Although Michael lunched at Bimbo Deluxe in his first week of living in Melbourne, it's taken me 17 months to get my mouth around one of Bimbo's famous $4 pizzas. There have been a few opportunities, but the crush of hipsters at peak times has put me off. And Bimbo Deluxe is relentlessly and grungily hip: a dimly lit bar with big old couches and retro fittings, such as vinyl records decorating the wall. The kids with nonsensical hats and haircuts and the just-too-loud music reminded me that while still in my 20s, I'm old and cranky. Apparently the roof-garden upstairs is brighter and breezier, but it's super-popular and there are rarely spare seats. At 7:00 on a weeknight, the entry level seating is pleasant and roomy enough anyway.
Dinner is all about pizza: of the 19 types on the menu, an impressive 11 are vegetarian. (Check out the menu for yourself at their website, if you can navigate around the trendy pictures.) The prices are always good (none of the pizzas exceed $8), but in peak times they're a bewildering $4. Apparently Bimbo makes a loss on every one of them then makes it up on drinks, as evident from the $4.50 half-pints we drank. The pizzas are the size of the dinner plate and have a thin base, alternately crispy and chewy. I think the size is bang-on to serve one comfortably.
We tried the El Greco (in the background of the photo): it's topped with haloumi cheese, green olives and a wedge of lemon. It's a guilty-delicious oil-fest and so, so salty. (That' s how they get you buyin' up on the beer, I guess.) The Funghi was a little more nourishing, with lots of fleshy dark mushrooms, a restrained sprinkle of cheese and smattering of herbs. A smarter girl than I would also order a salad on the side.
There are also a few sweet pizzas on offer, but we were in no state to sample them. Haloumi takes all.
Address: 376 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Ph: 9419 8600
Price: veg pizzas $4.90-$7.90, all $4 each during peak times