Jimmy the Cook
Monday11:00 am – 9:00 pm.
Tuesday11:00 am – 10:00 pm.
Wednesday11:00 am – 10:00 pm.
Thursday11:00 am – 10:00 pm.
Friday11:00 am – 12:00 am.
Saturday11:00 am – 12:00 am.
Sunday11:00 am – 9:00 pm.
1 Francis Street, Grey Lynn
Chances are your local RSA isn’t somewhere you frequent for dinner. Dinner at the RSA probably conjures up images of “the daily roast meal special”, eaten at about 5.00pm. The Grey Lynn Returned Services Club has changed all that, thanks to Jimmy the Cook. Without having tried to be, it’s now one of the hottest places for dinner in the city. Here you’ll find suits and families, students and the who’s who of Auckland.
Part of this recipe for success is the RSC is not an RSA and actively engages its local community. Jimmy Gerard’s a bit of a stalwart of the Auckland hospitality scene. He’s been round for years and cooked at the likes of Harbourside and La Cigale. In more recent times he’s been best known as “Jimmy the Fish” at Ponsonby Central. Now, he’s been reincarnated as Jimmy the Cook, serving hearty meals at the Grey Lynn RSC every Wednesday to Saturday evening.
Jimmy runs his dinnertime operation from a small kitchen round the corner from the RSC’s main bar. The menu is written in chalk on a blackboard, you order food at the counter and pay by cash. The menu features a number of mainstays – Lion Red battered fish and chips, polenta fries with salsa and Jimmy’s famous fish pie (complete with old school tinned asparagus) and salad – as well as a rotating selection of daily specials – expect anything from tender beef cheek to perfectly cooked pork belly to the best plate of gnocchi you’ll ever eat with scallops or prosciutto. Nothing here costs more than $20.00. It might not be the flashiest food in town, but it’s simple stuff done very well indeed. Portions are generous, so it’s little wonder that the local students and young professionals have got wind of what’s going on.
Jimmy does all of the cooking himself, though occasionally has the help of an offsider who takes orders and keeps things under control. Because it’s just Jimmy, for the most part it’s a help yourself operation – you help yourself to cutlery, collect your food when it’s ready and are kindly asked to return your dirty dishes to a nearby trolley.
Jimmy can cater to private functions in the large kitchen and restaurant area upstairs at the RSC.
As might be expected of an RSC, the booze is cheap (plastic jugs of beer will set you back next to nothing), and there's a decent wine list and a well-stocked bar, even the local Hakanoa ginger beer is featured. there’s plenty of good sport on the TV, pool to be played and chances are a pub quiz to partake in or a quality live band playing to sing along with. This is classic Kiwi hospitality without any pretension and any fluff.
It pays to get in early here – once a dish has sold out for the day it’s gone. The kitchen servery window shuts up around 9.30pm each night.
Words by Grace Hall & Photography by Sable Heath
1 Francis Street, Grey Lynn
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