Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Jimbo & Rex - Caterpillar to Chrysalis

About a month ago, I wandered to the "West End" of the Crown Casino with the hopes of enjoying a few quiet ales at the so-called "The Pub at Crown" which has been a convenient venue to frequent to catch up with mates and watch sport before hitting the tables with impunity. On this particular occasion I found the pub shut and the space being renovated, along with the site next door. Frankly, I was a bit pissed off as I enjoyed watching the sport at this pub and would later migrate to the Merrywell to placate this basic need.

Not long ago a mate wanted to catch up after work and it was his turn to nominate the location so he said that we should try Jimbo & Rex. "I know not of what you refer to kind sir" was the family friendly response that I will transpose on this blog but after sharing a few obscenities and making proclamations that we needed to get liquored up before taking on the tables at Crown, I finally realised that the old "The Pub at Crown" site had re-opened and is now Jimbo & Rex and was indeed not out in the Dandendong Ranges.

Upon entering the old pub that originally looked like a caterpillar I noticed that it had turned into a chrysalis. It was quite the metamorphosis. A long curving bar greets you and the rest of the space has been turned into a restaurant. We were most interested in the bar, so we pulled up stools and ordered Carlton Draught. As you would expect, pints are charged at $9/each however at the point in time we didn't care as we had planned to own the casino by the end of the night. The barman was efficient and friendly but then again we were the only ones at the bar so he didn't have to do much at the time. We noticed that there were $9.90 specials on the way in however we quickly learned after making a polite query that they were not available at the bar and instead there was a bar menu for food. I thought that was strange since if I fell off my stool, my head would hit one of the tables in the restaurant so I was surprised that you actually had to move a metre to enjoy the specials. So we laughed and mocked this policy amongst ourselves whilst we enjoyed more $9 pints.

After four pints each, we announced that we were going to shuffle a few metres over and order some food off the real menu. We were advised that the tab can not be transferred from the bar to the restaurant as the system does not allow it. So we endured the process and closed out the tab and started another one a metre away at the table. The full restaurant menu seemingly is not available at the bar.

I ordered the Roast Beef sandwich ($17) with ultimately came with a slaw and "Big Boy" chips. There was far too much bread and capsicum compared to beef which was chewy. The "Big Boy" chips were nice and matched well with my cellared six day old Carlton Draught. It was a while before I could try the slaw as I had to remind the server that I am not out in the Dandenong Ranges on a bushwalk so I would prefer to eat it with a utensil, which originally was not provided.  My mate had the 500g T-Bone Steak ($34) and after he kindly shared a bite with me, we lamented as to why we just didn't stop around at the bar at Rockpool Bar & Grill on the ground floor as there was nothing special about it. A mere $159 doesn't get you much these days it would seem.

The service was genuinely trying their damnedest to do their best and the service manager was actively out on the floor providing direction the staff constantly. It may be because the place is relatively new that they are experiencing some opening pains however when I think of this place compared to what you can get at say Merrywell, which is a mere 25m away and accessible from the same level of the casino, I would head there in a heartbeat next time. Without actually going into the casino, it is now rather difficult to get a quiet drink at Crown. As The Waiting Room changed hands and Jimbo & Rex not a proper boozer, I will have to continue to hunt for somewhere in the complex to satisfy my basic primal needs.

This would make a good venue to meet a group of mates on the weekend for some quick and cheerful food. I would never think of it as a primary destination for a night out but as a service stop so to speak before enjoying everything Crown has on offer. Just keep in mind that you will be hoping to realise your dreams of owning the casino after the bill is presented to you.

Jimbo & Rex, Crown Entertainment Complex, Southbank
Jimbo & Rex
Level 1, West End, Crown Casino
Southbank VIC 3006
(03) 9690 2688
My Rating: 10.5/20
Service: 2.5/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 2.5/5
Value For Money: 2.5/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

When I made this post originally, 89% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon liked Jimbo & Rex however the sample was taken out of a very small 48 votes.

Jimbo & Rex on Urbanspoon