Every girl aged 14-65 has a soft spot for cheeky old Jamie Oliver, (good choice, Jules). When I was invited by him and his team for dinner with a friend, in any Jamie’s Italian restaurant of my choice, I was absolutely delighted.
I found a partner in crime, my best friend Laura, and accepted the offer, booking into Jamie’s Italian on Threadneedle Street, Bank on Thursday last week. We were very warmly welcomed into the restaurants striking main room; designed to reflect the grandeur of the financial districts heyday. Dotted with chandeliers, custom-built oak tables and stunning architecture – you’d never guess this was a chain restaurant. Having climbed out of the stuffy rabbit warren that is Bank tube station moments before, we were grateful for the breathing space. We were quickly handed two chilled glasses of their delicious Viognier (my staple) and shown to a bouncy green velour sofa and table. The stresses of the day vaporised. How delightful.
I found myself flattered by the special treatment, the staff couldn’t have done enough for the two of us. Half way though my drink, I realised that actually, Jamie’s staff give this 120% service level to each and every one of their customers, how presumptuous of me to think it was just us. Throughout the night, the service at Jamie’s is just consistently, delightfully brilliant. Every table was laughing and joking with the staff, who speak passionately about his skills and ideas. It creates a little sparkle of Jamie that glitters through the (enormous) room.
The menu was shorter than I expected, with meticulous ingredient sourcing, and detail to each dish like the British veal with San Daniele prosciutto and fontina, topped with a Burford Brown fried egg and black truffle (£23.50), or the pan-roasted Norfolk chicken breast served on the bone with pancetta, peas, charred leeks in a herby broth (£19.95). It made for interesting reading…
More importantly – onto what we did eat…To start we had the Puglian Burrata with San Daniele prosciutto, Isle of Wight tomatoes, olives & basil – delightful. The milky soft cheese and salty black olives over green soft red tomatoes were filling, flavoursome and fresh. (£8.50)
The hollandaise that came alongside the grilled English asparagus with a crispy fried Burford Brown egg, fresh truffle and Parmesan was totally addictive; we couldn’t get enough of it, I’ve always thought it took real culinary talent to make the perfect hollandaise sauce. Jamie nailed it. Again, a hearty big portion of food bursting with flavour (I know it looks tiny in the picture – its the MASSIVE plate). (£8.50).
My main dish order wont shock anyone…the Salmon Superfood Salad. I order this type of dish a lot, wherever I go (You know, the healthy/fresh/raw veg & ‘super grain’ with smoked salmon one…), not because I’m a stick-thin health and fitness maniac (could be forgiven though……couldn’t I……no?), but because I like genuine, natural flavours and different textures. And, although I don’t like to admit it, restaurants usually fail on flavour – big time (NB apart from Boma Restaurant – theirs rocks). They often lacklustre, usually due to poorly sourced ingredients and absence of decent dressing. HOWEVER – with a touch of Jamie’s magical hands, we have an exciting, colour packed, crunchy, filling plate of truly delicious food. Every part of the dish from the texture of the rice, quinoa, lentils, pomegranate and pumpkin seeds to the soft salmon and stiff beetroot slices were a pleasure. Soaked in lemon and fennel dressing which really gets the mouth-watering, and balanced with whipped goats curd and sliced avocado. It was heaven! as my friend Lily would say. (£17.95).
The Lamb Ragu Casarecce presented proper Italian grannies cooking; there was a lot of depth to the tomatoey and aubergine sauce; it was like a big hug in a bowl, doused in red wine. Super simple and adored by the lovely Laura. (£15.95). We couldn’t quite stomach puddings, opting for Hendricks and tonics (“SLIMLINE!”) instead.
You’ll find yourself properly relaxing over your food here, and that’s because of the space between tables, meaning that for once in a London restaurant, during dinner, you don’t have to listen to others on the next table complaining about TFL’s laborious strike, rattling on about trades, whingeing about business, and they don’t have to listen to you droning on about being 10lbs overweight whilst eating ragu.
I’m not alone in my love for this restaurant; it was absolutely packed on Thursday last week with friends, couples, work dinners and of course naughty business men with their wandering eyes, looking for trouble. Taxi!
Thank you again to Jamie and his brilliant team for such a delightful evening, I hugely recommend a visit and when you do, I challenge you to feel anything less that completely satisfied on leaving.
Check out the menu here.
Check out Jamie’s Italian locations here.
Want to see more Italian Restaurant reviews? Check out a Chelsea favourite La Famiglia.