We were excited to try Jamie’s Italian which has just opened in Glasgow. So excited, that the day that Jamie Oliver twittered that it had opened, we went the very next night. Too bad Jamie seemed to be a bit ahead of himself as it wasn’t opening for a few more weeks. Anyway, it is now open and we ate there last night.
Jamie’s Italian is a chain of restaurants with a casual, relaxed family atmosphere - they are trying to build a neighbourhood feeling instead of something high class and pretentious. As it has only been open a short time, they are still having slight problems but you can see they are not a far way off everything running more smoothly. When we arrived, there was a wait for a table – there are no bookings (unless booking a table for 8 or more people). We were directed downstairs to the bar with a device that would flash when our table was ready. I really enjoyed this as the bar downstairs is really lovely and it would be sad to miss spending time there. I’m not sure what their policy is on just going down for a drink, but it is a great space with tables, benches and booths.
We were told there would be a wait of 25 minutes for our table – it was closer to 45 minutes but that wasn’t a real bother as we were just excited to be there, and it was really busy for a Tuesday night.
The dining area is a really lovely space, open, bright and sparsely decorated. It has a really vibrant atmosphere without ruining your ability to have a conversation with the people at your table. I think we had the best seats in the house, we were seated on the far wall in a booth. Of course I’d like to try sitting somewhere else next time, perhaps nearer to the windows. Another thing I liked about the restaurant is the amount of food they use as decoration, there are fresh vegetables right near the door and meats hanging from the roof. It gives it a really authentic, interesting appeal without being too over the top.
So let’s get down to the food.
Covert shot of a neighbouring table’s burger – it was huge!
We were dining with my parents who have been in town visiting Glasgow for the first time from Australia. We decided on two bruschettas to share for entrée:
Tomatoes in season, basil and creamy ricotta - £4.75
I really enjoyed this one. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe and the ricotta was smooth and delicious.
Cornish spider crab with chilli, Amalfi lemon and zesty mayo - £6.75
I am a real crab lover and really liked this one, although perhaps it would work better with the crab and mayo separate, instead of being mixed together. It was a lovely creamy texture though, and the crab was succulent and had a real zing from the lemon.
Shell roasted Brixham scallops – delicious grilled king scallops with crispy pancetta, crunchy fennel and lemon salad with salsa rosso crudo – £15.25
You might be able to tell I am real seafood fan. This was amazing! The scallops were beautiful, really soft, delicate and delicious. I loved that they were wrapped in the pancetta as this gave a lovely crunch before you got to the scallop. I really loved this dish, but it really needed a side order of some chips as I missed the carbs.
Wiggly pappardelle polpette mini meatballs - Delicious mini pork and beef meatballs with a wonderful slow cooked tomato, cinnamon, tomato and basil sauce - £10.25
I am going to leave the review of this to my boyfriend to write as I didn’t taste enough of it to write about it properly! (I was too busy defending the scallops from attack).
My parents ate:
Chicken cooked under a brick - A lovely free-range, slow grown bird from Broadoak farm in Dorset. Halved, boned, marinated and chargrilled, with a warm tomato, olive, chilli and caper sauce – £12.85
I really enjoyed this but it was slightly too spicy for my Mum’s palette. I would definitely order this next time we eat there though, it had a really warm spice to it and the chicken was so moist and delicious.
Prawn linguine - Pan fried garlicy prawns with tomatoes, chilli, rocket and fennel – £11.25
Another dish that some may find slightly spicy but I found it amazing, it had real depth of flavour and I would have loved to have nabbed a prawn (but didn’t want to give up a scallop in return!). This dish also made me realise I need to start using fennel more in my own cooking has such a wonderful flavour to it.
And for dessert!
Trio of sorbets
Tiramisu - Classic Italian coffee flavoured trifle with mascarpone and chocolate – £4.95
Probably the only dish that I didn’t love – because I really wanted the chocolate brownie, and they were sold out of that, and this really didn’t give me the chocolate hit I wanted! Everyone else really loved it though.
Jamie’s Italian was a great experience and I really enjoyed eating there. The restaurant is relaxed and easy going – I had thoughts it might be quite speedy service with a view to turning over tables quickly – but it wasn’t like that at all. I really cannot wait to go back and would highly recommend it.
Edited to add: In hindsight, the portion sizes at Jamie’s are probably not big enough on their own, and you would need to order a side to go with it. For example, the chicken dish just came with a small salad whereas I think people may assume that you would get a potato mash or chips side to go with it.