According to Zomato, there are only five Jamaican/Caribbean restaurants in Melbourne. You can literally count them on one hand. Unusual for Melbourne to have such a dismal presence, but this may be attributed to the fact it’s extremely difficult to pull off. One only has to cast their mind to a few years to the highly hyped and anticipated cafe/restaurant called ‘My Mexican Cousin’. It had a great name, great fit out, experienced team but publicly failed to execute their Creole menu.
If a restaurant purports to hold itself as being authentic, it needs first-hand experience and in-depth knowledge. For the family run team (including brothers Roderick and Dalton Grant and good friend Romain Granville) at Bax Food Co in Seddon, this is exactly what they have set out to achieve. With Roderick completing another foodie venture (Boss Man Food) and having invaluable knowledge of authentic Jamaican food, the team have set out to deliver their take on contemporary traditional Jamaican cuisine.
Nestled between the strip shopping districts of Seddon and Yarraville, Bax Food Co has injected a well needed dose of fun and excitement to the west side culinary landscape. Armed with a killer playlist of Jamaican / Funk tunes and providing a comfortable yet vibrant decor; the split inside and outside space is a delight for locals, dinners and foodies alike. The outside area provides the ideal area for casual drinks or for alfresco dinning; while inside is warm and vibrant with deep wooden furniture.
Being a proper winters night, we perched ourselves inside and on a high table and easily settled into the warm dining space. Bax Food Co offers Jamaican street food with a focus on sharing. The menu lends towards patrons ordering a few small and large dishes to graze during the sitting. The drink menu offers known and unknown labels to taste, including a rum and tropical inspired cocktail list – think Prince of Darkness – Appleton Rum, Tamarind, Apple juice, Dash of lime, Demerara sugar and Sailors Kiss – Sailor Jerry’s, Morgan spiced, raspberries, Lime, triplesec, orange, ginger beer. For something more traditional, the Royal Jamaican Alcoholic Ginger Beer is worth a try. The international sourced ginger beer offers an exceptional crisp taste without any bitterness.
Starting off with Ackee, saltfish and mushroom Pattie w Tomato Love apple sauce ($10) takes inspiration from a traditional Jamaican fish dish. The pastry added a lovely texture to the saltiness of the fish and prepared ackee vegetable. Dipping with the apple sauce naturally added a sweeter element to bring a well-rounded flavour and a fantastic starter. Also try the Goat Sliders if you have a little burger craving – we have heard good things.
The centre piece of any Jamaican dish has to be the jerk spice offerings. Considered an iconic dish of Jamaica, the vibrant spice that is rubbed onto pieces of meat is a must for any first timers. Bax Food Co’s Jerk Platter, Jerk Chicken, Pork ribs, Chicken wings, roast jerk corn was of exceptional quality and reasonably priced at $28. Each piece of meat was super succulent with a spicy kick that packs a palatable punch. The spice level can be customised to a desired level, but it was the softness and moist pieces of pork and chicken that left a lasting impression.
Accompanied with Rice “n” Peas ($6) and Caribbean Slaw ($5) allowed mixing and matching the flavours of the meat. Following onto the Oxtail stew with butter beans and carrots ($25) was an ideal ‘mix-up’ to the Jerk Platter. The stew had delightful rich and spicy flavours as the meat effortlessly pulled off the tail bone. The meat was super succulent and complemented with a rich jus sauce which made for the perfect winter dish.
Finishing up with desert – Dark Shadows – grapefruit, condensed milk with a dash of spices ($10) and Sweet Potato Pudding ($12) – had taken on more of a homely approach. The simplistic yet refreshing flavours of the grapefruit and condensed milk proved to be ideal palate cleanser with a balance sweet taste. The sweet potato pudding had a nice combination of subtle spices that mixed well with the warming flavours – very much the ideal comfort food dessert.
Bax Food Co has achieved the ideal balance of offering food that is both exciting and approachable to foodies and locals alike. The contemporary/traditional Jamaican street food menu contains some outstanding dishes and paired nicely with authentic beverages. The large vibrant space is perfect for large and small dinner groups and parking isn’t going to be an issue. Bax Food Co is the next best alternative if international travel to the Caribbean is momentarily out of reach.
83 Gamon Street,
Wed – Fri
Dinner 6pm until late
Sat – Sun
Brunch / Lunch 11am – 4pm
Dinner 6pm until late
More information about Bax Food Co can be found here.