Whipping up a riot of South American attitude in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Jimmy Blanco is a Latin-Australian restaurant that blends the best of both worlds. The passion project of half-Australian, half-Colombian, legendary sportsman and notorious nutter James (Jimmy) Pablo Shane Blanco, the focus here is on a fusion of Aussie favourites and Latin American flavour and colour. The restaurant itself speaks volumes, cramming its Foveaux Street address with collaged murals depicting Jimmy’s yo-yo life and love affair with the rum, ribs and jalapeno pepper poppers of his South American motherland.
While Jimmy Blanco is perhaps Sydney’s staunchest defender of the supremacy of Latin and South American cuisine – check him on that and you can expect a tussle – the culinary wizard and brains behind this Surry Hills restaurant is also fond of the best produce and ingredients that Australia has to offer. This dual-continent affection comes through in options like the Jimmy Blanco breakfast, generously laying Papanui free-range poached eggs, sauteed baby spinach and spanish onion, garlic, roasted cherry tomatoes and quality olive oil on your choice of bread. Even more of a Mesoamerican breakfast kick are the spicy Blancos Rancheros – poached eggs, smashed avocado, Latin salsa and chorizo on brasserie sourdough.
When lunch and dinner roll over, Jimmy Blanco really begins to throw his weight around down Surry Hills’ Foveaux Street. Drop in between 5:30pm and 7pm for happy hour house wines, Coronas and cocktail specials (the rum and pisco sours are unmissable) accompanied by Blanco bites like charred corn on the cob, Latin chicken wings served with a housemade spicy ketchup, Blanco’s salmon ceviche and the spicy vegetarian spinach, feta and kalamata olive empanadas. Big and badass burgers like the signature Jimmy Blanco stack up a juicy beef patty, cheese, grilled onion, tomato and pickles with your choice of sauces – the First Wife garlic mayo (yes, Jimmy’s life has been as colourful and diverse as South American cuisine), the OK chipotle mayo or the Macho jalapeno mayo. Stepping up a rung, salads and sides bookend the restaurant’s fresh catch of the day and a selection of Latin American-style grills like slow-cooked beef ribs or the mouthwateringly marbled Scotch fillet with a honey chipotle glaze. One of Sydney’s most buzzed-out restaurants, Jimmy says book ahead or else!