6.09.2015

JAMIE'S ITALIAN

I have been living in London for almost 4 years now and I always tried to avoid 'tourists' restaurants such as Zizzi, Hard Rock Café, Prezzo, Carluccio's, Angus Steakhouse...(and even Starbucks!) because I prefer to give my money to a smaller company that pays more attention to customer and offers better quality food.
I went only once to a Jamie Oliver's restaurants : it was in 2013, I went to his new restaurant Jamie Oliver's Diner and I didn't like it (burnt and dry burgers with soggy fries). 
Since then, my parents went for diner to Jamie's Fifteen in Amsterdam and had a lovely time. So when I received an invitation to review Jamie's Italian restaurant, I thought only fools do not change their minds...so I accepted. 
My boyfriend and I went to lunch at Jamie's Italian on a Saturday, the place was packed with families and couples - surprisingly mostly English people (not that many tourists!) 
Both hungover, we decided to start our meal with two non-alcoholic cocktails, both were good and very refreshing. 

As starters we shared crispy porcini mushroom arancini and the special starter of the day: scallops served with peas and bacon. Both of us enjoyed the arancini, they were great even if I thought they could have been a bit more creamy inside and more crispy on the outside.The arrabbiata was really tasty and full of flavour. 
The second starter was just ok but a bit bland, nothing really special about scallops with mushy peas, a slice of crispy bacon and breadcrumbs especially if you could hardly taste the scallops! My boyfriend and I were a bit disappointed by the size of the scallops, they were very tiny, same size as the one you can find in Tesco! The dish was around £8.50, which I think is totally overpriced considering the tiny size of the scallops. 

For mains, we decided to play the adventurous card, we both ordered from the special boards. My boyfriend had the homemade pasta dish with cumberland sausage and I had the special fish dish. His pasta dish was very good. It tasted fresh and light, the yellow pepper sauce was the highlight of this dish and tasted very summery. My dish was a sustainable tuna sliced steak, the whole dish was perfectly cooked and seasoned, the tuna was pink in the middle as I like it, and asparagus were a bit crunchy. I didn't like the cold truffle potatoes and I think it didn't add anything to the dish. 
To compliment our mains, we had some polenta chips on the side. They were perfect, light and cripsy. Only bad thing is that they arrived 10 minutes after our main dishes. 

It was a nice experience (being a free lunch probably helps a bit too) but nothing exceptional. Some dishes were a bit bland and overpriced in my opinion for what they were, special mains were both good but I think it could be easy to find something similar for cheaper elsewhere in central London. 
Overall I just felt the food was a bit average and not anything over the top. We had a great service, we didn't wait too much time between dishes apart from our side, which is not too bad considering the restaurant was full.  
Even if this recent experience has been better than my Jamie Oliver's Diner memories, I am afraid my opinion hasn't change a lot, I don't think I will become a Jamie's Oliver restaurant fan soon. I will stick only to his TV shows, which I like. 
5/10.

I was invited to review Jamie's Italian.
Refresher £3.50 (Fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade)
Homemade limonade £2.95 (Fresh lemon juice, sugar mint leaves & soda)
Cripsy porcini mushroom arancini: fired balls of porcini risotto with fontina, mozzarella & arrabiata
 Scallops served with peas and crispy bacon
 Free range cumberland sausage tossed through homemade pasta in a rich yellow pepper sauce, spring vegetables with westcombe ricotta and fresh basil leaves (£14.50)
 Sustainable tuna sliced steak grilled served with steamed english asparagus, radish and mixed spring salad, truflle potatoes and mustard dressing (£20.95)
 Polenta chips with rosemary and parmesan
Jamie's Italian Covent Garden
11 Upper St Martin's Lane
London WC2H 9FB
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