Tuesday, 13 November 2012

REVIEW! Jamie's Italian Reading

Jamie's Italian Reading

Lunch today was my first time visiting Jamie's Italian.  I went with 3 work colleagues for our Christmas lunch...yes I know that it is only November but one my colleagues is off on maternity leave soon so this is one of the last times that our team will be together for a little while.

It was good job that we had booked in advance as the restaurant was rammed.  I have walked past this place a few times on shopping trips to Reading and it always seems popular.  They certainly pack the tables into this place, it is quite cramped and I noticed them asking shoppers to leave their bags by the front door (in lockers I assume).

The decor was a cross between modern and rustic; there were a lot of wooden chopping boards about the restaurant and if you have ever watched any of Jamie Oliver's TV shows you will know that this is a man obsessed with wooden chopping boards.  You could purchase these along with various other items on display at the front of the restaurants.

Jamie's Italian ReadingI ordered Pumpkin and Smoked Mozzarella Nachos for my starter.  On the menu they are described as crispy fried and served with fiery arrabbiata sauce. I was quite surprised when they arrived as they looked more like ravioli.  The little parcels were crispy which is why I suppose they are called nachos. The pumpkin and mozzarella filling did have a slight smokiness to it but overall was fairly bland and fair few of the parcels had no filling at all.  The arrabbiata sauce was definitely not what I would describe as fiery, I was expecting some heat but it was pretty mild; it was however very nice and added a bit of flavour to an otherwise dull starter.  The price was £3.50 for this dish.

One of my colleagues ordered a Cured Meat Antipasti Plank (another wooden chopping board) which at £6.85 is quite pricey for a starter.  Interestingly, prior to being served, the waiter brought over two tins of tomatoes and placed them on the table which was a bit bizarre, it turned out this was some sort of makeshift stand for the plank...very odd.

My boss ordered an Italian bread selection (£3.75) which is the photo at the beginning of the review. This included some focaccia, sourdough, ciabatta, tortano and crispy music bread (which looked a bit like a poppadom).  This was a very good amount of bread but it did not come with a plate and given that it was dripping in oil, made it a bit messy.
Jamie's Italian Reading
For my main, I ordered Honeycomb Cannelloni 3 Ways (£10.95).  This was aubergine and sun-dried tomato, pumpkin, and ricotta and spinach cannelloni. The pumpkin cannelloni was nice as it was quite sweet but the other two flavours were quite bland like my starter.

One colleague ordered the burger (which arrived on another chopping board!) and at £10.95 you would expect this to come with chips but he had to order these separately at £3.25. Another colleague ordered the Baked Shetland Salmon (£11.25) which was served with winter veg and a zesty crunchy salad.  The piece of salmon was very large but the veg looked disappointing.  I think I counted 2 baby carrots and a big wedge of something that looked like turnip and another wedge of what I think was swede; it looked like it had literally been thrown at the plate.  I would have expected again some sort of potatoes served with a dish of this price.

Drinks were £2.45 and bottled beer was £4.10.

Verdict
Jamie's Italian has been way over-hyped. The food was just OK and certainly not worth the high price tag.  I suppose Jamie Oliver is cashing in on his name which is fair enough but I expected a much higher standard of food for the money.  I guess it just shows that if a product has the right name on it people with pay for it...or in the case of Jamie's napkins steal it (see this Daily Mail article)!

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