Visitors to this website (www.restuarant-guide.com) will have noted that we go to some pains to define the nature of each entry – thus Modern English, Middle Eastern etc. Just occasionally this gives rise to problems. For JoJo’s a classification of ‘Eccentric’ springs to mind, but it would fail to do anything like justice to this whacky and informal extension of Whitstable’s mission to present seafood at its best and freshest. Open daily except Tuesday and Wednesday, on which days it reverts to being the owners’ family home, it offers the ultimate al fresco experience. They describe themselves as “cosy, atmospheric, fun and honest”. What they are too modest to say is that the food is freshly cooked, Mediterranean in style, and as presented is the work of a culinary saint. Her name is Nikki Billington, her other half is front-of-house Paul. The cooking is carried out en clientele and it’s all very matey, but highly effective.
Whilst there is an emphasis on seafood, it is by no means exclusive, and the menu is as unpredictable as everything else, so go with an open mind as well as your own bottles. There is a notional corkage of £1 a bottle to cover glasses and corkscrew, with an off-licence just round the corner in case you forget. What JoJo’s does is to take the pomp and circumstance out of great quality eating and replace it with relaxed jollity in homely surroundings. Nor, at around £15 a head could it be described as anything but extraordinary value.
However, such has been the success of JoJo’s that ‘manic’ has turned into ‘impossible’ and in January 2005 they are closing for alterations to their home, the better to cope with an insistent public. They plan to reopen in April. I just find myself hoping they retain the essential spirit of the place – somehow I feel they will. We could do with more places like this – lots more – including one close to our home.
Published: 2004. © www.restaurant-guide.com