Jimmy Jamz (130-132 Ormond Road, Elwood) is one of those local gems you always hope no one else knows about. Unfortunately, situated in the heart of Elwood village, it’s generally bustling from lunch time most days. It’s bare brick interior and cute courtyard out back give it a modern feel but there’s definitely something homely and welcoming about the place.
The staff are friendly, take the time to have a chat with you and are eager to help. You get the impression they genuinely care if you have a good experience. I couldn’t quite work out if it was self-service or not. There are places to help yourselves to water, cutlery etc. and there is a sign to order at the bar, however, some orders were taken at tables and cutlery was brought over. I do think they need to sort this out, make a decision and stick to it, as it can look a little unfair when you’ve gone to the bar and navigated the various playing children and pushchairs to make it safely back to your table and then see the couple next to you getting full table service. Greet people, offer them a menu and a “Take a seat anywhere you like and order at the bar when you are ready” would be fine – keep it simple.
Oh, a point on the children and pushchairs: Jimmy Jamz is very popular with families with young children (probably because it’s cheap, and food their kids will actually eat – not an edible flower in sight). I find Aussie kids are pretty well behaved and they were running about and playing in an area of the courtyard far away from the tables so it didn’t bother me, but if you are one of those “I hate dining near children” people it’s probably not the place for you.
Jimmy Jamz offers a good range of pizzas and pasta dishes, alongside salads and foccacias and is definitely a more affordable option than many places in Elwood (trust me, I live here and I’m pretty sure it’s the cheapest place to eat on Ormond Road). We opted for two pizzas: Shaved Ham with Grated Pineapple (my standard fave) and Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Shaved Haloumi Cheese (for a bit of a change).
Now, I’ve heard a lot of negatives about the pizzas at Jimmy Jamz (alongside many positives) but lets get one thing straight – these pizzas cost less than $10 each. If you want high quality, gourmet pizza, head down to Lygon Street, enjoy the Italian atmosphere and pay the extra $10-20 per person to get those authentic top quality ingredients. The pizzas at Jimmy Jamz are smaller than you might get elsewhere, but they are plenty for one person – and cheap enough that if you are really hungry you can order something extra on the side. My ham was crispy and the pineapple was lovely and sweet. The lamb meatballs gave the pizza a nice spicy kick. Pizzas were well cooked, came quickly and had a good balance of toppings. The bases are not super thin like you would see in Naples but they aren’t heavy and don’t overpower the pizza (I’ve certainly eaten worse in Rome several times). The cheese is a little rubbery and I’d prefer a bit less, but for the price I’m certainly not complaining, they are great value.
I like Jimmy Jamz. I like that its different to most places in Elwood, I like the cheap pizzas (and the fact I don’t struggle to finish them at lunchtime) and I even like the rubbery cheese. I don’t need it to be gourmet – Melbourne’s got that covered. It’s simple, cheap food, if you start to change that, you change the whole spirit of the place, it loses what makes it “Jimmy Jamz”, what makes it different from everywhere else in a mile radius of my apartment.