You’ve had a long, tiring day at work: Juno is there. You’re hanging out of your arse after a heavy night out: Juno is there. You really just need a good old pick-me-up, even better if it’s just healthy enough not to feel guilty about: Juno is there.
Living within easy walking-distance of this little local gem has definitely been a factor in my falling in love with Cardiff. Aside from the convenience, the staff are always so friendly and helpful even if you’re there just to get some work done with a few nibbles and a nice atmosphere. They’re also very accommodating – you’re never too much of an inconvenience, which culminates in the laid-back, super friendly and above all cosy vibe of the place that makes it so special.
Menu: burgers, salads, hangover breakfasts and specials; Juno has it all. Whether you’re a meat-eater or a fussy eater, there’s no shortage of incredible options, including a whole menu of vegan and gluten-free. For meat-lovers: the Hero Burger. Highly renowned as one of the best burgers in Cardiff, this beast is composed of a 6oz beef patty, chorizo, mature cheddar, fried red onion, chimichurri, chipotle mayo and marinated chilli. 10/10 for sure. For veggies: Yossi’s Falafel Burger. Full of flavour and goodness, this isn’t your standard veggie burger! A wood-roasted pepper, rocket, tomato, red onion, basil pesto and garlic mayo all accompany the falafel to create this fantastic, fresh feast that will surely keep you coming back for more. 9/10 from me; close but not quite as good as the following…
Specials: I’ve had the last two special burgers in a row (I’m basically a regular now) and I can safely say both were incredible. The first, a spiced hummus and halloumi burger, was stunning. I’m a huge fan of halloumi anyway especially in burgers, trying new variations whenever I get chance (e.g. Street Food Circus). On this occasion I wasn’t sure how the spiced hummus was going to work but it was perfect – salty meets sweet & spicy, with a juicy roasted pepper in the middle, whilst the all-important salad balanced it all out.
The second, a butternut squash and edamame bean burger, featuring halloumi (obviously) and served in the beauty that is a brioche burger bun, I went back for twice because I loved it so much. I just want to be clear on one thing… this was a chunky-ass burger. I mean it was more than just a two-hand job… This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had to be one of those bell-ends that cuts their burger using actual cutlery instead of our God-given hands; like those people who insist on cutting pizza with a knife and fork despite the fact that it was MADE to be eaten with our hands – even cut into portions to do so! Anyway, this burger was huge, but it was so so good. Packed full of veggie goodness (butternut squash being rich in fibre, vitamins & minerals, antioxidants and very low in calories, similar to pumpkin) and well-balanced flavours, it’s a solid 10/10 from me – for both of the specials, in fact.
Burgers aside, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every single meal I’ve had at Juno (hungover or otherwise). The Avocado Brunch is perfect for that hangover fix due to its cheeky sprinkle of chilli flakes; the Grilled Halloumi & Falafel salad is great for those days when you want to eat out but don’t want to stray too off-plan; the Triple-stacked Buttermilk Pancakes with banana, strawberries, peach sauce and Greek yoghurt are a very filling but very rewarding breakfast to bring you back to life after a heavy night or a stressful week (also available with smoked streaky bacon & maple syrup); and lastly, but by no means least, the classic poached eggs & smoked salmon on toast which has saved me on some of my darkest days.
One of the things I especially love about this place is that the friendly chilled-out vibe is also reciprocated in the staff, meaning that when the struggle is very real and the waiter or waitress can see it on your face, they give that service with genuine smile and you know that they know what you’re going through. (Sort of like a Friends “we know that they know, we know” situation).
There’s so much more I could say about Juno Lounge; I haven’t even mentioned the Cruiser Atlantic pale ale they serve on tap, specifically a Loungers brew, or the cocktail menu I’ve been dying to try for ages, or even the tasty-looking tapas menu! But I will certainly be back time and time and time again. I’d recommend it to any of my fellow Roath residents and Cardiffians: embrace it as your local/regular because that’s half the beauty of the place. It’s convenient and it’s cosy, but it’s also really good, reasonably priced, wholesome food in a place you’re always made to feel totally welcome.
Diolch i chi a hwyl am nawr,
*special thanks goes to my fave waiter Juno George for the genius title suggestion!
P.S. I don’t actually know if his name is George