Back in the day of big hair, fluro colours, shoulder pads and fingerless gloves, Jo Jo’s was the place to hang out with your friends on a Friday night. Located right in the centre of the Queens Street mall, the balcony was the perfect place for people watching and pizza.
It had been twenty years since my last visit, so I was a little unsure about what to expect on a recent visit with a large group of friends. You still enter under the rainbow sign and up the escalator. At the top, the restaurant opens up to reveal white marble floors and counter tops, fairy lights, neon signs and bling as far as your eye can see. There is so much to take in; pop art on the walls, silver sculptures on the counters, LCD tvs on the walls. It’s over the top in a fun way and represents the Stefan brand well.
The menu is huge and caters for every taste from pizza and steak, to pasta and asian flavours. The only problem with this is not every meal arrives at the table at the same time.
Our large table started with breads and dips and Jo Jo’s garlic pizza. A simple topping of mozzarella, parmeasan, garlic and olive oil. The bread and dips were tasty and fresh. The pizza looked great but lacked flavour.
For main I chose the lamb ragu ($24) and Al ordered the prawn gnocchi ($25). The lamb was tender, the pappardelle pasta nicely cooked but the sauce lacked a depth of flavour that you expect in a ragu. The gnocchi was over cooked but the prawns were tasty. We probably should have gone with steak as I’ve heard friends say the steak at Jo Jo’s is as good, if not better, than some of the best steakhouses in Brisbane.
Although I didn’t taste them, the Laksa curry noodle soup looked great as did the Pad Thai. Jo Jo’s has recently opened a chocolate and waffle bar but we didn’t indulge on this occasion. If you are a lover of cocktails, the list is pretty impressive and reasonably priced at $16 although they do have daily specials for $12. You can also get a Sirlion, chips and a glass of beer or wine for $18. Coffee is by boutique roastery Blue Sky Coffee.
Jo Jo’s is not the first place I think of for CBD dining but for a large group with different tastes and budgets, it’s a good option and the people watching from the balcony is first class.
1st Floor, Cnr Queen St Mall & Albert Steet