Sunday, January 13, 2008

January 9, 2008: Bimbo Deluxe

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


  1. People have been saying that this pizza is the best they have tasted. Did you find it to be true in your case?

  2. I wouldn't say it's the best I've ever tasted, even in Melbourne - I'm a huge fan of D.O.C. and I Carusi, while Michael would also rate Oskar and perhaps Pizza Meine Liebe. But they are all in the $15-20 range, so Bimbo is easily beating them in the value-for-money stakes.

  3. WOW, I'm impressed. Firstly with your love of pizza, secondly the prices, and then I went on to their website.

    Someone knows their target market!

    There is NOTHING like this in Sydney.

    Melbourne, wherefore art thou Melbourne?

  4. the chocolate pizzas are pretty good when you get a chance to try the dessert pizzas! and I like their pizzas but still resent a pizza joint with a silly name taking over from a cool grungy band venue of my younger days (not that I went there as much as I wanted but it was still great when I did!)

  5. Grocer, I will attribute most of the pizza love to Michael! I need at least a week or two between doses, but he never seems to tire of 'em.

    This pizza scene is very Melbourne, isn't it? The gourmet pizzas in my hometown of Brisbane just don't compare.

    Johanna, I will have to work out how to convince Michael to share a pizza, so that I have some room for a chocolate one! (Maybe I should just order the chocolate one for dinner...?)

    I work with a couple of Punters Club devotees who refuse to set foot in Bimbo's. Given the losses they're absorbing on every pizza, one could probably bring them down from the inside by eating the pizza and eschewing the beverages! ;-)

  6. I also refuse to set foot in Bimbos, but because of an incident a few years ago where some of my Asian friends were nastily racially discriminated against by the manager. It's a pity, cos I liked the cheap pizze and that funny little egg-shaped whisper chamber upstairs...

  7. I'm sorry to hear it, Claire! An experience like that would put me off a restaurant for life too.

  8. Sometimes i feel like i also can't set foot in there. It just has that pretentious vibe or something. Like only artsy people are welcomed.Not making a definite statement...just how i feel about it.

  9. Yeah, I can understand that. I don't really fit into that scene, but I don't mind making my way in if it's not too crowded. I'm not planning to set foot in there myself once it gets late and loud!