“ FRENCH with a few branches: BIRMINGHAM: 5A Ethel Street, B2 4BG. Tel: +44 (0)121 633 4664. BRISTOL: 64 Park Street. Tel: +44 (0)117 929 7298. DUBLIN: D'Olier Chambers, 16A D'Olier Street. EDINBURGH: 1 Craig's Close, 29 Cockburn Street. tEL: +4 „
My Aunty and uncle always recommend Chez Jules to my family as they go once a month and until now we hadn't tried it. A few weeks ago we were in Birmingham sales shopping and we decided to give chez Jules a go and what we found was a nice cheap meal which was presented and tasted perfect and we will definitely visit again and this is why.
First the address:
5a Ethel Street,
Now getting here in my opinion is easy as it is right in the city centre of Birmingham so if you have come in on the train or bus or tram then you will be able to find Chez Jules easily. If you drive then park at one of the numerous parking places available in the city and walk to the restaurant. It is right in the centre so you can have a great meal with a great atmosphere.
You walk up some stairs to get there and it is a French bistro and when you walk in the colours are quite vivid and there are some great pictures on the wall. The walls are quite a deep red and it has a very comfortable feel to it which is nice. As it is a bistro you do not get massive portions of food but it all looks fantastic and the whole restaurant just has a very classy feel to it.
Now you have waitress service here so you get seated to your table. Drinks wise you can get the normal so soft drinks, hot drinks and a glass of wine if you fancy it. They are quite reasonable prices at about £1.50 - 3.50 depending on what you have which is not that bad at all.
Menus do differ depending on what time of day you are there. The lunch menu is what we went for and it was £8 for two courses so really cheap and you get great, yummy food for your money. I had melon followed by pasta which was delicious and my Dad had steak which was very nice indeed.
The evening menu also looked nice with things like Salmon and monkfish on the menu. This is slightly more expensive at about £8 a meal. Apparently you can get a set two course menu for £10 depending on what time you go which is good value.
I think with this restaurant it is all about the presentation and taste as everyone of our meals had such a vivid taste and looked beautiful. Chez Jules is definitely a place to go for quality food in the city centre at a fine price indeed.
The staff here are brilliant and because it has such a cosy and homely feel in the restaurant you feel comfortable there and it has such a good atmosphere. There was no music playing when we went for lunch so you could talk to each other but my Aunty said there is at night.
With a fantastic location, chez Jules is somewhere you should try if you find yourself hungry in Birmingham city centre.
Thanks for reading.
Before I start to write anything down, I better say that I worked in that place (on a part-time basis) for few months. But I will try to be as as possible… Let’s get back in time: I just arrived in Edinburgh and first thing in my mind after a place to stay is to get a job. The tip is to get to know people who will hopefully give you few restaurants to check out for vacancies. But I seem to meet the wrong persons every time…I was nicely advised to try “Chez Jules”. The pay is apparently very good so are the tips. I looked in the Yellow Pages to get the address and here I am in front of this very yellowish and reddish painted place. First thought: very busy, typical french music (some bringing out good memories but others quite tacky), polite welcoming, posters all over, candles to recreate an atmosphere but I don’t know which one!! I managed to get an interview for the next day. As I was walking up the way to Cockburn Street I started to think if I was doing well to go there. But I was running out of time and money so why not try for a while. The manageress explained the working conditions and all I needed to know and offered me a job straight away if I wanted. Like we say it is easier to get a job once you are in a job so I accepted…but I was not really keen on the wages. Tips seem good enough anyway. My first night was quite an experience and I had fun. The restaurant is like a patchwork but frenchy enough with glamorous photos of Brigitte Bardot, Jean Gabin, Simone Signoret, Jean Poire, Sophie Marceau the best actors then followed by famous singers, photographers and monuments. There was (I use the past here because “Chez Jules” became “Chez Janine” before to shut down) a funny contrast between the red painting that represents a royalist politics in France and the wooden tables, candles, cheap cutlery and napkins more related to a working class. The team was entirely…R
30;………French but few KPs (kitchen porters) coming from Russia or Italy. The kitchen was managed by a young boy (assisted with another) but very experimented in the culinary field and he was from Strasbourg the manageress was funny and a good critic. I did get along very well with the staff but the boss is another story. Very much proud of himself, ambitious, disregarding the staff in general and very demanding for the salary he was paying. Well a French boss in fact. The cuisine was simple but tasty and responded to the sophisticated standards and the reputation of French food in the U.K. New menus every week if not every day using only fresh products. Quite respectful of the French tradition you could find in the menu mussels to brie fritters, pastas with smoked salmon, ratatouille, steak with green peppercorn sauce, gratin dauphinois, tarte tatin (upside apple tart), pain perdu (bread and butter pudding)…and the price was more than reasonable. I will quickly add a remark concerning the pain perdu; the literal transcription means lost bread and it was called that way in the WWI and II when there was nothing else to eat but few slices of bread, pan fried with eggs and just enough sugar. It became the national food, as other ingredients were part of a food intake. So was this authentic French bistro cooking in the popular city of Edinburgh appreciated? Well I have to reckon that it was always busy. Certainly for the quality-price, nice staff, cheap but charming decoration, simple dishes you would expect in the heart of Paris, close to the Castle and festivities. Yes I would have recommended this place if you look for a friendly atmosphere, easy listening music, subdued light, budget meal. But I recently learned “Chez Janine” (previously “Chez Jules) closed down. But there is another one located in Frederick Street. You will find more or less the same decoration and ambiance. Vive la France!
I visited the Edinburgh (31 Cockburn Street ) branch of Chez Jules last Christmas. I had been asked to arrange an evening out for my college class and tutors and was pleased to get a reservation there as it had been reccomended to me by a friend. The table we had been given was in a tiny cold corner next to an open door and the toilets. Which brings me to the smell, reminiscent of a Parisienne pissoire , we were not in Paris and it was not in the least atmosphere enhancing. Our meal was cold and served in bursts so that nobody was eating at the same time. The wine brought back to me the same memories induced by the smell from the toilets! DON'T EVEN GO THERE ! no, really don't.
There are two Chez Jules restaurants that I know of in Birmingham. One is on the stratford Road in Shirley and the other is just off New Street in the centre of town. I have been to both of them several times. I've always liked the Chez Jules in the centre of Birmingham as a relaxed place to have lunch when I am in town shopping. Because we don't shop in the centre oft own very often, when we do we tend to be there all day. I couldn't last all day on my feet shopping and so I insist that we eat somewhere. We stumbled on Chez Jules while looking for a futon shop just off New Street and they were advertising a three course meal at lunchtimes for £5. My wife and I both love French food so we decided to try it out. The three courses have to be chosen from a set menu but there still is some choice. There are about three starters to choose from, two main meals and the dessert menu is the same as the a la carte menu. My favourite combination was Warm Avocado and Bacon Salad with Raspberry Coulis, Boeuf Bourgingon and Creme Caramel. Not bad for a fiver is it? Unfortunately, this was years ago and I know that although they offer the same deal, it is now twice the price. Chez Jules has a great atmosphere and if it is busy you will probably end up on a long bench table which you are sharing with several other parties. A great restaurant for a slightly different experience.