Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jim's Greek Tavern, Fitzroy

I had heard great things about Jim's Greek Tavern. Authentic Greek food, served 'sharing' style... and no menu! "How cool!", I thought. Relying on the expertise of the restaurant staff, some of them with 30 years experience, sounds good in theory. However, although the food was wonderful I think I prefer having more control over the menu. In saying this, I can see the appeal for those less controlling than me to sit back and have dinner sorted for them.

My extended family and I headed to Jim's Greek Tavern for my birthday dinner. The restaurant is gorgeous looking and everything a Greek restaurant should be- whitewashed walls, blue awnings. We were very quickly talked into (forced into?) having the banquet sharing menu. Because there is no hard copy menu, we didn't really know what this would entail and because the service was rather abrupt we simply hoped that it would be value for money.

Part of the reason why I somewhat disliked the banquet style of sharing was that for $42 a head, I would expect flexibility in the banquet. For example, my brother is allergic to calamari, my Dad to prawns and stays away from calamari just in case and I have a cousin that doesn't eat any seafood. We explained this to the waiter who threw his hands in the air and said "That is okay!". However, with four seafood dishes, two of them calamari and one of them prawn, it meant that three people at the table were unable to eat some courses and there was no alternative offered to them. Yet, they still paid the $42 a head. I may have been spoilt by the level of understanding we recieved at Maha recently paying a similar amount per head, but I just found that aspect of the restaurant a little frustrating.

The food was beautiful though. Was it better than the other Greek restaurants in Melbourne we have tried? Probably not, but it was just as enjoyable.

First course was beautiful plump dolmades. Even my fussy Dad agreed these plump little parcels of rice wrapped in vine leaves were yummy.

This was followed by warm loaves of bread, dips with cured vegetables and saganaki cheese. All of this was enjoyable. I particularly loved the battered zucchini.

My favourite course was the seafood course... although this was the one some of us couldn't eat. The prawns were amazing- plump and juicy. I could have eaten ten!

The calamari was tender and salty, very more-ish.

The grilled fish was also a highlight- firm, smoky fillets that just melted in the mouth.

Next up, along with some Greek salads, were the mixed grill platters. As you can imagine, the boys at the table loved this. The servings were a bit off, for example two beautiful looking lamb cutlets between four of us. There was plenty of shaved lamb however, and a massive donor kebab with tender cubes of lamb. That was my favourite part of the platter.

By now we were all officially stuffed, but unexpectedly (the joys of no menu) we were presented with dessert platters also. The custard filled filo was beautiful, as were the turkish delight cubes. However, had we been given a choice to leave that course (another disadvantage of having no idea what you are ordering) we probably would have declined as we already had a birthday cake waiting that never got eaten. Its difficult to regret dessert though ;)

So overall, Jim's Greek Tavern was an enjoyable experience but one that I would probably only do once. For $42 a head I would expect a little more explanation, flexibility and control although I can completely see why some would prefer a meal like that. I am a bit of a control freak.

ALSO, on the internet I could only find listings for BYO wine, but it is actually BYO all alcohol. Some of us had to do a mad dash to the bottle shop on discovering this.

Jim's Greek Tavern on Urbanspoon

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