Who doesn’t know Jamie Oliver? If one is not glued to their televisions watching his cook show or to his cookbook, then you probably know him from his recent global campaign for better food education, or well I am sure at least all the ladies would know him pretty well for his charming personality and that cute dimpled smile.
Jamie’s Italian is a large space on the 3rd floor of the plush Ambience Mall, just next to the famous Kylin Premier. Spacious, smart and subtle; that’s all the restaurant is all about. First step in, and you’re literally mesmerised by the ambiance, you cannot miss the buzz and the geniality all around you. Jamie’s Italian may have a stripped-down industrial loo, which is now very much in vogue, but its heart and soul are in the right place. From the authentic concept of open kitchens borrowed from England, to the inclusion of the local delight in the minutest of things like a light chandler made out of bangles, the place is beautifully lit and welcomes you with great spirit. It’s bound to brighten your day and night, literally!!
The restaurant is homely and inviting, with wood and leather interiors, chalkboard announcers, large open kitchens and Jamie’s merchandise- cookbooks, branded napkins, porcelain oven dishes and wooden planks- on sale. The walls here are hung with photographs of Jamie framed in rustic wood; and large chalkboards advertising delicious ingredients.
The pastas are quite the highlight at Jamie’s, as is evident right at the entrance, the pasta is freshly rolled at the restaurant, as are the hand-tossed pizza bases. And if you miss seeing it, there are placards all over the restaurant reinstating the freshness of past, ingredients and food cooked with oodles of love!!
Jamie and his talented team here, take pride in their approach towards organic food, procuring local and fresh ingredients.
We were greeted by their head chef Mr. Druv Mallik, who is such a cheerful, bubbly and full of life kind of person. He kept informing us about each and every dish, about the story behind it, he is so passionate about his food and service, that I was compelled to ask him to recommend the entire menu for the evening. The service was flawless and smooth, especially our server Mr. Benny (not sure about the name, was too high on food!!) ,who was again very cheerful and active and was on his toes throughout the night, to fulfil even the smallest of our needs or clarify any query. He was so well informed about all the dishes on the menu and also happily gave us some recommendations.
We started with one alcoholic and one non alcoholic drink, the name again are not confirmed as they were specially prepared for us; the cocktails was made of vodka, orange juice, kaffir lime leaves and vanilla syrup, it was subtle with the citrus of the orange along with the slight sweetness of the vanilla syrup to pacify it. The mocktail was a refreshing combination of watermelon and mint, perfect as a start up!!
Later on we also sipped our way through; Rosemary & Lychee Sophia: which went perfectly with my meal, a combo of tequila, lychee juice and garnished with a strand of fresh rosemary.
In the no alcoholic department to accompany the same was Lychee Spritz: a delicious drink made of lychee, mint and lime, topped with soda and a rosemary sprig
Coming down to the food part, Chef Dhruv recommended the following, which we happily enjoyed and polished off the plates;
First, what came to our table was a show stopper, Seasonal Vegetable Plank: a beauty in itself, this plank comprised of chargrilled vegetables, marinated in garlic and herb infused oil, served with mini buffalo mozzarella, Sicilian caponata, vegetarian parmesan, chilli jam and a selection of pickles and assorted olives.
Two tomato sauce cylinders form the base for a wooden bridge to hold the plank, the story behind this setup as narrated by the head chef is that in Italy, people come together for the love of food and believe in sharing the same, so that they all can dig in the dish directly to share the delicious meal, the plank is built to make it convenient for everyone.
Next came one of the best salads I had ever had, full of healthy ingredients, anti-oxidants and delicious goodness, Super Food Salad: a bowl full of grilled avocado, candied beets, pulses, grains, sprouting broccoli, ricotta, pomegranate, quinoa, and toasted seeds, a perfectly light and healthy salad for all those who are peculiar about their health. A collection of antioxidants arranged into an easy mountain of crunchy quinoa, ruby pomegranate seeds, delicate feta and fleshy, flavorful avocado.
Next came a delicacy from the sea, Crispy Squid: squid morsels covered with a thin batter coating, deep fried, giving it a crispy coating on the outside and leaving the squids really tender from inside, leaving the perfect bite to it, served with garlic and lemon mayo, chilli, parsley and fried garlic, making it one of my favourite dishes of the evening.
How could I come to Jamie’s and not try their Famous Prawn Linguine…: garlicky fried prawns, fennel, tomatoes, chilli tossed with linguine, topped with rocket leaves, was another hit, the pasta was cooked al dente, the prawns were cokked perfectly and the sauce was perfectly balanced.
We also tried their veg gnocchi, in pesto sauce, served with grilled asparagus, parmesan shards and sun dried tomatoes, the gnocchi was so soft and moist, the taste and texture really pleasing and subtle.
Next that came on the table was a huge offering, that made left us gawking at the sheer size and layers of the same for few seconds, till the aroma drifted and compelled us to dig in, another vegetarian delight, Veggie Burger: a toasted brioche bun with a herby chickpea, soya bean and six0seed pattie, served with marinated feta, balsamic onions, lettuce, a fennel and beet slaw. To accompany this huge delicious monster were homemade funky chips, hand cut and triple cooked, they are topped with crispy garlic and herbs, and her super tasty and crispy!!
Last savoury item on the table was a grilled red snapper with mashed potato, two thick fillets of snapper, served with creamy mashed potato and a delicious sauce was good .
Then the much awaited course arrived and though we were too full, but because it was dessert time and one is never too full for desserts, and we wanted to taste a couple of them, Dhruv was kind and sweet enough to order a mini platter consisting three of his best desserts, which we polished off in no time.
The trio consisted of, their famous, Tiramisu, Baked Cheesecake and Epic Brownie: the tiramisu was the best one I had in a very long time, a coffee-flavoured Italian trifle with orange mascarpone and chocolate, the Kahlua content was just perfect, giving it the required bitterness, and the orange mascarpone accentuated the taste to another level.
The cheesecake was baked perfectly, and was smooth and light, topped with candied orange and zest, the cheesecake was just perfect with just the tinge of orange.
True to its name, this brownie is like no other, truly epic, homemade, warm fudgy brownie served with ice cream, chocolate sauce and caramelised popcorn. The brownies was melt-in- your-mouth, and delicious, the cool creaminess of the ice cream complimented the warm fudginess of the brownie, and the caramelised popcorn added the perfect crunch to complete this delicious ending.
Its food is accessible, the seating intimate and informal, the pricing comfortable, and the constant activity in the open kitchen accentuates the sense of anticipation. Jamie Oliver is a great believer in comfort food, and in the supremacy of ingredients, and you can see the philosophy at work in the restaurant.
Jamie expresses its prominence in its storage and sourcing, arousing curiosity and knowledge about healthy eating in the market. They knead their dough, make their own pasta and import ingredients that are not available in the local market. Summing it up, no compromise on quality, at all.