For information on my first trip to Jamie’s Italian – I blogged about it on my old blog.
Sunday night a group of 9 of us went to Jamie’s Italian in the city to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Despite opening months ago, the large restaurant was packed when we arrived for our 6:30 sitting. Obviously the hype hasn’t died down, and the appearance of the man himself a couple of days before has meant that the restaurant has been on everyone’s lips – great marketing!
The space hasn’t changed since my last visit, it’s still open and trendy – but noisy. So noisy. There’s a lot of wood around the place, and Jamie Oliver merchandise. Our table is also next to a giant window display of wine. So much wine. Sadly, wine behind a padlock (damn it!).
Our group is asked whether we’re ready to order a few times, even before our whole party had arrived – and yet, when we were ready to order, it took some time for us to track down our waitress.
I ordered the homemade lemon, lime and bitters which uses fresh lemon and lime – it was nice and fresh, but had a strange taste to it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Also, with no coasters and a bucket load of ice in the glass, the condensation was annoying!
For dinner I decided on the Pork chop.
The pork chop is cooked underneath a brick to give it an even heat on both sides, it is cooked to perfection – it is succulent and a pleasure to eat. There is a simple coating of olive oil and lemon which really enhances and promotes the flavour of the pork – it is fantastic. I was not so convinced by the bland chalkiness of the parsely bagna cauda, but the small side salad of apples, kohlrabi (German turnip), mint and lemon is delightfully crisp and the piece of crackling were crunchy and delicious. In all I enjoyed this dish, but would definitely reconsider the bagna cauda.
As I didn’t realise the apples, kohlrabi, mint and lemon listed with the main were actually a small salad with the dish, and not included in the marinade or the bagna cauda, I ordered a side salad too. – The Apple slaw.
I got the Apple slaw last time I was at Jamie’s as well and it was fantastic then, thankfully this night it lived up to my memories. With apple, beetroot, fennel, cabbage and with a few candied walnuts, the dish is vibrantly coloured and the flavours are just as exciting. It is a fresh and crisp salad, and the taste of citrus and creaminess of mayonnaise make this a delicious accompaniment. I’m glad I got this side dish again; it worked beautifully with the pork.
My friend’s ordered the Honeycomb Cannelloni and the prawn Linguini.
The pie was lovely – smooth tangy curd, fluffy sweet meringue and a good crust (not too hard, not too soft). I would have liked more of the pistachio brittle, as this added a wonderful texture that complimented the dish well.
My friends got the Tiramisu and the chocolate brownie.
The Tiramisu is HUGE, tasty and moreish – it has a lovely orange cream on top that compliments the dish beautifully. The chocolate brownie, though nice, was much the same as every other brownie – but it did have amaretto ice cream and candied popcorn, so that’s a plus.
The service at Jamie’s has been friendly and helpful on both my visits. The space is frantic and chaotic, so it speaks volumes to the fact that our waitress managed to get all our meals correct and everyone got what they wanted. The waitress did have to run off to the kitchen a few times while taking our order, to check whether they really had run out of the cannelloni, which was great because it turned out they had more – there would have been some unhappy people on our table if we were told there was none left and then we saw someone else on another table! (Apparently the menu was changing the next day, so they weren’t ordering more than needed.)
I always leave Jamie’s Italian confused. As a foodie I am against chain restaurants, and try my best to eat at local restaurants – like Italian and Sons or Mamas. But the food at Jamie’s Italian is well made, the produce seems local and fresh, and the staff are friendly. So I guess if you’re going to go chain, Jamie’s is my pick for a decent feed.