I'd heard both good and bad about Jamie's Italian but I figured we couldn't not visit- I mean surely some of the spark and joie de vivre that is Jamie Oliver had been injected into his establishment?
We decided to go for a light lunch as it had only been a couple of hours since Bill's hotcakes. We grabbed a couple of beers whilst we waited for a table. It was busy. The restaurant was full and there were dozens of waiters scurrying to and from the main kitchen downstairs and the entree/salad/dessert kitchen upstairs.
About 15 minutes later we were escorted upstairs to a table alongside the staircase. It was uncomfortably frenetic as there was only space enough for one person between our table and those diners seated at the bar and with the waiters running back and forth and diners shuffling past peering into our meals, it was all a bit much.
We nibbled on the complimentary bread basket (nice touch) whilst we canvassed the menu. There's plenty to choose from: antipasto planks, pasta, larger meals- there were lots of orders for the pork belly and salads and it's all reasonably priced.
We both felt like pasta so TBS decided on the tagliatelle bolognese and I chose the black angel spaghetti. We also ordered an apple slaw on the side.
TBS's bolognese was made up of a beef and pork ragu, parmesan, herby breadcrumbs and a thick tomatoey Chianti sauce. The pasta, which is made on site was al dente (phew) and plentiful.
My spaghetti was extremely satisfying- a tangled nest of squid ink pasta dotted with sliced scallops and capers. It was the sauce however that drew the whole dish together. The garlic, chilli, anchovy and wine married together beautifully.
Our apple slaw was made up of shredded apple, candied beets, radishes, walnuts, mint and yoghurt and whilst it was refreshing I felt it lacked flavour.
I have mixed feelings about Jamie's Italian. The service was good (but a bit distracted), the pasta was tasty, the prices were reasonable and the restaurant was busy. However it somehow lacked personality and soul. I think it's an ideal establishment for families or larger groups who might not be so concerned with the dining experience as a whole but who nonetheless enjoy good food.
Good to know:
Messina beer $7.50
Castello beer $7.50
Tagliatelle bolognese $12.50/$19.50
Black angel spaghetti $14/$22
Apple slaw $7.50
Set of 4 Jamie's napkins $19.50
107 Pitt Street
Monday to Sunday 11:30am to late
Images: T B Southam