“Can’t believe you went to Jamie’s Italian last night, LOL!”
That was the first thing my friend said to me the very next morning when I messaged her. But I was like, hang on gurllllll! Yes I did have a bad experience the first time I visited this restaurant but that was three years ago! Besides, my friend has never been to the restaurant and only passing judgement based on other reviews or what she’s been told.
So I beg to differ.
I’m not a “one strike and you’re out” kind of guy and usually do give restaurants some time to rectify and hopefully things have improved over time. Three years was long enough for a second visit and I was also curious to see how things have changed here at Jamie’s Italian.
Also, I have to admit that Jamie’s Italian wasn’t my first choice when I had to pick a restaurant to dine with a fellow food blogger from Singapore. I actually had booked Berta days in advance as I’ve never been and would love to check it out. Unfortunately I got informed at the last minute that she couldn’t make it back into city in time for the dinner which ended up I had to cancel the booking and look for another restaurant. When I told her that I had chosen Jamie’s Italian as the emergency backup plan, she couldn’t believe it as she didn’t really rate the Jamie’s branch in Singapore which naturally casted a negative view on all branches around the world for her.
Well, tough luck.
It was almost impossible to get a table at any restaurant in the city on a Friday night. Even when I decided to go to Jamie’s, I actually had to leave my name on the waiting list and been told that there would be a 2-hour wait. So by the time they had a table for us, it was almost 9pm.
The restaurant hasn’t changed a bit and still just as busy as I remembered. The menu has a few new items plus all the signature dishes. We started with two entrees to share among the four of us. The crispy squid was actually lacked of crispness as promised, but they were tender and not rubbery, we happily dipped them in the rich, garlicky mayo.
The porcini mushroom arancini were delicious and exactly what an arancini should be, soft centre of cheesy porcini risotto that wasn’t soggy and a crispy crust on the outside, served with an intensely rich arrabbiata thick sauce.
For mains, we went for the prawn linguine as it was one of Jamie’s signature dishes I’ve been told. I was underwhelmed by the pasta dishes during my first visit as they were undercooked and tacky that stuck between the teeth, so I was pleased to find the linguine was cooked beautifully this time, al-dante and still a little chewy. There was a generous of plump prawns swimming in the noodle, but I found the rocket leaves unnecessary and overpowering.
The classic grilled chicken from the old menu was long gone and replaced with chicken al Mattone, the free-range marinated chicken now served with creamy wild mushroom sauce and again, topped with lemony rockets and grated Parmesan. The chicken was tender and smokey from the grill, I actually preferred this dish more than the previous one.
We also shared grilled onglet tagliata which supposedly to be shared between two as suggested in the menu. Onglet is also known as hanger steak, it derived from the diaphragm of a steer which usually has more flavour. The meat was cooked to perfection of medium rare, juicy pink and tender with an addictive charcoal smokiness. It came with roasted portobello mushroom and a side of skinny fries. Although it suggested that the dish is suitable for two, the portion size was actually just enough for one person with a normal appetite.
Overall, it was a pleasant meal and the food had slightly improved from our previous visit. Having said that, I am still deterred by the price tags and the long wait. But who knows, I might come back, say in 3 years time?
107 Pitt Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
P: 02 8240 9000