MasterChef judge George Calombaris's Melbourne based souvlaki joint Jimmy Grant's has just opened in Sydney. With branches in Sydney Central and Newtown, we checked out the Newtown branch to see what people are queuing for!
Jimmy Grant's is rhyming slang for immigrant, referencing the migrant population that arrived in Australia during the post war years. The Jimmy Grant's in Newtown is primarily a takeaway place with four tables outside. These are hotly contested during lunch hour but are easier to nab outside these hours (although perhaps not on a weekend). Sammie and Kate hold down a table while I go inside.
You order and pay inside and wait for them to call your name. The staff here are friendly and happy to help with recommendations. Food doesn't take too long to arrive, even at this early stage of opening.
Baklava Creaming Soda $4.50
The drinks are all bottled drinks and we try a Tricycle soda (Calombaris's brand) in Baklava Creaming Soda. I had high hopes, I adore baklava but we all agree that it doesn't really do the trick for us being just sweet more than anything else whereas baklava is more complex with crunch, butter and nuts as well as honeyed syrup.
Saganaki Soliders $9
We are all big fans of the saganaki soldiers, three long pointy triangles of salty, chewy cheese with a lemon and honey sauce that go with it perfectly. So, so delicious.
Alas the fries are cold but they'd be great piping hot. They're dusted with feta crumbs and oregano.
The Patris (left) $14.90
There are two sizes for the souvlaki, the original and the almighty but we decided to go for the more modestly sized original. The Patris is named after the ship that brought tens of thousands of migrants to Australia in the late fifties to mid-seventies. It is a Greek pita bread filled with prawns, honey, mayo, cucumber, mint and coriander. While there aren't a lot of prawns inside it, the flavours are fantastic and it's just so moreish with the honey, mayo and salad. I'd have ordered another one to take home for later if we weren't going out.
Mr Papadopoulos $12.90
I think growing up everyone may have known a Mr Papadopoulos (I definitely did) and this souva is filled with slow cooked lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley. We got a more succulent cut of the lamb in this than the Med Diet plate below but it could have used more sauce as it was a tad dry, especially in comparison with the saucy lusciousness of the Patris above.
The Med Diet $17.90
If you are dithering on which protein to choose (lamb or chicken) you can get a 150g of one or a combo with a side salad and a tzatziki. It's a little pricey for the size (see lemon wedge for size comparison) and the slow roasted lamb shoulder is a bit on the dry side but I think it was the piece that we got. The spit roasted chicken is however succulent and juicy and really good. I also like the tzatziki with a good amount of shredded cucumber.
Grain salad $6.90 and beet salad $6.90
There are four salads on the menu, each an appetising proposition so it's tricky to narrow down. Kate likes the sound of the grain salad, a crunchy, nutty salad filled with pulses, nuts, grains and herbs with Greek yogurt, onions and coriander. The beet salad is also good in a simple sort of way. It's roasted beetroot with lemon, tahini yogurt and smoked almonds for crunch.
Taramasalata and Pita Bread $8.90
There are three dips on the menu: taramasalata, hummus and tzatziki. We went for the taramasalata and it's actually quite a good sized serve with a good side of warm pita bread which everyone loves and a creamy, salty dip.
It was dessert time next and I was sad to find out that they had sold out completely of the choc-topoulos (baklava and salted caramel ice cream cone) so I ordered the other dessert, the Risogalo rice pudding. Although it feels like a runner up prize at first, once we taste the rice pudding with the Nutella cream and chopped hazelnuts I'm glad we got this one instead. It's such a comforting dessert with just the right amount of sweetness and the crunch from the hazelnuts creates a fabulous mouthfeel. The dessert stomach opens and suddenly we hadn't consumed all that food before!
So tell me Dear Reader, did you know a Mr Papadopoulos? Did you know that Jimmy Grant's was rhyming slang for immigrant? Are you good at rhyming slang? Are you a George Calombaris or MasterChef fan?
This meal was independently paid for.
206/208 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Open 7 days 10am-10pm