Stylish new restaurant opens in Woodbridge 

Spiced crab, crispy sweet pork and avocado made at JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge. Picture: Dani

Spiced crab, crispy sweet pork and avocado made at JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge - Credit: Danielle Booden

Woodbridge is having a bit of a moment in the food world right now. It seems like every week something new and exciting is popping up. The latest being JJ’s which has just opened at 17b on the town’s Thoroughfare in the first floor former (and beloved) Spice Bar premises. 

Glamorously appointed in a sea of blue, yellow, grey and brass, the bar and restaurant comes from long-time pals Jules Oakley and Jana Kelnarova, who say business has been booming since their soft launch just over a week ago. 

Jules Oakley, one of the partners of JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge. Picture: Danielle Booden

Jules Oakley, one of the partners of JJ's in Woodbridge - Credit: Danielle Booden

The ladies have known one another for more than a decade – Jules having run the East Coast Diner in town, and Jana The Riverside Restaurant. 

Life ‘happened’ during the pandemic, and both needed a new direction. “So we started looking for a property together,” Jana says. 

“In Woodbridge everyone knows everyone. We wanted to make somewhere friends could come and meet up, and get dressed up, and feel comfortable. But also to have a nice family environment for drinks, nibbles and full meals. It’s really chilled and that’s exactly what we were after.” 

JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge. Picture: Danielle Booden

JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge - Credit: Danielle Booden

JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge. Picture: Danielle Booden

The bar area at JJ's in Woodbridge - Credit: Danielle Booden

There’s space for up to 50 guests at a time, including dining on picky bits at the bar, with a menu largely based around European-style tapas, a few bigger plates, and puds, alongside regular specials from the kitchen. 

“At the moment we have things like spicy crab with sweet pork and avocado, homemade hummus with flatbread, sticky ribs, tempura vegetables, and chorizo cooked with cider. 

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“Then we have some dishes on toast. Like smoky refried beans with chilli and sweet pickled onions, pickled herring with beets and apple slaw, spicy crab and crayfish.” 

Bigger plates range from a smashed burger with tomatoes, skinny fries, onion rings and sriracha mayo, to Provencal squid and mussels with bouillabaisse sauce, sourdough, Gruyere and aioli, and a variety of salads. 

Cheese and bacon smash burger made at JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge. Picture: Danielle Booden

Cheese and bacon smash burger made at JJ's in Woodbridge - Credit: Danielle Booden

An antipasti board made at JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge. Picture: Danielle Booden

An antipasti board made at JJ's on Thoroughfare in Woodbridge - Credit: Danielle Booden

Vegetarians are well looked after and can expect plates that include slow-roasted celeriac streak with mushroom ragout, salsa verde and endive. 

As we speak, Jana says they’re about to offer antipasti platters of cured meats and cheeses to share too. 

Then there are the puddings. Chef is currently working on expanding the menu, which at the moment offers ice creams and sorbets, affogato, lemon sorbet with a shot of vodka, chocolate brownie, and boozy macerated strawberries. 

“Everything is really fresh,” adds Jana. “All our ingredients are as local as possible and nothing is frozen. It’s all very nice.” 

Wash down lunch or dinner with a glass or bottle from the carefully chosen list, some bubbles (they have cava, cremant, and vintage Champagne) or a cocktail. 

“So far people are loving it. Locals are coming in and really enjoying have a nice place to go out. The opening was brilliant. Everyone loved the food. I worked with our head chef, Mark, at The Riverside for a long time. We’re finding we’re very popular with ladies that lunch, and that people are popping by for walk-in tables. It's great.” 

JJ’s bar is open from 12noon to 11pm. The kitchen is open from 12noon to 2.30pm and then again from 6pm to 9pm (9.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays). 

On Sundays it’s open 12noon to 4pm. The restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Call 01394 831169