Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Jamie’s Italian is brilliant, but . . .
I finally got to my nearest Jamie’s Italian, some 2 years after it opened in Bath. To be honest the tales of the queues had put me off and I probably would have postponed the experience yet again had I not manage to blag a table courtesy of the local Milsom Place PR. (I know. I shouldn’t. But wouldn’t you given the chance?*)
There seemed to be plenty of people ready to brave the hour to an hour and a quarter's wait for a table, happily paying for the pleasure by ordering drinks from the bar (which I'm assuming weren't free).
Is it worth it? Well, yes, if you’re patient it is. It’s far, far better than any other chain I’ve been to from the point of view of food and service and brilliant value for money.
I ordered a ‘plank’ of seasonal meat antipasti (£6.95, above)- easily enough for a meal - which consisted of Tuscan fennel salami, pistachio mortadella, San Daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino and chilli jam, olives and a great little salad of pickled root veg described by my server as ‘dry coleslaw’ (Jamie’s is wonderfully unintimidating). Followed by a ‘small’ (actually quite large) portion of pasta (though not the advertised pappardelle) with a chunky rustic rabbit sauce (also £6.95) which you’d be hard pushed to get in Italy for the price.
You could - and of course I’m going to - quibble. They should warn you when you’re dining alone that the bread basket (£3.50) is big enough for a table of 4. I suspect the focaccia had been baked the previous day. The wine by the glass could have been fresher and I think they could do better than their rather flabby house Chardonnay which is served from a Tetrapak carton (no problem with that other than its effect on the contents)
And I do wonder if all these queues are strictly necessary. There were a couple of empty tables around me for at least half my meal and they apparently close the top floor during the afternoon when you might stand a chance of getting in without an hour's wait. Could it be that queuing is part of the schtick?
But it’s good, honest, generous food served by incredibly friendly staff. You could take anyone there from a 2 year old to an 82 year old. Not many restaurants out of London offer that - particularly at the price. Good old Jamie.
* I did pay in full for my meal though, in case you were wondering . . .
Have you been to a Jamie's Italian and what did you think?