It’s no secret that George Calombaris is the king of Greek food in Melbourne. Not only is the Hellenic chef behind some of the city’s best restaurants, but he’s the master of re-invention, constantly keeping fans on their toes.
Jimmy Grants’ most recent addition in Richmond is a vastly different venue to its Collingwood, Ormond and Emporium brothers, but that’s just the way it’s meant to be. Representing a completely different element of Greek culture, the gilded gold columns and natural wooden bar scream the opulence that most associate with ancient gods.
March Studios were once again behind the fit out, having designed every other one of George’s ventures. The space represents the story of his family’s first house and the pride they took in it. It’s meant to feel like you’re in his parents’ abode, just with a little more gold.
As with all of the venues, touching ‘Jimmy’ is required upon entry. Once the sliding doors have opened, stroll up the mirrored ramp to reach the menu, where all the favourites that Jimmy groupies have come to know and love are on offer.
The souvas are the main attraction. Opt for the classic Mr Papadopoulous, complete with lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley, or try the Nonna Maria, which replaces lamb with chicken. The Bonegilla delivers the best of both worlds, combining the two proteins for a meaty taste explosion, while the Homer looks after vegetable-leaning eaters, featuring falafel, Greek yoghurt and Hellenic slaw. There’s even something for coeliacs, with a gluten-free souva that includes chicken, tahini yoghurt, kimopoulos and parsley.
For a complete meal, pair your souva with one of the tasty salads. The Hellenic slaw is a combination of shredded cabbage, honey, honey balsamic dressing and dill, while the grain salad features pulses, nuts, grains, herbs and Greek yoghurt.
Don’t forget to take a walk down Sweet Street with a treat when you’re done with your main. Yia Yia’s rocky road is a modern take on a traditional, while the loukomades are so popular they appear in some form on every Calombaris menu. It’s no wonder why – here, the Greek doughnuts are covered in sticky honey and cinnamon and drizzled with walnuts.
However, the star of the sweet show is the Mr Whippopoulos, a chocolate baklava soft serve with salted caramel. Available only at the Richmond store, it’s a decadent mix of sweet and savoury, and the perfect end to your culinary experience.