(Last UPDATED 10/20/17) The Jungle Bird on J Street near 25th Street opened in late October 2016. It is a really cool tiki bar that serves food – but the waiter made a point of saying that they are a restaurant – hence the categorization. The Jungle Bird is located in the space formally home to Kru prior to their move to bigger quarters East Sacramento.
It was a Monday, and after a neighborhood association meeting four of us decided that a drink and a bite to eat sounded appealing. None of us had previously been to The Jungle Bird – so everyone was on board to check it out.
The setup of The Jungle Bird is the same as was Kru – smallish main room (the bar is located on the left), with a longer narrow room in back. A great job was done on the décor – a very tiki-jungle vibe – with a lot of attention to detail that helps set the mood. Take the time to look around so you can appreciate it.
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We sat in the back room and despite having some rather loud “neighbors” in the next “hut” over – we were able to converse. The lighting is dim – but that seems appropriate and adds to the ambiance. Note: It was not so dark that we had any difficulty reading the menu.
First up was choosing what each of us wanted to drink. Offered are a variety of great sounding drinks, each served in unique drinkware.
Two in our party decided on the Painkiller (Pusser’s British Navy Rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, orange juice, with a dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon) ($10). Another ordered the El Diablo (Altos Plata Tequila, lime juice, crème de cassis, ginger syrup, topped with club soda) ($8). I decided to try the namesake of the bar/restaurant – The Jungle Bird ($10) – which is served in a parrot-shaped cup.
I don’t care for drinks that are too sweet – so I asked the waiter about The Jungle Bird prior to ordering. He asked me if I liked Campari – saying that people seem to either like it – or not. Since I did not recall ever having Campari I figured this was as good a time as any to give it a try.
What is Campari? A Google search afterwards reveals it is an alcoholic liqueur obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water. It is a “bitter” characterized by its dark red color.
The Painkiller received high marks, as did the El Diablo. As to The Jungle Bird it tasted fine, but I would not order it again. I must be one of those people the waiter mentioned that does not particularly care for Campari.
Two in our party later ordered a second round – this time the Macadamia Nut Chi Chi (Absolite Elyx Vodka, pineapple juice, coconut cream, macadamia nut liquor) ($10). I had a sip and it was delish! I am definitely going to order the Chi Chi the next time I am at The Jungle Bird.
Next up was ordering some food to go with our tiki drinks. The menu is not large – but adequate as far as pu pus (small plate appetizers) and plates.
One in our party cannot tolerate gluten – so there was considerable back and forth to decide what she could eat. Both the waiter and the kitchen were very accommodating (kudos) – altering items on the menu to come up with a white rice and pineapple preserves dish, with a side of green mango slaw. She was a very happy camper – and raved about how delicious her meal was. I had a taste – it was very good.
As for the rest of us – we ordered several pu pus ($6-$7) to share. It was early evening – but they were already out of two pu pus we were planning to order. When I expressed disappointment about the unavailability of the pork bao char sui in particular the waiter mentioned that it was a customer favorite. Next time.
We ordered and enjoyed several pu pus, and all of us agreed that we would return again. The Jungle Bird opens at 4:00 p.m. each day and is open to midnight Sunday thru Thursday, and until 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. I was disappointed to learn that The Jungle Bird does not have a Happy Hour. Oh well – you can’t have everything.
I have wanted to buy another Hawaiian shirt after my old one finally fell apart some time ago. I think I will start looking around again soon – now that I have somewhere to wear it.
(UPDATED 6/3/17) Two friends and I recently met another friend at The Jungle Bird for drinks. It was late afternoon and it was a beautiful day – so instead of sitting inside we made our way to the back patio. The back patio is not large – but it is certainly a great option when the weather is nice. As an aside – I really enjoyed my Macadamia Nut Chi Chi.
(UPDATED 10/20/17) The Jungle Bird was voted #1 in the Sacramento Magazine 2017 Best of Sacramento survey for Theme Restaurant.
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