I recently learnt that Jamie’s Italian was founded in Oxford by the man himself Jamie Oliver and Italian mentor, chef Gennaro Contaldo. They now have over 60 restaurants worldwide so they must be doing something right. With this in mind I ventured over to see what the fuss was about.
After reviewing the menu my initial thoughts were ‘classic Italian’ but I found that by not having an extensive menu selection it was refreshing and I found it really easy to make my food choices quickly.
Calamari is one of my favourite dishes in general, so when I saw Crispy Squid on the menu it was a no brainier. I also like spicy food so the Spicy ‘Nduja Meatballs seemed like the next obvious choice.
The waiter recommended some Cheesy Garlic Bread to accompany our starters, so we agreed.
Out of all of the starters I would say that the Crispy Squid was my favourite by far, followed by the Cheesy Garlic Bread. The squid was tender and not too oily just how it should be in my opinion and the dough of the bread was unreal, it tasted so fresh. On the other hand I have to say that the meatballs were not that great. I think there was three or four meatballs which weren’t particularly spicy and tasted like they were in a simple tomato sauce with not too much flavour and the accompanying bread wasn’t anything special.
My other half absolutely loves mushrooms so when she saw the Smoky Funghi (top), she didn’t take long to make that decision. I’m not a lover of mushrooms but I did try some and the flavour of the smoked mozzarella went so well with the mushroom sauce and mushrooms. If you really dislike mushrooms though I would avoid!
Again as I mentioned before I like spicy food so I opted for the Calabrese (bottom) which included ’Nduja meatballs, Cobble Lane pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato sauce, chilli & garlic.
I really enjoyed my pizza too, it was a simple Italian classic tasting pizza and again just like the Cheesy Garlic Bread the dough was fantastic.
For dessert (although we were really quite full after all that food before) we went for a Tiramisu and Baked Lemon and Ricotta Cheesecake.
The Tiramisu was incredibly soft and flavoursome which is always a good sign. I normally am not a fan of lemon cheesecakes but I can’t describe how fresh mine tasted and the contrast with the blueberry compote was amazing!
Conclusions and final thoughts
Overall I would say that Jamie’s Italian is a lovely place to try if you are in the mood for simple authentic Italian food. I think Italian restaurants have a particularly hard time in standing out from each other because there are so many of them in almost every big city. That being said Jamie’s Italian showed some consistency in the quality of the food we tried, with the exception of the Spicy ‘Nduja Meatballs but had really pleasant decor and a nice vibe inside. I noticed that a lot of other couples were in the restaurant so this might be a good place to take your other half for dinner.