• Jim's Greek Tavern

My friend loves Jim’s.  As an excellent cook, a foodie and of Greek decent, her recommendation was not to be taken lightly.  I spent an afternoon of hilarity trying to say her name and those of the must-order desserts with a Greek pronunciation, appropriate enough to be understood.

We arrived late and waited for a table despite our booking for four.  We were soon seated near the front of the restaurant amongst bodies busily eating and chatting,  and men rushing to serve, clear tables and joke friendlily with customers, especially the women who did not manage to balance out the abundance of male only staff.

After dish upon dish was brought to our table as apparent entrees, we were then asked:

“Ok, now, so what do you want for dinner?”

Something vegetarian.

Here is what we ate in order and my thoughts of possibly the most popular Greek restaurant in Melbourne - heart of all things Greek-ish.

Dips were first: tzatziki and eggplant.  The tzatziki was made with a deliciously thick yoghurt.  Both were strongly flavoured with garlic.  The accompanying bread was warm, crusty and dense without being too heavy.

Saganaki was served in a hot pan to keep it soft.  The waiter drained the oil before serving it.

“You don’t need to get fat,” he told us as he did.  I doubted a spoonful of oil extra would have had much impact on the fat count given the meal that followed.

The saganaki was scrumptious and quickly gobbled up by us all.  The texture was elastic, warm and moist whilst the taste held a pleasant amount of saltiness.

The capsicum and fetta dish was different to expected.  The red capsicum seemed to have been char-grilled, skinned and thinly sliced.  This was then placed in a shallow pan and generously topped with soft fetta before being baked.  I have mixed views on capsicum, especially if it is half cooked.  This one was done well.  I ate a lot of this dish.

I have mixed views on zucchini too.  It definitely tastes better when it has been thinly sliced, battered and fried.  The slices were almost like chips with a salty crunch.

Salad.  There was also another one with lettuce, lemon and olive oil.

The dolmades were impressive with soft, moist rice and vineleaves.

Chips.  Crunchy and sprinkled with herbs to which I added salt.  I was becoming full.

We sat.  Picking at the remaining bites, talking, drinking, till the plates were clear.  Finally it was time to answer the question, do you want dessert?  Yes, galatobouriko and baklava, is what I tried to say in the best pronunciation I could muster after two glasses of wine and too much food.

The custard of the galatobouriko was perfect in texture and delightfully flavoured.  The baklava was not too oily or sweet.  It was good to break up the ouzo that was to follow.

“On the house!” exclaimed the waiter as he slammed a half full bottle of ouzo on the table.  Its scent was of strong anise, rather than alcohol, which we decided indicated that it was a good one.  Glasses were filled and ice and brought without question.  I had never really tried ouzo.  Even when I was in Greece, I was scared of the stuff rather than tempted.  It was delicious.

Jim’s reputation is all through word-of-mouth and, needless to say, it would not be jam-packed every evening if the cuisine was not up to standard.  We struggled out of the restaurant, late on a Friday night, full, happy, tipsy and more proficient in Melbourne Greek dining from the experience.

Jim's Greek Tavern
32 Johnston St 
Collingwood 3066
03 9419 3827

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