Jamie’s Italian, Sydney

I came here a little reluctantly for a second visit. My view was tainted by a prior lunch, where upon being seated and being greeted (barked at) by an (un)friendly waiter, we were told that there was no pasta that day. Having recovered from our disbelief, the shocked murmurings started around the table. “No pasta?”, “but this is Jamie’s Italian”, “are you sure, there’s a chick churning it out in the window down the front”. “Ok, ok, ok”, says the waiter, “there is pasta, but you’ll need to wait at least 45 minutes for it”. Surely he could have just told us that and let us make up our own minds if we wanted to wait or not.

Fast forward a few months and I’m hoping they are a bit better organised. The fervour has died down, the lunch queue is no longer down the street (although it does fill up quickly, you still need to get there by 12.15 at lunch for quick seating), and also Mejico has opened up right next door which provides a bit of competition, although a very different cuisine.

This time we have a friendly  waitress who doesn’t halt any pasta supply.  I can see why this place is popular – other than the obvious reason that its part of the Lovely Jubbly empire - you can be in and out quickly and easily eat for under $30.  Between four we had 6 antipasti/entrees and 2 meat mains and it was $112 – bargain really. But if you’re after ‘proper’ Italian food you won’t find it here – this is Jamie’s spin on it, and personally I found it average. That won’t stop the place from pulling crowds given the price point, accessible location, and claim to fame.

On our menu that day:

Fried squid with mayo & lemon – nice and tender, good little starter.017

Pumpkin and Smoked Mozzarella Nachos with arrabiata sauce. Really, we should have known better to order something with nachos in the name at an “Italian” restaurant.  These were just plain weird and didn’t taste good. 019

Crispy risotto balls with smoked mozzarella and porcini.  Crispy, yes.  Bland inside, also yes. 020

Polenta chips with with rosemary & Parmesan.  These came out in little squares rather than the long chunky strips I had envisaged, but this was a good thing as it made it easy to eat. But polenta needs to be really really well seasoned otherwise it’s bland, and this did not have enough seasoning. 016

Wild truffle risotto with butter and parmesan.  Well flavoured, but a little too wet. 015

Tagliatelle Bolognese – ragù of beef, pork, herbs, Chianti & Parmesan with crunchy herby breadcrumbs.  The breadcrumb mix was really lovely and the pasta was silky but the Chianti just overpowered and the sauce just wasn’t right. 014

Steak tagliata with fennel and watercress salad.  This was actually lovely, really tender with a refreshing salad. Probably the best dish of those we had, and probably the least Italian! 013

Jamie’s Italian, 107 Pitt St  Sydney, ph (02) 8240 9000

http://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/australia/sydney

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