The secret to beating the constant queues at Jamie’s Italian is to book a table for at least 6 people – bookings for any less than that are not accepted. This high profile two storey restaurant is bigger than it appears from the street but still feels cozy somehow. There are some nice touches in the restaurant, such as the fancy chandelier at the entrance and the complimentary assorted bread basket served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Jamie Oliver has even had his name emblazoned onto the cloth napkins, just in case you forgot where you were dining tonight.
Complimentary bread basket
The menu is quite extensive and I like how you can choose to order appetiser sizes of the pastas and risottos, which was perfect for us since we wanted to try a variety of their dishes. We start off with an entree of crispy squid to share and the squid is lightly battered and tasted glorious with the (really) garlicky mayo. We end up dipping our bread into the remaining garlic mayo because it is so addictive.
Crispy squid with garlicky mayo $12
The waitress then comes out with our 3 appetiser sized plates and we look a bit like pigs sharing them between just the 2 of us. But in our defence, each of the pastas and risottos we ordered were strongly flavoured and very different in taste, so it gave our tastebuds a good workout and helped us avoid the problem of becoming sick of the dish before we finish it.
Crab and squid ink risotto $15.50
The most intriguing looking plate was the crab and squid ink risotto. The black squid ink may be a bit offputting for some people but it tastes nicely savoury, especially with the soft spanner crab meat mixed in and the contrasting crunchy herby breadcrumbs for extra texture. You do end up with black stained teeth afterwards, but that’s easily fixed by washing out your mouth with water afterwards.
Mussel Linguine, $13.50
There’s not a lot of pasta in this dish but there’s a decent serving of scappato (runaway) mussels tossed through the pasta with garlic, chilli and parsley with butter and lemon. The pasta was a bit harder than usual, it didn’t taste completely cooked but the juicy mussels and delicious sauce made up for it.
Truffle Risotto, $17
There are 2 finely shaven pieces of black truffle adorning this dish and the truffle oil infused in the creamy rice is quite overwhelming with each bite taken. There’s not much else in the dish except butter and parmesan, so I got bored of the taste rather quickly and needed to have some of the other 2 dishes to make things a bit more exciting. There’s not much point ordering this unless you appreciate the unique flavour of truffles.
I would say that Jamie’s Italian is a decent mid-priced restaurant which doesn’t quite live up to all the hype that has surrounded its opening, but it’s a conveniently located eatery which serves up dishes with interesting ingredients without asking its customers to break the bank.
107 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 8240 9000