What a business! In one of the most competitive dining areas in Australia, Jimmy Grants has a line out the door on a frosty Thursday night! The formula for success seems so obvious and it often is when it is so overwhelming.
There is something comforting about a souva. For years it was the equivalent of any other fast food aiding and abetting a drinker. Now it is the start of the night, taking me back to Santorini and a great souva bar called Obelisk. It is like I woke up one day and all of a sudden someone had revealed that traditional Greek is actually possible in Melbourne!
It is impossible not to compare to Gazi. In brief, Gazi is better. Hence the price point is lower and there is a more casual, in an out, vibe. However, I would not describe Jimmy Grants as a poorer cousin.
My “the Bonegilla” souva was eagerly anticipated and literally gobbled up in minutes. It is a good size, filled with a combination of chicken and melt-in-the-mouth lamb with mustard aioli, onions and parsley, but the stars after the lamb are the pita which is perfect and the golden seasoned chips. Catherine’s Nonna Maria is the same but just with chicken. I found the Hellenic slaw great for a few mouthfuls, but the chefs were too heavy handed with the mayo which made the next few mouthfuls more than enough.
For a bit more of a group there is slow roasted lamb and chicken from the spit at reasonable prices. Seating, due to the popularity of this place, is at a premium but it is actually quite a reasonable space. You order from the bar, but only once you have a table (unless taking away), and there are a good selection of Greek beers to wash down the souva.
For dessert, we moved around the corner for ice cream at Messina Gelato which is a must try!
Jimmy Grants is also in the CBD and there is a pop up at 80 Collins Street along with Kong and St Ali. It feels much more akin to sister restaurants than your classic chain and is producing souva that I am addicted to!