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No longer will souvlakis be associated with a greasy, hangover-prevention meal after a big night out - George Calombaris has given the humble Greek fast food meal a refined makeover. Making an appearance on the menus for two of his most recent restaurants, I first tried one of his several souvlaki versions at Gazi during a second visit. After this first tasty encounter, I was keen to pay Jimmy Grants a visit. A restaurant practically dedicated to souvlakis? Yes PLEASE!
The restaurant was divided into two sections, with the front quite lounge-like, while the back had seating at the bar, a communal table and a few private tables. Seated at the back area, my attention was was immediately drawn to the colourful graffiti’d wall, which added an element of hip. Oh, and expect your stomach to grumble if seated at the back area - the kitchen is located within the section, and the aromas wafting from the plates placed on the pass can be smelt!
Steamed jimmy dimmy.
The dumpling-meets-dim sim was encased in a skin that was similar to the wrapper used in some yumcha dumplings; the skin was thin and silkily delicate. Instead of a mince, the filling was made up of some chopped, tender meat and sliced spring onions that brought much flavour.
Chips, garlic oil, feta and oregano.
While the dish smelt sensational (and therefore heightened my expectations), the chips were somewhat unremarkable. The chips tasted laden with oil and this flavour overpowered that of the potato. The garlic was very mild and only detectable in some bites. On the other hand, encounters with the salty crumbled feta and dried herbs stood out as the dominant flavour, and served as the chip’s only redeeming quality.
Mr Papadopoulos souva - with lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley.
The pita wraps used in all the souvas tasted freshly prepared and the texture was quite airy light. I tried a bite of Susper’s lamb souva and must admit that it tasted great (I’m not the biggest fan of lamb). The lamb was super, melt-in-the-mouth tender, and its flavour paired perfectly with the chips and aromatic parsley.
The Patris souva - with prawns, attiki honey, mayo, cucumber, mint and coriander.
Fortunately for me, the prawn tasted just as great… if not better than the lamb. The fresh prawns were coated in a delicate batter and dressed in a creamy aioli. There was a great contrast between the fresh cucumber, bursts of coriander and parsley, and the cream mayo, with all elements giving rise to an explosion of flavours. My only qualm would be that it was super greasy, but perhaps that’s what makes it so tasty to begin with…
If it’s one thing that Jimmy Grants (and by extension, George Calombaris) nails perfectly on the head, it’s their souvlakis. While the other dishes paled in comparison to the souvlakis, I would not hesitate to return to Jimmy Grants. I suspect a souvlaki craving will hit some time soon…
113 St David St,
Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065.