We have been to Jamie’s Italian a few times before; although we do not like chains we find this one pretty hard to fault as Italian restaurants go. This time we went to the restaurant in Canary Wharf, which was full of after work city boys in suits drinking in the bar. You cannot book a table at Jamie’s but are given a pager to alert you for when your table is ready. To be honest the wait is not painful as the bar is fresh and vibrant with a nice range of spirits and wines. After a cocktail we were paged and sent to our table. The service is friendly. Although we have the feeling that the waiters are almost too sincere and that they are brainwashed into being friendly, confident and knowledgeable is a hard feeling to shake off. Not that we are complaining about this at all, as it’s what all of us dream of from a good restaurant – it just feels a little (how can we put this nicely) fake/standardised/routine?
We were seated in the large open dining room that is full of cured meat hanging by the kitchen/bar, fresh vegetables and herbs. The walls and floor are tiled white which goes well with the warmth from the dark moody atmosphere. We ordered two antipasti platters to share, one meat and one vegetable. They came on wooden boards that are balanced precariously on the same brand of tomato tins each time we have ordered this (as we said there is a constant feeling of robotic routine which makes this place feel less authentic despite these subtle features trying to make it just that). The antipasti is good with meaty artichoke, pepper and chillies in oil alongside roasted carrot, baby onions and beetroot on the vegetable platter and salami, chorizo and boar sausage sliced into slithers.
We did as the Italian’s do and had a ‘secondi’ of pasta. We ordered the rabbit ragout and the carbonara. Both were generous in size and delicious. The pasta was clearly freshly made in on the premises and cooked al dente. The rabbit ragout just melted in the mouth. It was in a deliciously salty tomato and red wine sauce that complemented the game. The carbonara was rich and creamy (for our pallet a little too rich but we guess this is why it would be ordered).
For main course we ordered the flash grilled feather steak, which was marinated in a lemon, sage and prosciutto dressing served with tomato salsa. The salsa was too small to go alongside the meat and the dish does not come with any sides, so these need to be ordered to supplement this. We also ordered the rump steak, which was thick though just slightly overcooked. This came with grilled mushrooms and a peppery rocket salad. In comparison the thin steak looked rather measly; although we must stress it still tasted great, as the marinade really had penetrated the thin meat.
The food service was quick and efficient and there was nice attention to detail such as the ‘authentic’ looking plates, rustic herb pots on the table and cold metal chairs against the warm wood. Jamie’s Italian is satisfying and as far as chains go it is a long way from most of the typical chains, although its attention to detail is almost over thought out and standardised. Maybe it is because we have been to a number of these outlets but it’s a feeling hard to shake off.
As a result we think it’s fair to give Jamie’s Italian:
Food Atmosphere Service