To be in any of the Jamie’s Italian spots was pretty exciting for me. I had an unplanned business trip to Manchester and decided to take an advantage of it. And to be honest, I couldn’t wait to go and visit the place.
The entrance of the restaurant was very welcoming and was promising a great dinner. And it didn’t let us down. The building was meant to be a bank for a long time, but recently became one of Jamie’s Italian restaurants. The bank vault was kept and nowadays is a room which could be rented for special events.
The enormous space wasn’t exactly how I was imagining Jamie’s Italian though. I was thinking of a more cozy place than a bank.
But the food was a great example of Jamie Oliver’s passion for the Italian cuisine and of his whole philosophy for food.
The starters we took were Creamy Burrata cheese with cherry tomatoes and basil and Spicy Meatballs with tomato and basil sauce. Both of them a good example of the simple and non-pretentious Italian food.
The main dishes we took were Slow cooked lamb in Tuscan style and Swardfish steak with smashed avocado and cherry tomatoes salad. The taste was fantastic. The lamb was so lean that it was melting in the mouth and was seasoned great – as you really are in Tuscany and are able to try a mixture of all its tastes. The fish was light and fresh. The food was combined with craft beers and refreshing Pinot Grigio.
Then it was time for dessert – Lemon Cheesecake and Strawberry Semifreddo. So tasty, but so sweet. No matter how much a love sweets, I couldn’t finish my dessert. But the taste of it was the great end of a great dinner.
Going to the UK and to one of the Jamie’s Italian restaurants made me read more about the crisis of this chain earlier this year. The Italian restaurants of Jamie were almost let to bankruptcy and Jamie Oliver had to invest a lot of his savings to save it. And I couldn’t stop wondering why… Jamie Oliver for me is a synonym of affordable (both economically and in terms of time) way of cooking. He encourages people to go back to the homemade food and shows them how easy and cozy it is to eat home. May be here is the biggest mismatch of the ideas and the philosophy – eating home or going to one of Jamie’s restaurants? Jamie Oliver is already a very strong brand in the modern culinary industry but in my mind it is always meant for cooking at home and making people spend time and share food together and enjoy the coziness of their own homes.
I would go again there, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the experience and the food and I would like to try more of what’s Jamie’s choice to include in his menu. But I would definitely prefer to watch his TV shows, to read his books, to try his recipes at home.
If you have your own experience in any of Jamie Oliver restaurants, I would be happy to hear about it 🙂