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Ask For Janice

By Lori on Aug 22 2014

Ask for Janice.. It was always going to be cool with a name like that, wasn't it? This place is truly a hidden gem and really worth travelling to if it isn't along your daily footpath (being based in central - it takes a special place for us venture east!)

As you walk in, it takes a few minutes to grasp whether it's a coffee shop, bar or restaurant. With an inviting worn in leather sofa, a fully stacked gin bar and mismatched tables filled with people and food, it delivers something for every hour of your day be it breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The interior is an art lovers dream, from brick face walls to graffiti, an original Damien Hirst print and a double wall commission by modern day renaissance man, Kid Acne. There is also a secret downstairs bar, which took a few trips to find as the door is hidden within the brick wall (SO COOL).

As V and I took our seats we were spoilt with three menus. Their impressive gin list - where every spirit comes with a recommended mixer, their specialist G&T menu and of course the food - titled 'Things'. We had a lot of things, delicious things.

The normal format of a starter and main course isn't valid at Ask For Janice. You order whatever and as much as you want and it all comes together for you and your table to dig into. We were recommended by the waitress to order 2 - 3 dishes per person, so obviously we chose 6! After they all arrived and (rather embarrassingly) filled the table, we chose to start with the whipped goats curd with heritage tomatoes and sourdough, and the black dahl with deep fried pickled cauliflower. These two dishes are great sharers to begin with, the goats curd was a light and refreshing combination of flavours and we couldn't help but dip everything into the black dahl.

We then moved onto the prawns in a green chilli - they are so tasty that the bowl was cleared in under 3 minutes. True story. I'd heard a lot about the grilled cheese sandwich, and unsurprisingly this home comfort was my favourite of the dishes, it hit the mark perfectly. If I had to make a comment, it would only be that I wish the pickles came inside the sandwich instead of on the plate, and I could have eaten more of them. I must admit I am a pickle enthusiast though!

V being the meat lover she is, ordered the braised beef croquettes with a mustard dipping sauce. She didn't seem to complain, didn't hear a peak out of her until they were all gone. As a side dish, we went for the duck fat rostis with a mushy pea mayonnaise. They were super crispy and got saltier as you got closer to the middle, a great substitute to fries.

The quirkiness of the concept continued throughout the dining experience, and we were handed the dessert menu scrawled with a marker pen onto a brown paper bag. Brilliant.

If you're a traditional pudding person, you might have been slightly disappointed with the peach crumble, which was actually more like a fruit compote topped with a granola crunch and a dollop of cream. I however, loved it and will be trying to recreate it at home (right after my Marbella holiday!)
The banoffee sundae that V ordered arrived in the cutest glass jar, and although minus the usual ice cream layer, more than made up for it in flavour with tons of fresh banana, cream and toffee sauce.

Not forgetting about those drinks. If Gin is your choice then this is the place for you. My favourite was the elegant bloom gin with honeysuckle & chamomile, the sipsmith is also a winner with orange marmalade and floral meadow notes. Whatever your choice, I can guarantee no disappointment.