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Chez Jules

5a Ethel St
B2 4BG

Tel: 0121 633 4664

In the unfashionably named Ethel Street, just off New Street in the centre of Birmingham is the entrance to Chez Jules. What attracted us to this restaurant was the blackboard menu outside, proclaiming 2 course lunch 4.90, 3 course 5.90. A rather French sounding bistro restaurant offering lunch at that price must be worth checking out.

The exterior is rather unassuming, and the restaurant is reached via a flight of stairs, emerging into a large 1st floor space, arranged with trestle tables, benches and checkered table clothes. All rather bistroish in a works canteen sort of way. The works canteen image was reinforced by
the open hatch kitchen on one side of the room and what appeared to be large pipes or ducting across the ceiling, that had an attempt at being disguised by some paint and graffiti.

We were shown to our benches and presented with the lunchtime menu, basket of bread and portions of butter. Most agreeable as an appetiser whilst perusing the menu. Also quite generous when only charging 4.90 for the lunch. We also ordered a bottle of Kronenbourg 1664 each.

The options for the 2 and 3 course lunch were limited but quite acceptable. There were other options too from both the starters and the main courses which were priced individually. (Fill these in later from the menu)

We ordered a couple of portions of garlic bread which we intended to eat whilst we sipped our beer. For starters I ordered a duo of Melon and Mango with apple, pear, redcurrants and raspberry coulis, my friend ordered cream of broccoli and yoghurt soup.

The garlic bread arrived which was a shade dissapointing. It was a small
baguette, cut in half lengthways with a dry, rather mild garlic coating. I personally prefer lashings of garlic butter and a touch of herbs. Also the starters arrived at the same time, and I was eating garlic bread alongside a fruit starter which was uncomplimentary. Perhaps because it was lunchtime and because they were not as busy as they might have been in the evenings, they were not keeping diners waiting. I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

The duo of melon and mango was nicely presented on a bed of pureed fruit. I enjoyed that light fruity starter but was also a little envious of the brocolli and yoghourt soup being consumed opposite me.

For a main course I ordered the grilled cote de pork in a honey and course mustard cream source, my friend ordered the grilled filet cod with lemon and parsley butter, we both chose the potato gratin as opposed to french fries. My pork chop was cooked to perfection with a nice crispy fat edge. The portion of cod was nicely presented at the centre of a plate garnished with parsley. The potato arrived as a portion for two presented in the skillet with serving spoons. The potato was thinly sliced, cooked in cream and cheese with onions. It was nicely browned on top and nice and creamy underneath and also piping hot and fresh. I'm glad I didn't order the chips.

We both tucked into a satisfying lunch. The total bill for two people including a bottle of beer and a portion of garlic bread each was 17.20. I think that was really good value. I asked for a copy of the menu to help jog my memory later. I was advised that the menu is changed daily. Very good, at these sort of prices I could venture there on a regular basis.

Verdict - Great lunchtime value, some appetising alternatives and judging by the decor and ambience would provide an atmospheric evening out. Will try this again, but at lunchtime there is no real reason to deviate from the set price lunches (because they are very good value).

Eatanddrink Ratings

Chez Jules

Total Score: 66%
Quality: Average
Service: Good
Facilities: Average
Ambience: Above Average
Value: Good

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