Jamie’s Italian | Restaurant Review

Isn’t it wonderful when a restaurant meal utterly surpasses your expectations? That’s exactly what happened when Pete and I visited the Angel branch of Jamie’s Italian for a weekday evening meal.

I’ll put my hands up and confess – one reason it was able to do so was because I had relegated Jamie’s Italian to the ranks of a mainstream, mass-appeal chain; Bella Pasta with a celebrity face-mask if you will – so I was expecting dishes that were ‘decent’, ‘satisfactory’, ‘competent’, ‘good value’ rather than ‘superb’, ‘delightful’ and ‘damn tasty’. And Jamie’s Italian serves delicious food that is way better than chain-standardised menus, spaces and services often produce.

We decided to eat the Italian way: a light antipasto, then two pastas for our primo, followed by a shared secondo meat course served with contorno vegetable side dishes. We skipped fruit and cheese and finished with sweet dolce desserts and caffè in the form of coffee cocktails!

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9246 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-184455

Jamie’s Bruschetta (£5.50) was a lovely start. That creamy buffalo ricotta flecked with herbs was rich and fresh, perfect over crunchy toast. The garlicky tomatoes were cooked and perfectly tasty – and I do like roasted tomatoes, don’t get me wrong – but both of us agreed we’d prefer the fresher flavour of raw tomatoes here. The scattering of lemon zest added an appealing citrus note, lifting all the other flavours.

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-185409 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9255

I’m giggling as I write because the Three-Cheese Caramelle (£6.95 / 11.95), we ordered the small) was so very good it made us grin as we ate! Described as ‘beautiful filled pasta with ricotta, provolone, Bella Lodi & spinach, served with creamy tomato, garlic, basil & rosé wine sauce’ it had a lightness of texture and brightness of taste that was very unexpected for such a rustic dish. I could eat this every day and be happy.

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9252 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9257

But hang on, Jamie’s Sausage Pappardelle (£7.45 / 12.25), we ordered the small) was also fantastic. In this ’ragù of slow-cooked fennel & free-range pork sausages with incredible Chianti, Parmesan & herby breadcrumbs’ everything was spot on from the chewy folds of pasta to the soft, meaty sausage, redolent with fennel seeds, to the light crunch of the crumb topping – this dish was full-on comfort. Perhaps I’d have the caramelle every day through summer and the pappardelle every day through winter?

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-191138 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9264

We were very relieved we’d opted to share our main when this enormous Turkey Milanese (£13.50) arrived. Of course, the turkey had been properly flattened before proscuitto and provolone were added and the whole lot was bread-crumbed and fried. Served topped with a fried egg and generous shavings of black summer truffle, it was wonderful – the truffle heady, earthy and decadent. I liked the lemon zest scattered over but Pete noted that, although he liked it too, it was a little overused across the menu, such that it made dishes that are actually very different taste a little samey.

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9265 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9259

Our first side of Garlicky Green Beans (£3.50) would have been plenty on its own, and was a perfect side for the turkey. The spicy Sicilian tomato sauce, shavings of pecorini and slivers of fried garlic made a delicious dressing for beans that were perfectly cooked to retain a little crunch – I dislike beans served either over or undercooked.

The Royal Caprese Salad (£3.95) was also delicious, but oddly presented and not very well balanced. Half of the heritage tomatoes were roughly chopped but two enormous slices were left as unwieldy slabs on the plate. Against all that tomato was plenty of basil, some sharp salty capers and lots of olive oil but disappointingly little mozzarella; just one tiny ball broken into two pieces.

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9270 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9273

Molten Chocolate Praline Pudding (£6.50) is listed on the menu as served with salted caramel ice cream, an accompaniment which swung my choice from the Epic Brownie in its direction, so I was disappointed to be told that the kitchen had run out of salted caramel ice cream only when the dish being served to the table with chocolate ice cream instead. I prefer being advised of changes as soon as the order has been handed to the kitchen, so I can switch to something else if the change is significant to me. Still, the pudding was very good – perfectly liquid within and soft and squidgy without; the dark chocolate and hazelnut combination a gratifyingly poshed-up take on Nutella.

Tiramisù (£5.95), described as ‘the classic Italian dessert topped with chocolate shavings & orange zest‘ wasn’t as classic as all that – the Cointreau-like orange flavour was all the way through rather than just in the scattering of zest over the top. That said, the texture was spot on, with lusciously liquid-laden sponge layered between light-as-air cream. The stick of cardboard stuck to the side, which we mistook for a chocolate decoration until bitten into, was a minor let-down.

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9242 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9275

On arrival, I chose a Passion Fruit & Mango Smash (£7.95) – rum with passion fruit, mango juice, fresh lime, vanilla syrup and ginger beer; super sweet and way too easy to drink! Pete took advantage of the wide range of wines available by 500 ml carafe, enjoying his Montepulciano D’abruzzo Il Faggio (£16.05) throughout the meal.

After dessert we switched our usual coffees for some very tempting coffee cocktails, a Tiramisù Martini (£7.15) for me and an Espresso Martini (£7.50) for Pete. His was served with rather more froth than cocktail but the vodka, Kahlua and espresso combination was a hit. I judged my combination of Bacardi Gold, amaretto, Frangelico, Kahlua, espresso and double cream even better!

Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-195737 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9277

Service was friendly and professional and, for the most part, pretty responsive; there were occasional moments where flagging a member of staff took a little longer than ideal – the place was busy and each waiter has a slew of tables to look after. But what I noticed much more is what came across as a genuine desire for customers to have a great experience, a willingness to give guidance on the menu and to steer customers according to their professed tastes. The usual checks that all is well after each course was served seemed less perfunctory than usual too.

The space is cavernous, which makes it a little noisier than ideal, but I know Pete and I are in the minority when it comes to our preferred balance between peaceful and buzzing. Seating isn’t hugely comfortable, though it’s far from the worse I’ve encountered. Hard seats are never as welcoming for a leisurely meal as padded ones!

On summer evenings, floor to ceiling windows let in lots of golden light, making it easy to imagine oneself in a bustling Italian trattoria.

The menu is prosaic – a solidly predictable offering of classic Italian cuisine – but the dishes themselves are anything but dull; deftly cooked with good quality ingredients that are a joy to the eye and an even bigger delight to eat. The food is pretty damn good here, and great value. I’m also comforted by the confidence that quality should be consistent across multiple visits – one of the unsung advantages of a well-managed chain, when they get the formula just right.

 

Kavey Eats dined as guests of Jamie’s Italian, Angel branch.
Jamie's Italian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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28 Comments to "Jamie’s Italian | Restaurant Review"

  1. Gary

    On a complete whim I was in the Jamie’s Piccadilly branch last week after not going for years and years. I too was swooning at the sausage papardelle!

    Reply
  2. Lisa

    I was the same as you, I’d filed it under mainstream, mass-appeal chain. Feedback from colleagues didn’t help with that, as in the beginning they were quite disappointed with it. It sounds like they’ve upped their game and made it stick.
    There’s one just past Burger and Lobster, near Liverpool St, I may have to give that a go!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Maybe that’s it, Lisa! Judging on this meal, they are getting it right, though I’ll go again and see how consistent they are.

    Reply
  3. Jools

    Thanks for this review. Like you, I’d dismissed Jamie’s Italian as just another chain, but after reading this, I’d like to give it a go. The cocktails sound lovely!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I hope you have as good an experience as we did. The place was buzzing and everyone around us seemed to be enjoying their food too!

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth

    Such beautifully presented mouthwatering food! Oh I wish I could visit places like this – stunning! I will have to visit the next time I am on the mainland.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes indeed, it’s not a place I’d have expected to be recommending so strongly but based on our meal last week, I certainly do!

    Reply
  5. Alicia (foodycat)

    That does look much better than my experiences! I like my tiramisu really properly classic, so I wouldn’t be hugely impressed with that one (it looks like the cream is chocolate flavoured as well?) and the different sizes of tomato piece are a Jamie “thing” I’ve seen on a couple of his TV shows. But I am persuaded to give the chain another shot after this.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I thought the cream was chocolate flavoured but no, it was just that they dusted the entire slice in cocoa – once you cut into it, it’s the normal white colour cream. But I would prefer regular to orange flavour. Oh dear on the tomato size thing, it was just a pain in the arse, made it harder to eat and didn’t look great either. But yes, on the whole, everything was really very good!

    Reply
  6. kaveyeats

    I’ve had a few people tell me this week that they went a while ago and didn’t enjoy, so I really don’t know whether they’ve upped their game, whether there’s inconsistency across branches (that would make me sad as consistency is one of the strengths of a chain) or whether we had an unusually good night – that would seem unlikely, it’s not like a kitchen can suddenly cook everything better one night and everyone around us seemed to be really enjoying their food as much as we did. So I’m hoping our experience was the norm.

    Reply
  7. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    You know I’ve never been and had mentally assigned it to the bucket of “chain restaurants, should I bother”.

    It looks like I should definitely go, or pop in if we are out and about and want lunch.

    Lovely review, it is nice to have perceptions changed.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I really hope my experience was representative, Gary enjoyed recently as well.

    Reply
  8. Sisley White

    I love Italian food and I am putting Jamie’s Italian at the top of my list of places to visit now. Thank you for such a lovely review. The photos are making me so hungry!

    Reply
  9. Camilla

    Isn’t it lovely when you have no expectations and then you’re totally blown away like this:-) I’ve never eaten in a Jamies restaurant but the food does look delicious:-)

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yes it’s always such a pleasure to have expectations blown out of the water!

    Reply
  10. Sarah Fawcett

    Just like you, I’d filed Jamies Italian under dull chain restaurant food, based on your review I will definitely give it a try next time the opportunity arises, great review and pics, thanks

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    It seems that the consistency may not be all I hoped, looking at the comments from some people, though it may be that those issues have now been resolved since they last visited. But our visit was really very good indeed!

    Reply
  11. Sarah Maison Cupcake

    We loved our visit to Canary Wharf branch earlier this year and I’m dying to go back. There are so many dishes here I’d love to try – especially that Turkey Milanese with the fried egg!

    Reply

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