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Jamies Italian Canberra. A restaurant review

By johnboy - 20 November 2013 26


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:


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.

What’s Your opinion?

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26 Responses to
Jamies Italian Canberra. A restaurant review
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.

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.

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 4:15 pm 20 Nov 13

I looked pretty damn hard.

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.

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.

johnboy 3:49 pm 20 Nov 13

plenty of wines and cocktails on the 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?)

Deref 3:21 pm 20 Nov 13

Quite a mixture, then. Good food, good service, good prices; lousy ambience. I detest noisy restaurants – there’s absolutely no excuse for that.

I’ll probably give it a go though.

Holden Caulfield 3:12 pm 20 Nov 13

I went for dinner last night and thought it was pretty good too. Not earth shatteringly brilliant by any means, but if they can maintain their current standard across all facets (ie. quality staff, menu variety and flavours) then they’ll be there as long as Jamie cares to be in Canberra.

I sat outside, so can’t comment on what the inside is like for dining, but outside was good and offers Bunda Street a much better atmosphere than the previous restaurant in the same location which was very hidden away from the public eye.

Perhaps because it was a Tuesday night and it was therefore quieter, but my tip would be to try your luck as a walk-in from around 9pm rather than waiting weeks for a booking. There were heaps of tables spare at 9 last night.

poetix 2:42 pm 20 Nov 13

The pink chairs are a bit tragic.

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