Monday, June 18, 2012

Jamie's Italian, Sydney

There has been a lot of buzz around Jamie's Italian ever since it opened last year, While most comments I've heard are positive, there were a few that weren't so kind. Keeping an open mind, I arrived at the restaurant with a group of friends. The couple in front of us was told there is an one hour and 20mins wait for a table, thank heavens we had a group big enough to make a reservation.

We were seated upstairs with a view of the open kitchen below. The whole place has an industrial feel to it, dark, lots of metal, graffiti walls, red banquets, wooden tables and metal chairs.

To kick off our meal, we ordered a meat plank and soon enough the waiter came around our table with two giant cans of Italian tomatoes. A few brows were raised, eyes met and the question "what are we suppose to do with these?" hung in the air.

Antipasti Meat Plank
The mystery was solved when our waiter brought the plank to our table and balanced the long wooden board on the cans, and all of a sudden we had an antipasti feast in front of us: cured meats (San Daniele prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, finocchio & capocollo), cheeses (Buffalo mozzarella & pecorino with chilli jam), pickles (curly green chillies, green & Gaeta olives & caper berries) and a lovely crunchy salad (shaved root veg with chilli, lemon & mint).

What I love about Italian food is the way you eat it. It's all about sharing, and a big group means you get to try a bit of everything. The stand out dish of the night was one of the antipasti plates, Crispy Stuffed Risotto Balls (smoked mozzarella & porcini arancini), luckily we didn't have to fight over the last one as we had just enough to go around the table.

Opinions on the mains were divided, the general consensus was that the pastas were well made, be it the Wild Rabbit Tagliolini (Slow-cooked McLeay Valley rabbit ragù with garlic & herbs, mascarpone & Amalfi lemon), or the Tagliatelle Bolognese (old-school classic ragù of beef, pork, herbs, Chianti & Parmesan with crunchy herby breadcrumbs). However, when it came to the Angus Sirloin Steak (Aussie pasture-fed Sirloin with grilled mushrooms & dressed peppery watercress), I was told it was rather ordinary and since the guy who ordered it does eat steaks often, I don't imagine he'd be far off with his taste buds. I could even hear the disappointment in his voice.

Dessert was well received by the whole group, the Ultimate Brownie (Chocolate, raspberry & amaretto brownie with vanilla ice cream) and Tiramisu (Coffee-flavoured trifle with orange mascarpone & chocolate) definitely worth a mention. They are must tries for chocolate and coffee lovers!

I do love watching Jamie Oliver's 30-minute meals on TV, but honestly, it'll probably require quite a bit of practice before I could do one of those meals so quickly and having them turn out looking just as good. The best solution? Dine at one of his restaurant.

Jamie's Italian: 107 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000  Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

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