What I don’t get, is why London were the last to be introduced to Jamie’s Italian! Why have we been missing out?! Yes, that’s Jamie’s Italian – JO’s italian chain that is popping up all over the country. Either that, or I totally was no informed of it. Dinner on a Friday night, standard; a trio of food bloggers, standard; hitting 3, yes T-H-R-E-E food destinations in the space of 4 hours… not so standard.
So we decided to hit Jamie’s in Covent Garden at 6.30pm which is major diner congestion time, as people pile out of pubs and wanting some grub. We were told there was a 45minute wait, but hey, we were on a mission, there’s no turning us away. Easy peasy we’ll just head to Dishoom, the new Bombay residence next door, for a nibble or two.
We were just beginning to chill with our chai drinks and the Keema Pau (minced lamb served with fresh naan bread) that had just arrived on our table before our Jamie buzzer beeped alive and causing us to panic somewhat! Food was devoured in the most un-ladylike fashion albeit our drinks were on the small side and were near finished. Bill was promptly paid for and we made our way to No. 10. Shown to our seats in the middle of the restaurant, our waiter was a very pleasant fellow with the strongest Cockney accent I’d ever heard! Surrounded by JO books on the shelves, aprons, cups, any-memorabilia-under-the-sun-you-can-think-of… it all felt a bit like a shrine to JO’s franchise! But without further ado, this was our order:
WORLD’S BEST OLIVES ON ICE £3.60
SELECTION OF TOP ITALIAN BREADS £3.25
SEASONAL MEAT ANTIPASTI PLANK £6.65
ARTISAN MEAT BOARD: English wild boar salami £4.25
SCALLOP AND SQUID INK ANGEL HAIR – SMALL £7.95
WILD TRUFFLE TAGLIATELLE – SMALL £5.95
+ 3 house mojitos!
I have got to say, there are things which are stand-out things on there I would definitely have to order again, and others… maybe not so.
For instance, the World’s Best Olives were amazing. The pesto and crackers that are served with it, even more so. I don’t know what and how they make the pesto, but it’s so raw and high in fibre, it’s unlike any pesto, even the JO ones on sale in your local Sainsburys! The Seasonal Meat Antipasti plank is also very impressive, as they like to loan you two cans of tinned tomatoes, with which they tell you the plank will be rested on *hint* do not consume them! It’s little details like this which JO wins on, building rapport between staff and customer! So when we’re served the plank, you wouldn’t expect any less than have each of the cheeses and meats to be explained, would you? My only grumble was the meat board, which, with only 9 thin slices of the wild boar salami, was far less interesting than the antipasti and I was sorely disappointed. I couldn’t really tell what the difference between normal salami and this ‘wild boar’ salami, please tell me what I’m meant to be tasting that is different!
Our small sized pasta dishes were a little on the small side, but we weren’t complaining too much considering we were on the verge of fullness. The Wild Truffle Tagliatelle definitely won us over with its minimal fuss and subtle flavouring, compared to the Scallop and Squid ink angel hair which seemed like a mess of flavouring with the chilli hot spiciness and only 3-4 thin cuts of scallops. Considering we tasted each dish between the three of us, we were left wanting more, but knowing our stomachs, and our wallets, may not have afforded another full sized plate of pasta!
So we called it a day, no desserts… only because we then decided Amorino would be our next destination as I hadn’t tried their gelato before that night. Each paid around £21 for food, drinks inc. service which I thought was decent, as I detest Strada and their ‘upmarket’ prices!
Jamie’s Italian (Covent Garden branch)
10-12 Upper St Martin’s Lane
London WC2H 9EF