I’ve spent a lot of my time voicing my opinion on the big chains and how we should always support independents – so much so, that I even wrote an article on it for the Leicester Mercury (see it here). With this in mind, you’re probably surprised to see this post – a review on Jamie’s Italian on Bristol’s Park Street. To be honest, I’m surprised to see this post.
Having only moved to Bristol in March, I’m still in the process of getting my feet under the table and establishing myself as a credible food blogger in this city. Being credible in my mind means reviewing and blogging a varied mix of places to give a varied and honest impression of a place rather than sticking to just my favourites.
When Jamie’s Italian asked me to review their new super lunch menu, I thought about it and was going to decline. But, I didn’t. I decided to go with an open mind and see what they had to offer. I’m not completely ANTI chains – I enjoy Wagamama, I love Byron and I’ve had some lovely food at Jamie’s Italian in London’s Westfield so, lets give this a bash and see what happens.
Cue a gloriously sunny Friday afternoon. Because it was technically the weekend, we kicked things off with cocktails – Aperol Spritz (staying true to Italia) and a gin and elderflower Amalfi Collins. First impressions = good.
We went for some pork scratchings to nibble on whilst we decided what to eat. They weren’t the best I’ve ever had but the cinnamon heavy apple sauce complimented them well. If I’m honest, you can’t ‘posh up’ a scratching. I want them in a greasy bag, too salty and just that little bit gross looking.
Dave ate from the new 2 course £10.95 super lunch menu – available 12-6pm Monday to Friday. I ate from the normal menu. To start we had the Truffle Tagliatelle from the lunch menu and Primavera Bruschetta from the main menu.
Without sounding like a total knob, I’ve eaten amazing truffle pasta so many times in Tuscany that I was scoffing that Jamie’s version couldn’t possibly come anywhere close. Turns out, actually, it could. The tagliatelle had bite and the sauce was simple – salty, buttery, with plenty of truffle oil and a healthy amount shaved on top. Truly surprising, especially considering this starter was an option on the two course £10.95 menu.
My primavera bruschetta was equally delicious. Very fresh tasting and seasoned perfectly. The Bella Lodi added a saltiness to the fresh minty pea flavour. The lemony cream was utterly delicious and I pretty much licked the plate clean.
Again, our food was delicious. The n’duja (spreadable spicy salami) and the pork and fennel sausages made my pasta just the right amount of spicy. The steak was tasty, juicy and cooked medium. The piece I had was a little chewy but I was told that the rest of it was nicely tender. So it was at this point that I stopped trying to pick fault and looked across the table at Dave’s ‘I told you so’ face. He’s so bloody fair with everyone – you can’t tar them all with one brush.
|My ‘yeah ok, it’s pretty good’ face.|
This is a big chain with over 40 restaurants and aggressive expansion plans. I’m not a huge Jamie Oliver fan particularly but I do think they’ve got it right and providing you’re happy to select from a smaller menu, the new super lunch deal is outstanding. For £10.95 Dave had truffle pasta AND steak. Fair enough, some of the other options on there were a little less interesting – spaghetti bolognese and margarita pizza keeping those costs down. But who cares? I’ll say it again – truffle pasta AND steak for £10.95???
Each restaurant is decorated in keeping with the building and they stick to traditional recipes using high quality and authentic ingredients. For me, as long as they don’t get greedy and let standards slip, I can honestly say I would definitely return to Jamie’s Italian Bristol and would consider visiting their other restaurants elsewhere on my travels.
Cook Jamie’s Italian recipes at home: