Jamie’s Italian // Sydney, Australia
Jamie’s Italian looks like London. Feels like London. But London it ain’t…on many levels. Obviously geographically…but let’s get right down to it. The food.
Bland. For the prices they’re charging you walk away some what in a huff. We started with an entree of pasta and two kinds of bruschetta.
The Prawn Linguine ($16) and the Tomato Bruschetta ($10.50) were what you would expect. The tomatoes in both were sweetly roasted and the linguine had enough pieces of prawn to be on the safer side of decent.
// Prawn Linguine //
// Tomato Bruschetta //
There are a few words to be said about the second bruschetta choice. From the menu description I was excited at the thought of a chunky mash of peas, mint and broad beans on top of smoky ricotta. What came was a long trail of each item separated on a plank of stale bread.
Hardly any flavour, certainly not of the smoky kind. Don’t even ask me what the brown mass was…I assumed caramelised onions but there was none of that on the menu description.
// Beautiful Bruschetta for Two //
The mains came in varying order. One of us waited a good ten minutes before the meal came. So the other guests waited in kindness, their food getting cold. After five minutes, they were insisted upon to start. Themeal now luke-warm. Drinks came after the meals were served as a side note.
The ‘Lamb Chop Lollipops’ ($28.00) were more of an entree size and well grilled, keeping the juices intact and complimented with crushed nuts. The artichoke sauce was missing…unless they turned that into a mash last minute.
// Lamb Chop Lollipops //
I didn’t have any of the ‘Truffled Turkey Milanese’ ($29.50) but if it’s one thing I know about truffles (graduate of a very extravagant multi-zillion tasting course of truffles and Barolo that spanned a full long weekend in the Tuscan hills for the annual Truffles Festival) it’s that they were way too thickly sliced in order for any aroma to waft and be carried by the heat of the milanese.
Isn’t a milanese made from veal anyway?
// Truffled Turkey Milanese //
My fish of the day (cod) cooked in a bag with clams and mussels ($28.50) was probably the worst. Firstly cod is a tricky fish to master. There’s a reason miso-cod go together like sushi and sake. The strong flavour of miso wonderfully compliments the silky texture of the cod, which if overcooked (note my dish) is a dud. The tomato sauce was great, the cracked wheat eaten due to hunger and the clams and mussels left for decoration. Fishy, chewy, unedible.
// Fish cooked in a bag //
Dessert is usually where a restaurant can redeem itself. It didn’t here.
The ‘Eton Mess’ ($10) was just a mess. Not enough cream. Meringue so-so. One blueberry and two black berries. A real Eton mess is traditionally served in a parfait glass, this is the second restaurant in Sydney which has gotten this so wrong.
// Eton Mess //
Another menu description-to-reality jumble. My panettone with ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce ($8.50) looked as if it had been cut from a store bough ice-cream log. The brand being Franklins No Frills. The chocolate sauce seemed it was hot water mixed with cacao powder.
// Panetonne with ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce //
Notes on other aspects of the restaurant:
We were served by 10+ waiters. I lost count after our drinks were ordered, brought by another girl then taken away by four other individuals. How can you not feel confused when the Brady Bunch and their neighbours are hosting you?
// Bar //
It’s obvious Jamie’s Italian is geared towards the one time customer - tourists. Smack bang in the middle of the hotel district, the diners were probably recommended the place by concierge or guide books. We were certainly the only Sydney-siders there. Bum-bag clad and camera on the ready people queuing up outside.
All the cool cats discovered eighteen months ago that Jamie built a place to make the Poms feel like home.
// Dining area //
The front of the restaurant features a pasta maker. Supposedly the pasta is made on site, fresh every day. I didn’t see any being made, but the machine was in the process of being cleaned so perhaps not so many pasta orders were on the table.
// Pasta maker //
Verdict: Sydney has so many amazing dining places to offer, if you want to experience Jamie do it on a trip to London. Maybe you’ll even see him too.
107 Pitt St Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel. +61 2 8240 9000