Food: I love the emphasis on cuisine and footy in Melbourne life

By Daniel Jackson

There are two things I love about Melbourne: its infatuation with sport and its passion for exceptional food. There is certainly an abundance of both in our great city, and I’m here to combine them by writing for some of football’s biggest critics about some of the finer features of Melbourne’s food culture.

As the mothers of most aspiring young footballers will tell you, trying to keep up with the appetite of a teenage boy is not an easy task, and I was certainly no exception to that. Fortunately for my Mum and I, she loved to cook as much as I loved to eat. Not only that, she loved to experiment with flavours from all over of the world as much as I loved to try them. The years of exposure to fine cuisine and alternate cuisine have given me an enthusiasm that unfortunately greatly exceeds my own abilities in the kitchen. This, regrettably, became evident shortly after moving out of home a couple of years ago. Nevertheless I was able to remedy the problem when I discovered some of the many popular and lesser-known cafes, restaurants, pubs, food courts and markets around Melbourne.

Of course the other more simple explanation for my love of food could perhaps relate to the fact that eating is a constant part of all AFL footballers’ lives. For a new draftee, it’s about eating as much as you can; Irish recruit Jamie O’Reilly has put on eight kilos since October by eating at every opportunity. I, however, put on weight with no effort; I only have to have a quiet soup and salad and I put on a couple of kilos. At Richmond (no doubt like every club), we have our own dietician who asses our skin-folds (body fat) regularly, and we’re required to weigh ourselves at the start and end of every day. We’re also well-versed from day one in such things as the appropriate carb-to-protein ratio, the amount of energy that needs replacing after, say, a gruelling Tan time-trial or a three-hour pre0season training session, and of course we’re told what not to eat, ever. For example, a weekly trip to McDonalds or KFC is a no-no.

As for my experience in critiquing, other than a few movie reviews on radio it’s fair to say I’m lacking. All I can say is that generally in life I tend to sit on the ‘optimistic’ side of the fence and so normally avoid criticising those who put their talents out on display. A resolution I wish a few of our great game’s harsher critics would at times adopt! My thought would be: why tell you about a café or restaurant that you shouldn’t go to when there are so many that you should.

I thought I should probably keep my first review fairly simple because, as I’ve learnt over six years at the Tigers, sometimes a simple game plan is the most effective. Well, there is no more simple meal than breakfast, and there’s no place on Bridge Road that does it better than Chimmy’s. Other cafes can rival its menu in variation, flavours and quality, but the one thing that makes Chimmy’s stand out is its fabulous, fresh, wood-fired bread, which is baked daily at the Abbotsford Convent.

If an egg, bacon and spinach-toasted panini or a good old chicken-avocado-mayo baguette aren’t your go, there is an abundance of other options. Some chilli and coriander scrambled eggs with chorizo sausage always goes down well before training. Or for those with more audacious tastebuds, perhaps the goat’s cheese pancake with burnt fig jam (!) might be up your alley. My personal favourite, the maple granola roasted with apple juice coupled with blueberries, cranberries and yoghurt, never misses a beat. Rest assured they also serve dishes sans coriander, burnt fig jam and goat’s cheese!

The best thing about breakfast at Chimmy’s is that it starts at 6am every day, perfect after an early morning punishment session down at Port Phillip Bay! And for those unlikely to get up before the sun you’ll be happy to know they keep serving brekky until 3pm on weekdays and 4.30pm on weekends. Of course it would be remiss of me not to mention the coffee, which of course is the most important part of a good breakfast. Well, I’m happy to say it’s very good, and it needs to be with the competition up and down Bridge Road.

Chimmy’s does also serve lunch daily and dinner every day except Mondays. On breakfast alone, I give it 4/5.

Happy eating!


  1. Great piece Daniel, I’m a mad , young Richmond supporter and think u are a top player. Hopefully we can turn it on in round 1 !

  2. Bon appetit, Jacko.

  3. Jacko you star, great piece mate.
    Lets hope you keep playing well during the season ahead.

  4. Yummy piece!
    i knew i should not have read i’m dying for a chicken and mayo baguette!


  5. Richard Naco says

    Good to see you here, Daniel, and with such an entertaining exhortation to indulge! Even though this is undoubtedly a blatant declaration of war on a new front.

    Somebody at Corio Bay is undoubtedly loading up a Max Rooke’s Personal Grooming Tips article as a riposte this very minute.

  6. Hmmm this covers my two loves, food and Richmond. As an out of towner I love Bridge Road – for shopping and food

    I look forward to reading more from you Daniel. Yellow and Black

  7. “My thought would be: why tell you about a café or restaurant that you shouldn’t go to when there are so many that you should.”
    Wonderful attitude to have, there need to be more people like you in the world ;-)

    Fascinating insight into the habits of a footballer. I’ve always thought it must be hard for a footballer to combine a love of food with the strict dietry requirements. Look at how much Shane Mumford had to change his lifestyle around! ;-p Though I suspose snags hardly qualify as refined cuisine.

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