Review: Jimmy Grants

"Who actually is Jimmy?" mum asked as we were waiting for our meal. George Calombaris' souva hut, hidden off Smith Street, pays homage to immigrants that have made Melbourne (especially the food scene) so great. Jimmy Grants is actually rhyming slang for Greek, Italian, and Middle Eastern "immigrants".

I know what you're thinking - "I thought this was a souva hut?" Well this was the best salad I've ever had in my life, I could've just eaten this for lunch. The Grain Salad, with pulses, nuts, grains, herbs, and Greek yoghurt. Tangy, fresh and delicious. 
After watching the second episode of MasterChef last night (am I the only one who's very psyched that Byron's made it through - his eyelashes alone are just another reason to watch the show) mum and I were inspired to visit one of George's own restaurants and judge his cooking for ourselves.

My souvlaki is on the left: the Homer, which had falafels, greek yoghurt, and hellenic slaw. Mum's souvlaki, on the right: the Nonna Maria, with chicken, mustard aioli, chips, onions, and parsley. 
Hidden down a small side street, with no indication of it’s existence except a neon blue ‘plus minus’ sign, Jimmy Grants could be mistaken for an abandoned warehouse. Thankfully, good food travels fast in Melbourne, especially if the owners are a little bit cheeky – photos of the graphic on the front door have circled the Internet since it opened. This funky souva hut has become a favourite for those in the area, as well as people travelling through, popular with the young, old, workers, and parents. Calombaris has successfully captured the attitude of Melbourne towards food - no prejudices exist when we're hungry.

My falafel's were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Nothing compares to homemade. 
The items on the menu pay tribute to immigrants, named after prolific characters in the food industry – the “Mr Papadopoulos”, named after a man who sold lamb souvlaki from the back of his bike, the “Nonna Maria”, named after a woman who immigrated with two suitcases and a recipe for chicken, “The Patris”, the boat that many Jimmy Grants sailed to Australia on (it made 91 voyages), and the “Bongellia”, taking it’s name from Australia’s first migrant centre. All of these beautiful stories can be found on the back of menus in the restaurant.

Mum's souvlaki came with fat chips wrapped inside of it, which is apparently how they're traditionally made. 
You make your choices from the menu and then order at the counter. The menu is very short and concise, consisting of souvlaki’s, rotisserie meats, salads, sides, and delectable deserts. They’re all priced incredibly reasonably (enough for a uni student to want to go back) and the service is incredibly quick, despite the huge lines.

The décor of this place tells the stories of journeys made by immigrants in the 50s and 60s in a beautiful and nostalgic fashion. Street art murals of an airliner and immigrant ship overlook the main dining areas, wooden tables and chairs are painted in blue and white, and the counter is reminiscent of a street counter souvlaki bar. As a side note: mum and I actually got the pleasure of seeing his wife and two (absolutely incredibly adorable) children as they grabbed some Jimmy Dimmy’s.

Whilst I don’t think I’ll ever be convinced that a souvlaki should stop being a greasy, hangover-prevention meal you eat as your big night out, I do agree that if you want to enjoy this comfort food in a bit of style, you should head down to Jimmy Grants. OPA!

Jimmy Grants
113 St David Street, Fitzroy

Mon - Sun: 11am to 10pm


Jimmy Grants on Urbanspoon

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