Think ‘souvlaki’ and you’re most likely picturing yourself in a fluorescent-lit shopfront in the early hours of the morning. Jimmy Grants, George Calombaris’s modern interpretation of an Athenian souvlaki bar off Smith Street, is set to change that.
“It’s simple – a no fuss souvlaki bar,” Calombaris says of the new St David Street eatery he opened with the partners of already successful Gazi, Press Club and Hellenic Republic. “People have this misconception of my glamorous life but I grew up in a takeaway shop out in Noble Park, so I know this food, this type of service, this type of business.”
Taking its name from the Australian rhyming slang for immigrants, Jimmy Grants pays homage to this historic passage to Australia. The Patris – a souvlaki (or souva) comprising prawns, attiki honey, mayonnaise, cucumber, mint and coriander – is named after the migrant ship that carried assisted migrants from Europe to Australia. Their destination was Bonegilla Migrant Camp, which is remembered at Jimmy Grants as an eponymous combo chicken and lamb souva (perhaps a nod to the merging of different cultures), with mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley. There’s also a selection of salads and dips on offer along with the essential garlic oil chips with feta and oregano, all available to order at the counter.
The historical and cultural references continue through the décor, with splashes of Greek blue popping against the whitewashed brick walls, framing the horizontal stripe and white cross of the Greek national flag, while two wall features by street artist Dan Wenn capture a DC-3 aircraft and The Patris.
Darren Purchese provides the sweets, except for the Greek doughnuts, which are made in-house under chef Travis McCauley’s watchful eye. A fully licensed bar offers a selection of options to wash your souva down, including the Greek favourite, Mythos Hellenic Lager Beer.
113 Saint David Street, Fitzroy