557 Manukau Rd
(09) 623 3123
Monday - Friday
Saturday - Sunday
Little Jimmy is a bar and eatery in the heart of Greenwood’s Corner, a little village in Epsom. You won’t miss its big blue sign, or the lure of the pressed metal bar just inside the door – during the day there are fresh pastries sitting atop it, in the evening they are replaced by giant candlesticks and the potential for Rogue Society Gin cocktails. Little Jimmy is the younger brother of One Tree Grill, and it’s here for you regardless of whether you’re after brunch, lunch or an after-work-drink-that-turns-into-dinner. It’s a gorgeous space, with distinct separation between bar and restaurant, beautiful monochrome tiles and abundant greenery hanging from the ceiling.
The name Little Jimmy is all about the philosophy of “looking after the little guy” – the menu champions New Zealand produce, with herbs and greens coming from the eatery’s own biodynamic kitchen garden across the road. Behind the bar you’ll only find New Zealand made spirits, wines and craft beers. The wine list is a study in boutique Kiwi wineries, and the beers are from the likes of Hallertau and Panhead. Morning visitors will be happy to know they brew coffee by local favourite roaster, eighthirty, and there are smoothies in shades of pink and purple alongside Six Barrel Soda syrups.
The menu has been created by One Tree Grill’s executive chef Eiji Ota, but the kitchen is fronted by head chef Mark Nicholson, who was previously at Raven & Cook just a few doors down. It’s hearty, stylish bistro food that’s inspired by the flavours of the seasons, unsurprisingly. For brunch, that might mean a sweetcorn and bacon waffle or jalapeno cornbread with eggs, or toasted superfood muesli. At lunchtime, you’ll have a hard time choosing between the smoked venison meatball sub or the Mibrasa Wakanui beef burger, but when I visited, I had a glorious Akaroa smoked salmon salad, so tasty I forgot I’d gone for a healthy option. The roast chicken is also remarkably tender and flavourful, served with a salad of chioggia beetroot and feta from Gibbston Valley.
Later in the afternoon, there are boards to share and sourdough pizzas (in late summer we tried one with Matapouri figs, parma ham and blue cheese), and in the evening the dishes are reshaped to fit a sharing menu, with small and large plates featuring fresh market fish, a delightfully crunchy veal schnitzel, Hawke’s Bay Lamb and Freedom Farms pork. For dessert, there is the option of donuts filled with rose jelly, I strongly advise you to try them.
Little Jimmy is a local eatery that very much celebrates the ethos of localism, and as such, it’s not hard to imagine it becoming part of the fabric of the neighbourhood just like One Tree Grill has, but in a more casual, day-to-day kind of way.
by Alexandra Wallace