FOR an inexpensive night of finger-licking good food, Rachel Furolo gives you the scoop on two great places to eat in Melbourne.
I’d like to admit straight up that the legacy of these two eateries did play a huge part in my review.
After seeing countless Facebook check-ins and photos from both Jimmy Grants and Gelato Messina, I had to see what all the fuss was about. And BOY, I’m glad I did.
Jimmy Grants is an upmarket souvlaki restaurant situated in a small side street off Smith Street. With little signage, its illuminated neon-blue cross is enough to make you curious, but discreet enough for you to miss it altogether.
Going in on a Saturday night at 8.00pm, it was (as expected) seriously busy. However, at JG’s the hustle and bustle of a restaurant is different. Something about the combination of funky tunes, the varying continental accents of each waiter and being shoulder to shoulder with your fellow patrons made it appealing.
The place itself wasn’t overly large, but certainly possessed a lot character. Exposed brick walls laden with graffiti and illustrations surround blue and black stools against tall tables and an exposed kitchen.
Jimmy Grants is the epitome of an informal dining experience. Once seated, we browsed the menu over our shoulder on a large sign at the bar then casually ordered and sat back down to wait for our meals.
All the items were affectionately named and after much debate, I settled for the Mr. Papadopoulos (a souva with lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley) and my date went with the Nonna Maria (a souva with chicken, mustard aioli, chips, onions and parsley). The souvas, as promised, were an authentic mix of flavors and textures, which I devoured in about 4 seconds.
We also got a bowl of chips, which were possibly the best chips I have ever eaten. Not only were they twice cooked, they also came topped with sprinklings of geek feta, oregano and garlic oil – AMAZING!
All this plus an organic cola cost an affordable $25.
To cap off the night, we wandered back to Smith Street and a few metres down the road to Gelato Messina.
Approaching the ice-creamery, we were pretty surprised to see a well-formed line stretching out of the shop and down the street. We joined the queue and were pleased to see a waitress bringing out menus to everyone waiting – a nice little gesture that we appreciated given the time it took to finally reach the front.
Gelato Messina doesn’t take EFTPOS, so don’t get caught out with no cash like we did!
What ultimately separates Messina from other ice-creameries is its unique flavors combined with the fact their ice cream is made in-house.
It’s an arduous task choosing what to have, when the options include Italian nougat, coconut and lychee, salted caramel and white chocolate, just to name a few. I opted for the pear and rhubarb, which was faultless. Not too sweet or heavy, and just the right balance of everything.
With food baby in tow, you’ll leave your evening satisfied in your tummy and hip-pocket, knowing in total you only spent $35 and got an absolute feast.
Jimmy Grants is at 113 St David St, Fitzroy. Open everyday 11.00am – 10.00pm
Gelato Messina is at 237 Smith St, Fitzroy. It’s open Sunday – Thursday 12.00pm-11.00pm and Friday – Saturday 12.00pm-11.30pm