red kidney beans and roasted red pepper, served with French dressing. As the name implies, it’s perfect for gym rats looking to boost their protein intake.
Another bestseller we tried was the Roast Pumpkin, which, for lack of a more sophisticated term in my gastronomically challenged vocabulary, was delicious. A melange of house mix lettuce, roasted pumpkin, feta, bacon, Parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s Mediterranean bliss.
Closer to home, the restaurant does a great rendition of pork barbecue with their Inasal Salad – house mix, pork inasal, green mango, feta, cherry tomato, red onion, hard-boiled egg and balayan dressing. We tried the wrap version and thought that the tortilla did a good job packing in the rich taste of the balayan, a sauce made from anchovies and fermented for four to six months in clay jars.
The prices are a little bit higher than the usual fast food items, but it’s worth the extra money especially if you feel like atoning for ingesting too many calories over the Christmas break. True, some of the items are not low-calorie dishes, as Azanza pointed out, but at least they’re good calories, and you’re inspiring yourself to eat more healthily.
Now, you can wash it all down with a bottle of Juju Cleanse and your diet sins will be absolved.
G/F, BCS Building, 2297
Chino Roces Ave, Makati
(02) 551 3968