If you’re on The Great Ocean Road and you say ‘chips and gravy’ your cool beach mates will undoubtedly respond with one word, ‘Jums?’. If you’re slightly antiquated like myself and not familiar with this term then I encourage you to read on.
At number 77 The Great Ocean Road, Anglesea, exists Victoria’s most beloved BBQ chicken shop. Jum’s BBQ Chickens or ‘Jums’ have been pouring gravy over fries for decades, and people are prepared to queue up on hot summer days and public holidays as the small canteen style shop gets busted by hungry beach folk.
However, it is not the regular chicken shop fries that are bringing all the customers to the yard, a special gravy made from an unpublished recipe ushers in the crowds and keeps them returning.
Don’t ask me what the bbq chicken tastes like as I don’t eat the stuff, but I can say the chips are divine after a lengthy day swimming AKA being dunked by mediocre waves and losing your contacts at the Torquay back beach.
Forget about soggy paper and oily cardboard, Jum’s chips & gravy are served in handy aluminium containers so you can walk and eat with your mates or just your iPhone. Just make sure don’t drop your iPhone, because if it falls on a specific angle I heard it can crack the screen and you will not only look like a bogan, but you won’t be able to read my next post.
Whilst walking along Swanston Street, you may see a big yellow sign with some Chinese words and underneath ‘Vegetarian Cuisine’ in green writing. This is your queue to keep on walking. If you end up travelling up to Level 3 in Noodle Kingdom’s elevator, then unfortunately you have missed the queue and you will be welcomed by Gong Din Lin’s sterile surroundings.
In fact, the list of dishes is so astounding that I can’t even advise you what the name of the dish I ordered was. I can confirm that it was a soup, with bok choy, and Chinese mushrooms with hokkien noodles in vegetable stock. The ingredient that is really throwing me here is the golden coloured puffs of funghi or dumpling.
I’m going to lay it on the line here, I didn’t like the soup, nor the venue that brought to mind a hospital. There was an odd scent in the air and the general feeling of being in that restaurant was bleak. I sat close to the window, spilling my noodle soup on the butcher’s paper, anxious to leave. In one’s view, I will not be returning here. However, those that are interested in vegetarian and vegan cuisine should pay Gong De Lin a visit as there are copious amounts of other dishes to try.
Walking down Errol St you know you are near the Town Hall Hotel when the notorious mumbling beggar asks you repeatedly for spare change.
You got any spare change, spare change, spare change, spare change, spare change….
Instead of giving him your spare change you walk into this dingy pub and use your change to buy a Coopers Pale Ale, Fat Yak or Coopers Dark Ale.
If you’re lucky you get to sit in the little hut out in the beer garden with your mates and if you have more spare change you order one of the Town Hall Hotel’s well-known parma’s.
The parma took a fair amount of time to come out, but was delivered to our little villa without a problem. The service at the back bar was fantastic, as was my eggplant parma.
However, I had to scrape the economy cheese off the eggplant patties and was less than impressed by the bland fries.
This is the chicken parma my acquaintance ordered:
The Town Hall Hotel has a great vibe out the back with friendly staff and a fantastic beer garden. There is an extensive list of interesting mains to choose from on the menu including a polenta crumbed eggplant & Portobello mushroom burger and classic English bangers & mash. I am eager to come back here and try the grilled fish of the day served with kindler potatoes and lemon butter sauce.
As a ‘northie’ visiting the east for their ‘beaches’, two friends and I were looking on Urban spoon for a place with ratings above 80% to have lunch. The Little Ox appeared to have good reviews and likes so we sat down in the outdoor area on a balmy supposedly 38 degree Melbourne day (in reality it was a top of 30 with high winds that blow everything on the ground into your face and your hair sticks to your lipgloss). The funky and low volume outdoor music at this quaint little cafe was nice, as was the service.
The menu was contained in one double sided A3 page with an all day breakfast, some specials, a lunch menu and salads.
As a advent lover of vegetarian dishes, I was surprised there wasn’t one vegetarian dish on the menu. Perhaps that is because I am a ‘northie’ and used to numerous vegetarian choices on cafe menu’s.
I ordered the calamari and broad-bean salad which was good for a salad (I have been working out so I have been more inclined to choose the salad when I go out nowadays). The mixture of calamari, watercress and broad-beans with whatever dressing they put on it was delightful. I’m not sure what the croutons or miniature squids were doing in there though. That wasn’t on the item description.
My friend ordered the multigrain avocado on toast and an egg dish; both looked like standard cafe dishes. My friend was glad they had gluten free bread though.
I like this place, and might come back if I want to hang out in Brighton or Sandringham and lie on beaches full of sticks and brown sand.
I recommend The Little Ox cafe to Melbourne’s east siders who want to be hipsters, but are way too rich to move to the north.
Mac & Cheese Eggplant Parma – Don’t get me wrong I love the Victorian beer here but the last time I went I ordered the eggplant with mac and cheese topping without the ham and I was expecting it to be just as great as the parmas I have had here previously.
When it arrived it looked like someone had spewed on my plate. Usually the flavours are spot on here, but you don’t put oregano on top of mac and cheese. The cheese and the béchamel flsvours were inseparable. It would be great if there was a separate mac and cheese option, and even better if this was included on the gluten free menu.
In regards to service the meal came on time and the waiter with the orange hair was the happiest and friendliest person I have ever met in hospitality.
For the mac & cheese topping, Mrs Parma needs to go back to Spice School and learn what to put on béchamel (hint: nutmeg, thyme).