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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Jimmy Grants

George Calombaris is widely known in the foodie world, if not for his enthusiastic, friendly-but-firm guidance to Masterchef contestants, then for his ever-expanding portfolio of successful Melbourne eateries. Along with his partners, Calombaris is responsible for the somewhat cult-ish Hellenic Republic, new-ish Greek restaurant/bar Gazi, sophisticated The Press Club, consistent Good Food Guide Hat-winner PM24, pasta joint Mama Baba south of the river, classy Middle Eastern-focused Maha Bar & Grill, and more. A month or two ago, he added Jimmy Grants (113 St David Street, Fitzroy): a funky, clean souvlaki joint not at all like the fluoro-lit, greasy, early-morning kebab pitstops you're probably familiar with. Jimmy's (not to be confused with the nearby Jim's Greek Tavern) is presided over by Chef Travis McCauley of Hellenic Republic, and is already a runaway success.

Kitchen counter

Named after the Australian rhyming slang term for 'immigrants', Jimmy Grants gives a cool nod to Australia's (and Calombaris' own) immigrant heritage. Confident industrial design gives the site the feel of a converted garage, with features such as an aeroplane and ocean liner painted by artist Dan Wenn on the white brick walls, rustic exposed light fittings, blue and white retro tiling, white wooden stools, and a folding counter at one end of the kitchen, reminiscent of Melbourne's so-hip-right-now food vans.

These people were not happy with my photo-taking.
So I blurred them a bit NYERRRRR

Happily, Jimmy Grants is licensed, offering wine, ouzo and beer, including Mythos Hellenic Lager. Its hours also cater for the traditional takeaway crowd: 11am to 10pm daily. I met friends there for a quick midday meal on a Saturday in August, not long after the venue had opened. A lively buzz emanated out onto the street, and customers loitered territorially inside, waiting to order from any one of the counters, or for their prized food to appear (fortunately not a long wait). The lanky chap who served me was warm and generous with his time, despite the myriad demands on his attention. Appreciated, buddy. 

We started with a grain salad, a dish handballed from Hellenic Republic, for which I am utterly grateful, as it was DELICIOUS. 

Grain salad


We then devoured a souvlaki each, all beautifully wrapped in crisp blue-and-white paper and presented upon a white plate. The bread was deliciously doughy, the meats beautifully cooked, and fresh, 'clean' (as my mother would say) flavours enhanced each souva, with additions such as mustard aioli, honey, fresh herbs, cucumber, even a few potato chips. 

My friend was a fan of his Patris (prawn)

Nonna Maria (chicken)

Mr Papadopoulos (lamb)



Apparently, a pork option will also be available soon, adapted with a Korean Kim-Chi twist, for something different. 

Desserts, provided by Darren Purchese of Burch and Purchese, include a "Jimmy's Wheel", which had sadly run out the day we were there. We settled instead for the house-made Greek doughnuts, and OMG they were AMAZING. 

Greek doughnuts with walnuts and honey

Word on the street is that a home delivery option is on its way for the Fitzroy venue, and new venues will be opening in the CBD and Ormond. 

I was highly impressed by Jimmy Grants, and recommend you get your buttola there in a hurry to sample the wares. 

Jimmy Grants on Urbanspoon