Wooed by its lovely hop-based beverages, relaxed environment, cracking beer garden, and staff who know it all without being hipster know-it-alls, Junkyard’s a place I’ve frequented since it opened a few years back. But I’d neglected to notice that they also have a rather fine menu. So, food-loving friend in tow, I rectified this oversight.
As a midweek treat, we started with a mini skateboard of thirds: Magic Rock High Wire Grapefruit, Reuben’s Brews Crikey IPA and The Kernel Export India Porter. The High Wire was a fruity delight of a pale ale, while the porter was rich and dark with a sweet edge. Between supping and swapping beverages, we browsed the menu.
Divided into Brunch, Graze and Junkfood, every appetite is catered for. The brunches look amazing – green eggs and ham, anyone? Graze dishes are the ideal snack when a bag of crisps just won’t cut it, and the mains? Well, they’re the junk food. This descriptor couldn’t be further from the truth – the food on offer looking more than wholesome, and I doubted I’d be left with that not-quite-full feeling you get from certain chain fast food joints.
We weren’t in the mood to mess about and agreed that if we were going in, we were going in hard. From Graze, we ordered the beer mac ‘n’ cheese balls (£4.50) and falafel (£5), plus a side of garlic fries (£3.25). To top it all off, the short rib noodle bowl (£10.50) and chicken taco (£8) from the Junkfood section. Don’t judge us.
The falafel were some of the smoothest and tastiest I’ve had in my life, and the baba ganoush dip was a divine addition to the dish. Although lightly fried to perfection, there wasn’t any hint of beer to the mac ‘n’ cheese balls, and although I only had a few fries – which was down to my noodle-based main and not a reflection of their quality – they were light, crisp and beautifully garlicky.
Feeling gluttonous but happy, we tucked into the stars of the show. The noodle bowl was a lightly spiced, soup-based dish with crisp pak choi and hunks of tender rib that slid off the bone with a slight nudge. I can’t get enough of Oriental-style soups and it didn’t disappoint. Spiced so that you were left with a zing in your mouth rather than blowing the top of your head off, the taco came with your standard guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce and chipotle sauce. But the panko chicken set it apart; the Japanese breadcrumb coating giving the dish a boost with its extra level of texture.
All in all, they’ve got their menu nailed down with some classics as well as some choices that that you won’t find down your average gastropub. Lovely, filling stuff. Ali Emm
12 Bridlesmith Walk, NG1 2FZ. 0115 950 1758