A and I are heading to Italy in three weeks and what better way to get us in the Italian frame of mind than a trip to the newly-opened Jamie’s Italian. We went knowing that there would be a line (as the Sydney eatery still has a line even though it has been open for 18 months!), so we went prepared with a bottle of water and a muesli bar for A.
We joined the back of the line and shortly after, we were greeted by a waitress telling us that there was a two hour wait once we reached the front of the line. She softened the news by offering a selection of antipasti, including bread, cured meats, buffalo mozarella and pecorino with chili jam, green and gaeta olives and curly green chills to nibble on while the line edged closer and closer to the door.
When we reached the front of the line, we were directed to the hostess who took our details and provided us with a buzzer. There are two options – you can wait at the bar (if you choose to wait for a seat to appear) or you can go elsewhere and wait for the call from Jamie’s Italian when your table is ready. Seeing as though it was Good Friday, we decided to have a drink at the bar but in future we’ll be dashing off for a drink elsewhere. The bar waiting area felt a little like a holding pen, as seating is limited and it’s a scramble to find a place to stand comfortably without being in the way of the bar area.
For our wait, I ordered the Amalfi Punch ($15.50) (vodka, limoncello & strawberry puree with a squeeze of lemon, finished with pink peppercorns) and A ordered the Florence Fizz ($16.50) (limoncello, pomegranate juice, elderflower cordial and prosecco). Unfortunately, there were no bar snacks available on the night but hopefully in the near future you’ll be able to order some nibbles for your wait.
In just under 2 hours from our arrival time, we were seated. Jamie’s Italian has a big space but somehow they’ve been able to make it feel funky and relaxed, even though all the space is used efficiently.
The main pièce de résistance of the decor was the slightly prominent chandelier.
We were quick to order our food, as our wait time came in handy for choosing our dishes (and working up an appetite!). For our entree we ordered Crispy Squid ($12) and Crispy Stuffed Risotto Balls ($9.50) to share. A ordered the Spaghetti Vongole ($15/$24.50) for her main but unfortunately they had sold out already. Her second choice was the Prawn Linguine ($16/$26.50) whereas I ordered the Tagliatelle Bolognese ($12.50/$19), as well as the Rocket & Radicchio side salad ($7) and Posh Chips ($6.50). For our beverages, A ordered a glass of the Redbank Garganega ($9.50) and I ordered the Barone Ricasoli Chianti ($11.50).
Our Crispy Squid and Risotto Balls arrived very quickly; a surprising feat for a busy restaurant. I fell in love with the crispy squid, which had the most amazing garlicky mayo. There was also heaps of flavour in the squid batter, thanks to the generous addition of salt, pepper and chilli. It was delicious!
The Crispy Stuffed Risotto Balls were also well-received, with the smoked mozzarella gooey and stringy and the porcini mushroom flavour an excellent match. The outside was deliciously crispy and overall, these were excellent arancini balls.
Our mains arrived next and we were both glad that we choose the smaller option (which is one handful of pasta, whereas the bigger option has two handfuls). A’s Prawn Linguine looked beautiful and she was kind enough to share a mouthful. The overall flavour of the linguine was really garlicky, but the addition of tomatoes, chilli, rocket and fennel evened out the potential overpowering flavour. A said that there was a very generous amount of Spencer Gulf prawns within her dish and overall, she really enjoyed this pasta dish.
I thought my Tagliatelle Bolognese was perfect. The Ragu of beef, pork, herbs and Chianti was delicious and the tagliatelle was the perfect pairing. I also loved the addition of the crunchy, herby breadcrumbs. An excellent dish.
The Rocket & Radicchio side salad was a generous serving size for the $7 price tag and the produce was fresh and crunchy. A and I ordered the posh chips after reading that they are served with truffle oil and parmesan. The thick cut chips were golden and crunchy, with the truffle oil and parmesan adding an extra bit of flavour. Indulgent but definitely memorable!
Our waiter forgot to provide us with the complimentary Bread Basket until the end of the meal, but we still sampled a few of the breads by mopping up the last remnants of our sauces. The Italian bread selection includes homemade rosemary focaccia, italian grissini, crispy “music bread” and ciabatta from their in-house bakery. We were also provided with a ramekin of Rylstone extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic.
We couldn’t leave without ordering dessert so A opted for the Tiramisu ($9.50), while I indulged with the Tutti Frutti Lemon Meringue Pie ($8.50). A and I loved the tiramisu, especially the addition of the orange mascarpone on top, which was an excellent match with the coffee and chocolate flavour. The cake within the trifle layer was moist and there was an even ratio of cake and cream (our preference for tiramisu!). We’ll definitely be ordering this again during our next visit.
My lemon meringue was made with limoncello and had a crunchy pistachio brittle base. This dessert had an amazing flavour to it but was very sweet, possibly due to the limoncello. I had to put down my fork after only a few mouthfuls but would definitely recommend it if you enjoy sweet lemon meringue pie.
At the end of our dining experience, A and I had no negatives to say about Jamie’s Italian. On their second day of service, they exceeded expectations for the service and food provided. For just $103 (minus the cocktails), A and I enjoyed a memorable three course dinner with a glass of wine each – excellent value for money!
Would I go back there? Yes. Would I wait for 2 hours again? Absolutely!