It was my girlfriend Julia’s birthday and not only was I excited that it was her birthday but I was also excited at the thought of celebrating it at Jamie’s Italian. Like everyone else, I was sucked in by the hype, the 2 hour lines and the commotion that had me, desperate to be herded like cattle into the line and get a table. We avoided the herd mentality and walked straight past the crowds with a booking of six. Yep that’ll do the trick. A booking of 6 or more is what beats the system. I had already scoured various blogs, critic reviews and the menu and I came ready, willing and prepared to walk straight in and order for the table. Not that it ever works out that way but I always come prepared to order for everyone!
The crispy polenta fries were a tasty start with the parmesan slivers and rosemary shreds dressed on the surface but I found the whole experience of them very misleading. Firstly they were polenta nuggets not fries. When I hear polenta fries, I can’t help but expect to receive thick chunky rectangular cuts of polenta wedges coated with a crunchy exterior encasing a fluffy filling. While tasty, the absence of texture and girth left us disappointed with soft squishy squares.
The meat plank graced us with its mouthwatering presence with tomato tins cans that hoisted our a smorgasbord of cured meats, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino, olives and a beetroot carrot julienne salad.
The cured meats received a unanimous seal of approval from the group with a special gold star awarded to the San Daniele prosciutto and Wagyu bresiola. My personal favourites was the prosciutto, it was an absolute knockout.
Like spaghetti, lobster and crab, this right here is not date food. You have been warned. You will end up with black stained teeth which is definitely not a sexy look unless of course, that is what you are into…
I found the risotto below average. Even the sound of crab & squid ink risotto oozes sex appeal but all I got was a G-rated performance. I truly believed it had star potential, it just needed a turbo gas cylinder to fire it right up.
The chewy bits of bacon in the bucatini carbonara permeated the sauce with smokey tones where the bucantini lay submerged in a puddle of creamy carbonara sauce. While tasty, I found the sauce was riddled with beads of pepper which overpowered its inherent creaminess and that the pasta experienced an unorthodox case of rigor mortis. The pasta was hard to the bite, not to the bite and very difficult to twirl. As a child, I’ve always felt “pasta is not pasta if you can’t twirl it!”, and at this moment I felt particularly robbed of my fondest childhood memory of pasta. An Italian friend (Samuel) decidedly took one bite of the pasta strand to taste test the readiness of the it to only show me the cooked exterior versus the white uncooked interior. Forshame.
Tuscan wild boar sausages were slightly dry to the taste and laid on top of a bed of lentil pebbles. This dish was nothing fancy or particularly dazzling it was a simple serve of sausages and lentils. Capish?
The prawn linguine was the best tasting main of the night. The rich red tomato sauce was filled with flavour, linguine al dente yet the prawns were not so fresh. That was the only let down. Nevertheless, every twirling slippery mouthful was just as delightful as an Italian pasta should be. I couldn’t help but continue to steal more and more mouthfuls. Minus the prawns.
Fish in a bag came rustically encased in greaseproof paper and aluminium foil with lemon slices, tomato pieces, Sicilian cracked wheat cleverly concealing the entire surface of the fish. I found that the fish was entirely masked by the strength of the chilli, that left me with the burn and sting only an overdose of chilli can bring to ones lips, leaving it very difficult to comment on nothing much else than the chilli.
A birthday isn’t a birthday without cake! So, to surprise the beautiful birthday girl, I purchased red velvet flavoured and vanilla flavoured cupcakes from Ghermez on George st and had them set aside ready to go for the birthday anthem. I chose them because she loves white! Absolutely nothing to do with the actual flavours itself.
Frantically as I prepared her cake with candles, I accidentally ripped the candles out of their packet to have them fly out all over the pass. I ended up breaking the letter P’s broke and making them into letter D’s, only to spell out the words Haddy birthday. I was so angry and upset with myself, that I was extremely happy to see that she didn’t even notice. HA. Bullseye. And yes the cupcakes were very delicious, I highly recommend the red velvet ones.
Between us three girls we shared the ultimate brownie. It lured us in for the dip into its warm, thick and gooey centre. So thick we had to forcibly suck the chocolate residue off our spoons. The brownie was firm and could have been more moist but the ice cream was a pure vanilla dream and deliciously silky. There was a lot of
double, triple dipping if you will, from chocolate goo, to brownie, to ice cream and back to goo. Hmmm… so comforting that it makes you warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Jamie’s Italian is a global franchise advertised as an authentic Italian cuisine dishing up organic, free range and fresh produce but what you get is a massive soup kitchen herding and feeding the masses where you find yourself next in line. Definitely not like how mama used to make. Highlights were the atmosphere, buzz and tasty ensembles like the prosciutto in the meat plank,
prawn linguine and the ultimate chocolate brownie. When dining at a franchise that pumps out huge volumes like that, you are bound to be struck with inconsistencies, even though what you expect is just that, consistency. I have equally heard good and bad things about the experience here, so I suspect due to sheer volume and to whom is at the realm of Jamie’s saucepan your meal could end up on a high or on a low. There was some tasty numbers but for the most, it did not meet expectations. Is it worth the wait? Sure it is… but not in that 2 hour line. Just wait for it to die down a little.
Welcome to Jamie’s Italian, for tukka that’s not so pukka.
107 Pitt Street
02 8240 9000
02 0290 2006