Hesi Jimbo restaurant & food truck

Hesi Jimbo restaurant & food truck

Hesi Jimbo has been around Melbourne since October 2022 and I was so happy to visit this fully gluten free food truck during a trip to Melbourne. It was such a nice change to have fully gluten free options on the west side of the city. On my first visit they were located in Ascot Vale Street Eatz, however these days you’ll find them at Welcome to Thornbury (north of Melbourne).

Hesi Jimbo brings all the good things you’ll find in Southern comfort food. While the chef isn’t a coeliac, his business partner / backer is, and this drives the fully gluten free menu.

Meat and three

Sounds intriguing right? Meat and three. You have a choice of meat, such as glazed ham, meat loaf and obviously – fried chicken. There were also vegetarian options for the ‘meat’ main (when I visited it was lemon pepper cauliflower wings).

Then the three, your choice of three sides from a huge range of options. Over the months I’ve been following Hesi Jimbo on Instagram I’ve seen them continuously innovating and releasing new and limited edition sides. Some sides are trials, some are seasonal but they all sound sensational. And of course, everything is gluten free.

Fried chicken and inside the mac & cheese ball

A few examples of the sides we ordered

  • Mac and cheese, served as a crumbed croquette
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Collard greens
  • Potato salad
  • Coriander rice

Every item we ordered was superb with each having its own unique seasoning and flavour. I’m really looking forward to coming back. The chicken was super tender and the coating was great – very crispy. You can customise the spiciness level as the chicken is basted after cooking (both sides to make it extra hot!).

Quality gluten free

You’ll be happy to know that Hesi Jimbo use Strada products for their breads. This includes their standard loaf for Texas toast, and a crazy looking black bun for their burgers!

In mid 2023 they developed their very own burger buns for the Merri Bar set up. They are phenomenal. Really, really good.

Hesi jimbo meat and three options all gluten free.
Absolutely endless options.

More options for coeliacs

One thing a dedicated gluten free person or coeliac knows is that you never have to agonise over what to eat at a restaurant. This is because there’s usually only two options and one will be something you either hate paying money for (penne pasta) or are totally sick of (choc brownies).

Not so here! With four different meats to choose from, eight sides and your choice of two breads to go with your meal the combinations are almost endless!

In fact, while we were chatting to the chef he wondered;

How many combinations can you make?

I’ll spare you the mathematics but with four mains (choosing one), eight sides (choosing three) and two breads (choosing one) you have 2,688 dinner combinations. More than enough reasons to come back again!

Oh, and if you double up on your sides (say, two mac and cheese balls) you’ve got 4,096 options!

From the truck to permanent digs

In March 2023 Hesi Jimbo started working out of the Merri Bar in Preston. It’s so great to see a fully gluten free business have continued success. I do wish they were closer to me, but I will definitely make the trip out once my baby is a little bigger.

Merri Bar menu

I noticed the menu at the Merri Bar for Hesi Jimbo is super hard to find! It doesn’t help that the team at Hesi Jimbo are constantly innovating and coming up with new menu items. This menu is from November 2023 so it’s quite recent, it’s their summer menu.

Hesi Jimbo food menu for Merri Bar
This menu is just for Merri Bar, not the food truck

Dining at Merri Bar

It’s a similar but different experience dining at the Merri Bar. You order by QR code and pick up the food yourself from their kitchen pass, making it much more like a food truck set up. You do at least get real crockery rather than disposable containers.

We dropped by in October 2023 with all of us ordering a chicken burger as well as lemon pepper wings, cheese curds and some sweet potato fries.

The chicken in the burger was so tender and the mix of sauces and pickle matched perfectly in their bun which is made in-house. The cheese curds were amazing, my Wisconsin pal said they look better than what she gets there.

Amazing GF bun right there

The only thing I wouldn’t recommend was the sweet potato fries. As my friend put it, “there’s no joy” 😅. It’s a personal taste, nothing wrong with them but they are not chips!

I noticed with the new summer mention there’s no option to get just the burger. That’s disappointing as it is quite a big meal with fries. Not to mention that I don’t think they are worth ordering.

Visit Hesi Jimbo

Be sure to check Hesi Jimbo’s Instagram for the latest days and times. Here are the latest details at time of writing – Nov 2023.

Merri Bar

Location: 15 Gilbert Road, Preston.

Opening times: Monday – Closed. Tuesday – Sunday, 1700 to 2100hrs.

Events

Check their Instagram for the latest events, they’ve had the food truck at Welcome to Thornbury as well as foodie events around Melbourne.

Looking for more dining options in Melbourne’s north? Check out Pantry by Davies St! Or for a more general overview see my pocket guide to Melbourne.


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