Chimmi’s – Mi Casa Es Su Casa
“Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!” goes the old song from Treasure Island, though Bondi Junction is probably the last place you’ll find a Dead Man’s Chest from 1883. However, the next best thing may be buried inside the Eastern Hotel in the form of a South American rum cantina called Chimmi’s, which opened in May this year.
As we found out from Todd, the bar manager, Chimmi is in fact not a person but their ephemeral mascot, a donkey, whose spirit is invoked on their cocktail menu with their ‘Salty Donkey’ and ‘Donkey Days’ concoctions. Todd is the Rum Captain here, and he flawlessly explained to us the delicious aspects of the three rums we slowly sipped: a light-flavoured Panamanian; a darker, heavier Jamaican; and a somewhere-in-between blend from Martinique. On top of these, there are 97 other rum varieties to choose from.
Chimmi’s has the feel of an elderly Cuban man’s home, and the only proper table you’ll find there is a 1950’s-era kitchen set. There is a choice of areas for seating. The main room, which has the bar and various couches, armchairs, coffee tables and wall designs incorporating swordfish, guitars and black-and white photos of sultry, semi-nude women. The other section is like the house’s backyard, where you’ll sit under the red glow of the giant Westfield sign towering above you. With large, wooden cable spools for tables, artificial grass, a clever wall made of books and multi-coloured light bulbs strung from extremity to the other, we decided to enjoy our evening outside.
Chimmi’s does have food, of course, to go with the rum, cocktails and beer, and with a few people you could try everything on the Latin and South American-inspired menu, as nothing is over $10. We went for the works, ordering the braised beef shin, bean and chilli and slow cooked lamb, goats cheese and olive empanadas, as well as the chicken, beef and pulled pork tacos and the ceviche with baby scallops, green tomato, cucumber and chilli. The empanadas were large enough to split, and the juicy, flavoursome meat inside, especially the lamb, really satisfied. Of the three soft tacos the pork stood out amongst a good lot, while the ceviche was a little underwhelming in its plastic cup, so you might be better off with another taco or empanada instead. This is a casual joint, so plastic spoons and bamboo paper plates are the dining ware of choice.
For ‘dessert’ we had the bar specialty: the kooky ‘Banana Colada’, which comes in a frozen, carved out pineapple that will also freeze the drink if not consumed quickly enough, so don’t sit and admire it too long.
Just so you know, Chimmi’s is foremost a bar and a place to party. If you get too comfy and relaxed on the leather couches, you’ll be reminded of that by the crowd’s energy, as demonstrated by the two girls who hit the floor while we were there.
Partying in amongst a shopping center wouldn’t appear to be the obvious choice, but Chimmi’s manages to deftly pull it off. Yo-ho-ho.
Address | Level 2, Westfield Bondi Junction, 500 Oxford Street
Phone | 02 9387 7828
Website | theeastern.com.au/chimmis
Open | Tues – Sat, 5pm – 4am
Prices | Food $5-10, Cocktails $14-$19
Seats | 100
Cards | All major cards
Licensed/BYO | Licensed