A dedicated salad joint is stirring up excitement in town, even among people who think salads are a boring pile of greens. It has a menu designed to lure in hardcore carnivores—some of them anyway.
It’s run by the couple who introduced juicing organic fruits and vegetables to the mainstream market in 2010. From Juju Cleanse, the juice brand that detoxifies the body, comes Juju Eats—a 42-seat, all-salad restaurant.
“We are not pushing this as a healthy restaurant. We are not saying, ‘Eat healthy’; we’re saying, ‘Eat healthier,’” said David Azanza, president of Feelgood Inc., the company that owns the Juju Cleanse and Juju Eats brands.
Located on the G/F BCS Building, 2297 Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati City, Juju Eats offers 10 classic salads for the uninitiated palates, people on the go, or those who simply don’t want to be bothered with decisions. Its DIY menu is an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians, with more than 50 toppings and dressings that
can yield over 5,000 combinations.
“When people think of salad they think konting iceberg lettuce, konting cucumber and slice of tomato. Salad na ’yun. But salad can be so tasty and so filling! ’Wag mo isipin na nakakalungkot siya. We want people to know that healthy eating can also be super satisfying,” said chief juju Katharina Rempe Azanza.
Katharina handles the juicing brand while husband David mans the salad restaurant.
The couple hired a chef to design the menu that’s palate-friendly—not weird, he said—even for non-salad eaters. And so far, in the place’s more than two months of operation, a distinctly Filipino salad has been a consistent favorite.
The Inasal Salad, offered in the classic salad menu, is an appetizing combination of housemix greens, pork inasal, green mango, feta cheese, cherry tomato, red onion and hard-boiled egg, drizzled with Balayan dressing.
The secret is in the delicate mixture of Bagoong Balayan dressing. This delicacy from Batangas—an anchovy sauce fermented for four to six months in earthen jars—goes well with grilled liempo and the green mango of the salad, with the sweet cherry tomato and hard-boiled egg a foil to its saltiness.
Another favorite is the hot Ay Caramba!, housemix greens with grilled chicken, nacho chips, roasted red pepper, pickled jalapeño, red kidney beans, corn, grated cheddar and salsa Ay Caramba dressing.
Thick slices of bacon are in Big Boy—Romaine lettuce with grilled chicken, hard-boiled egg, sun-dried tomato, grated cheddar, red kidney beans, roasted red pepper in French dressing.
Also in the classic salad menu: Chicken Caesar, Greek Salad, Roast Pumpkin, Roasted Veg Pasta, Tabbouleh Salad, Thai Beef Salad and Tuna Nicoise Pasta. Order them in regular or half bowls, and very filling wraps.
Juju Eats is not 100-percent organic, David said, since the supply cannot meet the demand.
Moreover, its prices must be affordable, comparable to those in fast-food restaurants.
All ingredients are fresh. The sun-dried tomato, for instance, is made from scratch, said Katharina.
Veggies and meats are locally sourced, except for the beef.
Juju Eats’ healthier choices are not necessarily low-calorie meals. David wants to keep the menu as simple and as straightforward as possible.
A detailed nutritional information can be found, not on the menu, but on the website www.jujueats.com, including a checklist of low glycemic index, low salt, low carbs, low cholesterol and gluten-free foods.
“Counting calories is a very simplistic way of looking at your food. If you look at what else makes up those calories—the nutritional values and everything else—it’s still a healthier way of eating them,” he said.
“It’s strange that mayonnaise dressing might have lower calories than olive oil-based dressing. But olive oil is healthier, so you can’t base everything on calories,” Katharina added.
“If you’re scared of salad, this is not quite the salad you’re expecting. This is a new spin on salad, in which it’s the main meal, not the siding. It’s tasty and good, and easy for you to digest. It’s better for your body,” David said.
There are two soup options daily, and Juju Cleanse Solos in small bottles that you might want to have with your meal, such as Greenbomb, Red Giant, Alkazest, Spicy Limonada, Ginger
Lemon, QCumber Quench, Vanilla Nutmilk and Atomic Carrot.
Juju Eats does not serve sodas. It has, however, alternative fizz drinks—freshly pressed homemade sodas in lemon, grapefruit and ginger flavors.
It also offers locally produced coffee, slushies and refreshers.
Juju Eats also delivers through City Delivery (tel. no. 8787878) for a minimum of P300 only.
PHOTOS BY ARNOLD ALMACEN