When I walked past the man making fresh beetroot pasta in the window of Jamie’s Italian last week, I immediately texted my fellow foodie P (who happens to work across the road from it) about dinner there next week.
Good luck trying to call to make a booking (they don’t take any for less than 6). The number listed on the website is wrong and 1234 don’t even have the restaurant listed? Annoying.
Although it only opened this month, I’m hoping the queues for miles that I read about won’t be there for a late Thursday dinner – but I’m wrong – It’s about a 50 minute wait. We take a buzzer and get in line.Starved but determined we perch at one of the high tables with another couple and order the ‘Meat board’ with a selection of cured meats (San Daniele prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, finocchio & capocollo), cheeses (Buffalo mozzarella & pecorino with chilli jam), pickles (Curly green chillies, green & Gaeta olives & caper berries) and a crunchy salad of shaved root veg with chilli, lemon & mint ($13pp); ‘Green olives on ice’ that comes with flat bread and olive & tomato tapenade ($6) and a glass of a Victorian 2011 Chalmers nero d’avola ($12).
Although it takes forever to arrive, the ‘Meat board’ is a really nice plate to pic at with the board cutely displayed on canned cherries. The ‘Jamie’ blue & white cloth napkins are a cliché but I like them.
It’s been 58 minutes and I realise I’m now clutching our buzzer, willing it to vibrate. Apparently this is a ‘quieter night’. The staff are young, friendly and run off their feet.
We’re finally shown to our table and having perused the menu for the last hour, order straight away. P wants the ‘Bucantini carbonara’, tubular spaghetti with fried smoked pancetta & leek tossed with free-range eggs & Parmesan ($12/$19) and although I came with visions of trying the ‘Crab and squid ink risotto’, black creamy rice with hand-picked spanner crab & crunchy herby breadcrumbs ($15.50/$26.50) I can smell the it from the table next to us – too fishy – I’m going with the ‘Risotto milanese’, creamy saffron & parmesan risotto with herby roasted bone marrow & lemon & parsley gremolata ($14/$21) instead. I’ve also order the ‘Rocket & radicchio salad’ with aged balsamic & shaved parmesan ($7) to try and add some nutrients to all that white, cheesy starch were about to indulge in.
The golden saffron yellow risotto looks good, but it’s over-seasoned. Who am I to talk about correct seasoning you ask? Well no one really, but I am part way through reading ‘the essence of flavor’ section in Heston Blumenthal at home which tells me “If you can actually taste the salt in a dish, then you’ve added too much”. All I can taste is salt… and almond oil?! Give me a bit more cheese or something with bite.
P struggles to serve the carbonnara that’s the length of my arms. “It looks like tape worm” I say. P grimaces in agreeance. The sauce taste like bacon fat and clings to the pasta tentacles like almost scrambled egg (you know when you add the egg just a little too soon to the sauce and it starts too cook?). It’s not the creamy, silky carbonara I was expecting… and I can’t get past the tape worm. It’s lovely fresh pasta, but does it really need to be 2ft long?
They must have run out of radicchio for the salad that’s just rocket.
For dessert we’ve ordered the ‘Creamy panna cotta’, wobbly panna cotta served with a compote of seasonal fruits ($8.50) but spy what looks like a doughnut ice cream sandwich being delivered to the table next to us – it’s the ‘Brioche con gelato’, toasted brioche, lemon marmellata, lemon & strawberry ice cream ($9.50). We request one of these also.
The panna cotta is nothing amazing. Served in a tiny terracotta dish with a dollop of rhubarb compote on the side… where’s the love? I like the brioche gelato burger but really not sure how to eat it – we end up spreading the ice cream over the buns as it all begins to melt.
I’m not a fan of all the Jamie merchandise on the shelves and price list for the items that arrives with our bill. It just reminds me I’m part of a global franchise.
Eh. **insert shoulder shrug** Nothing to write home about Jamie…
Jamie’s Italian – 107 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000 – no phone number listed