Jamie's Italian, Sydney CBD

>> January 22, 2012

In the time since Jamie's Italian opened in Sydney in late 2011, I have lost count of how many times I have been there.  Hazarding a guess would put the count around seven or eight visits.

Before you start to think that I'm a crazy Jamie Oliver fan, let me explain.  Jamie's Italian is about a two minute walk from my work - it is literally down the street.  And when you are looking for somewhere to go for lunch everyday and there is good, reasonably priced food nearby - before you know it, you've tried half the menu and the waiters start to recognise you.

This is a post about one of my visits during a Friday lunchtime.  Yes, you heard right - arguably the busiest lunch day of the week and we dared to venture to Jamie's which only takes bookings for more than six people?

The solution was to have an early lunch.  Very early.  Jamie's opens at 11.30am and we were there at 11.45am.  Within 10 minutes after we arrived, the seats were filled and we could see a small line forming out the door.  Of course we smiled at our good fortune and permanently hungry stomachs which meant we could eat lunch at a time when most people are still digesting breakfast.


For those who don't know, there is complimentary bread available.  However, the waiters do not always offer it so be sure to ask if you feel like having some. It comes in a small tin with some olive oil and balsamic vingear.



We decided to start off with the salad of the day after our waitress declared that it was called the 'sexy' summer salad and waxed a spiel that would have made anyone salivate.


Special salad of the day ($14.00)

San Daniele prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, peaches, rocket with olive oil and balsamic vinegar 


The prosciutto was divine - so soft that it almost melted in the mouth and I loved tearing apart the small balls of mozzarella with a fork. 

The fresh pasta at Jamie's is made in the front window and watching them make the pasta is a good way to pass time if you're stuck in line.

The pastas come in both entree and main size, with the main sizes about the $20 mark.


Mussel Linguine ($20.00)

Scappato (runaway) mussels with garlic, chili, anchovies, parsely, black olives and breadcrumbs



I like the mussel linguine here because they are generous with the mussels.  There is the slightest kick from the chili and sweet cherry tomatos are found in the dish as well.


Lingurian fish stew ($27.00)
Responsibly sourced fish served with crunchy crostini, ripped herbs & wild garlic aioli


At the moment, the Lingurian fish stew is my favorite item on the menu.  At $27, it is a bit pricy for your average lunch but it is chock filled with fresh seafood. The stew is not like a soup, rather it is a light broth that is filled with flavour and quite shallow on the curved plate. There are also two large pieces of bread, soggy after soaking up the stew and easily torn apart. 

My favorite dessert here used to be the pannacotta.  But after my last few experiences with dessert at Jamie's, I'm not sure if I have a favorite anymore.  The first time that I tried the pannacotta, it was delicious. We shared it between three and I couldn't get enough of the smooth, creamy vanilla flavour.  The next time I tried it, we shared it between two and both of us agreed that it was grainy, not smooth like the first time and also stuck to the bottom of the plate.  The last time I tried it, we each ordered one and both of them were horribly grainy and gritty in the mouth.  Yuck!

So this time, we chose to try the ice cream.

Three scoops of ice cream, served with your choice of any two of seasonal fruits, honeycomb, butterscotch sauce or nuts and seeds ($8.00)



There is no polite way to put this.  This was the ugliest bowl of ice-cream I have ever had the misfortune of eating.  The small tin sundae cup was no match for the ice cream which had been hazardly scooped in. There was sauce and fruit bits dripping off the side onto the table and I saw that the poor fingers of our waitress were also coated in the sauce.

Unsurprisingly, it did not look appetising and I knew my face was screwed up with distaste as I forced myself to pick up the spoon and try to get some out without causing more spillage.

It tasted ok but nothing special and I wouldn't order it again.

We finished off our meal with tea and coffee.

Flat white ($4.35)


English breakfast tea ($4.25)



Jamie's Italian is a fun place to go for a weekday lunch.  The waiters are friendly, there is a buzzing vibe and the food is great (except for the desserts, which I'm not convinced on anymore).  The only thing you need to do is carefully time your visit so that you don't have to wait in line.  I've found that the best time to go for lunch is either before 12pm or after 1.30pm - and it is much easier to get a table for two than any other number.


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2 comments:

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) January 22, 2012 at 10:05 PM  

Some people reckon both the tiramisu and panna cotta are quite good? But what I want to know is, did you find the pasta undercooked? I've read quite a few times that people find it a little al dente for their liking.

retrodaze January 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM  

Hi Rita: The first time that I went to Jamie's, I was surprised to find the pasta to be a little harder than you usually find in restaurants but since then, I've gotten used to it being like that there. Out of the different pastas that I've tried there, the Cuttlefish Paccheri with its little pasta tubes was definitely the most al dente and I've avoided that one since.

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