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Jamies Italian Canberra. A restaurant review

By johnboy 20 November 2013 26

lasagna

Goosepig and her colleagues were going to the new Jamie’s Italian and I was able to tag along on their booking.

Despite my invite to the bloggers lunch somehow going missing I’ll admit to being somewhat intrigued despite never really taking to Jamie Oliver’s many televisual outings.

First impression was just how busy they are down there on Bunda Street. We had to queue just to give our booking details.

Second impression is that the decor is a bit naff. Which one supposes matches the whole Jamie Oliver thing. It reminded me a lot of Outback Steakhouses in the US. There lots of little booths, lots of cured meats hanging from the rafters, and a great deal of Jamie Oliver merchandise.

The third impression was the noise. So very, very noisy. It was the death-spiral noisy where everyone is having to talk louder to be heard. An open plan kitchen and families bringing babies to the restaurant simply adds to the mix.

Having got past all that there was the minor disappointment of not being able to find any beer on the menu. Italy makes some amazing beers and be it Loading Zone or Italian and Sons it’s something I’ve come to look forward to in Italian dining.

Once seated, however, the strengths of the place shine through.

The staff were, despite being very busy, very good. Orders smartly taken, food arriving all at the same time, checking how we were, but not too often.

In a town where bad service is all too often the norm it was lovely to get it just about spot on.

I started with the so called world’s best olives:

olives

I discovered big fleshy sicilian olives a few years ago and have been a firm fan ever since. Here they were served on crushed ice with some flat bread and dip (might have been a tapenade).

It was followed by the lasagna seen at the top of the page.

The lasagna was delicious, crispy on top, warmed all through, with a great mix of flavours.

My luncheon companions expressed a great deal of satisfaction in their meals (“best risotto ever” was heard).

The best bit was that (admittedly without drinks) lunch came to $25.

So it largely brings what it says on the tin.

Very good food at pretty reasonable prices with good service.

Worth checking out.


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26 Responses to
Jamies Italian Canberra. A restaurant review
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Madam Cholet 8:47 am 29 Dec 13

JC said :

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Oh god JC, outback jacks is the worst.

There are worse, Outback Steak House for example and it wasn’t my choice of venue either.

When I first came to Australia, my relatives very proudly took us to a Black Stump ‘restaurant’ in Sydney. This was 20 years ago, but by golly it was a bad. I’m not sure they still exist – one hopes not for the good of mankind.

JC 7:40 pm 28 Dec 13

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Oh god JC, outback jacks is the worst.

There are worse, Outback Steak House for example and it wasn’t my choice of venue either.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 2:33 pm 28 Dec 13

Oh god JC, outback jacks is the worst.

ausbradr 12:30 pm 28 Dec 13

Has all the hype died down with this restaurant to the point where one can ring say, a week in advance and get a booking?

JC 8:19 am 28 Dec 13

Erin B said :

We walked past today and saw five or six empty tables outside – after trying to get the attention of two different staff (it was almost hilarious the extremes one waitress went to in ignoring us while getting cutlery right next to where we were standing) we sat down. One of the waiters whisked past and asked if everything was okay, we told him we wanted to check if the table was free (there were no ‘Reserved’ signs around) and he said he’d go check with the hostess. Then he never came back.

One of our party went inside and asked another waitress if we were right to sit down, and she was told we had to speak to the hostess and that there was a line for the hostess. We decided to go elsewhere and then a hostess came out to tell us there was a half hour wait for tables (even with all the empty tables outside).

We weren’t trying to queue jump, but if you want people to see the hostess, it might be worth putting a sign or something (we approached from the opposite side to the hostess) or get your staff to tell people straight up.

Whilst I get you were trying to do the right thing a lack of a reserved sign doesn’t mean the table is free and available. Not all restaurants put signs on the table and may have it reserved in their book. It of course can be frustrating when you see plenty of empty tables only to be told the joint is full. Indeed I went once to Kingslys which was in the same location as Jamies one evening at around 6pm, not a customer in the store but not tables available. Now I reckon they were being plain stupid as some of their bookings weren’t till 8, but their policy was not to double book, so my wife and I moved on.

Also went to Outback Jacks at 6:30p, the other evening without a booking to be told no tables free until 8. We tried to call someone else that was meeting us there that we were looking for somewhere else to eat, he didn’t answer, then 5 minutes later told us he was waiting for us inside Outback Jacks. It seems in the 5 minutes between when we were there and he arrived a table became free. Of course during our 1.5 hours in the restaurant the place was only max 3/4 full with plenty of empty tables.

toriness 11:58 pm 27 Dec 13

i never liked the jamie oliver shows (he just annoys me) but having gone to his restaurants throughout UK, i was pretty excited when one opened in canberra. i’ve been a couple of times now – one time having a previous booking and then last night, without. i still rate the restaurant for food choice/quality/price and good service overall but a couple of funny things i noticed about last night – firstly the number of empty tables but we were told one would be free in 1/2 hour – which was fine with us, we headed to shorty’s for a pre-dinner cocktail – but then got an sms only 15 minutes later saying the table was ready. anyway all good, we sculled our drinks and headed over – then when placing my order i asked for a main size of ravioli and was told the kitchen had run out of main sizes and only had the entree sizes – maybe i’m just ignorant from never having worked in a cafe/restaurant but is this weird as in it points to not being freshly prepared? because certainly it doesn’t taste/look like reheated food when it comes out. anyway i still think the place is great – walking away from a delicious 2-course dinner including glass of wine for $40 p.p. is great.

c_c™ 11:22 pm 27 Dec 13

tommy said :

The kids dishes were a bit bland too – but maybe Jamie doesn’t give them much/any salt – so going from your adult main dish to the kids is a bit of a shock.

That’s interesting, I can’t say I’ve noticed him on TV being stingy with the salt, though he definitely doesn’t pile it on like some cooks. I did notice though his pasta sauce line has appeared in the local Woolies stores and has about 1/3 the salt per 100g than any other brand.

Erin B 10:34 pm 27 Dec 13

We walked past today and saw five or six empty tables outside – after trying to get the attention of two different staff (it was almost hilarious the extremes one waitress went to in ignoring us while getting cutlery right next to where we were standing) we sat down. One of the waiters whisked past and asked if everything was okay, we told him we wanted to check if the table was free (there were no ‘Reserved’ signs around) and he said he’d go check with the hostess. Then he never came back.

One of our party went inside and asked another waitress if we were right to sit down, and she was told we had to speak to the hostess and that there was a line for the hostess. We decided to go elsewhere and then a hostess came out to tell us there was a half hour wait for tables (even with all the empty tables outside).

We weren’t trying to queue jump, but if you want people to see the hostess, it might be worth putting a sign or something (we approached from the opposite side to the hostess) or get your staff to tell people straight up.

Deref 11:47 am 21 Nov 13

tommy said :

The place is loud when fully seated – looking at the ceiling they have done nothing to dampen sound. They have an open kitchen as noted – and polished concrete floor, ceiling to floor glass.

What contempt for their customers.

zorro29 9:47 am 21 Nov 13

I tried to go to the Sydney restaurant last night and it was 1.5-2 hour wait for a table 🙁 ended up eating elsewhere

Masquara 11:20 pm 20 Nov 13

“past a’ll that”
(Para 6)
Boom tish

tommy 8:44 pm 20 Nov 13

I went with a large party on Monday night (12 pax – 0.8% surcharge for large party). The place was packed – on a Monday. Everyone was dressed up like it was Friday night – on a Monday.

The place is loud when fully seated – looking at the ceiling they have done nothing to dampen sound. They have an open kitchen as noted – and polished concrete floor, ceiling to floor glass. If you are hearing impaired, ask for an outside table – I think it’d be quieter!

The wait staff are all young and new, there are heaps of them and they are willing to help out even if it is not always efficiently. They were reasonably nice to the kids.

The food quality is good – given they are serving a lot of people – but it’s not white table cloth dining if that’s what you are expecting. It is better than Belluci’s which is probably the MacD’s of the Italian restaurant line. Only a couple of people said their main was disappointing – mostly because starters were so well done.

The only issue I had was that my main did not get served with the rest – after some “I’ll check where it is” they came back to say that the chef rejected it for quality (otherwise known as “I didn’t place the order” most likely). No discount for late dish. The kids dishes were a bit bland too – but maybe Jamie doesn’t give them much/any salt – so going from your adult main dish to the kids is a bit of a shock.

DrKoresh 4:17 pm 20 Nov 13

johnboy said :

I looked pretty damn hard.

Then use your words next time!

Jungle Jim 4:17 pm 20 Nov 13

poetix said :

And shouldn’t olives be at room temperature? So you can taste them?

Though I suppose Jamie Oliver would know about that. (Hilarious, hm?)

Indeed. (To the hilarity, of course – I have no idea at all about olives – or Mr Oliver for that matter)

    johnboy 4:20 pm 20 Nov 13

    Sicilian olives are a very different beast to most others. Fleshier, oilier, not as salty.

    I think chilling them was a good way to go.

maxblues 4:14 pm 20 Nov 13

tikbalang said :

You forgot to mention the reactionary mcdonaldisation of even the humble italian restaurant represented by the Joliver tanks rolling up on our lawns.

+1
Canberra owned restaurants like La Scala will always get our vote. Great food (the zucchini flowers are a must), a good BYO policy and a great wine list (Mistress Cherie calls the Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio “sex-in-a-bottle”).

MarkJ 4:13 pm 20 Nov 13

You maybe should have looked at the menu a bit closer, they’ve got two beers – Messina and Castello. Neither particularly inspiring for mine, but beer nonetheless.

thatsnotme 4:10 pm 20 Nov 13

Funny, on their online menu they have two bottled beers (Messina & Castello) listed. Looks like the same menu everywhere too. It’d be a shame if that we’re missing from the Canberra menu.

bigfeet 3:47 pm 20 Nov 13

No beer? Seriously?

Are they not licensed at all?

tikbalang 3:34 pm 20 Nov 13

You forgot to mention the reactionary mcdonaldisation of even the humble italian restaurant represented by the Joliver tanks rolling up on our lawns.

poetix 3:24 pm 20 Nov 13

And shouldn’t olives be at room temperature? So you can taste them?

Though I suppose Jamie Oliver would know about that. (Hilarious, hm?)

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