Jamie’s Italian, Edinburgh
Having grown to over 40 restaurants worldwide, the Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain certainly exploded in popularity. Especially at home here in the UK, with its first ever restaurant opened in Oxford in 2008. It’s no secret that Italians are well renowned for their food. Having travelled around the South of Italy myself, I had both high hopes and expectations for trying out Jamie’s Italian. The Edinburgh chain is located on George Street, in the beautiful Assembly rooms, and the settings certainly set the scene. Somewhere I hadn’t been before, I had heard mixed reviews, but looked forward to it all the same.
What We Ate
We were invited to enjoy a complementary meal to review the experience at Jamie’s Italian. With this we needed to stick to a set menu. The set menu was very reasonable, offering three courses for £18.95 a price which I felt fair, after paying that much for a single main before now elsewhere in the city. We all chose similar options. For starters I chose the tomato and ricotta bruschetta, slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, whipped buffalo ricotta, basil and extra virgin olive oil. For mains, Italian steak and fries: flash-grilled prime beef steak with herby heirloom tomato salsa, rocket, aged Parmesan & spiced fries. Then for dessert, a molten chocolate cake with a liquid praline centre, served with vanilla ice cream and praline.
The restaurant itself had a great vibe about it. As soon as we entered we were transported into an atmospheric, almost underground feeling, dining room. The restaurant was quite dark with no windows inside and being dimly lit, it was at parts difficult to read the menu, but definitely set the mood. Further within the restaurant you’ll find the salad preparation bar in the middle surrounded by various hanging deli meats. We were seated by the kitchen, which was great to see the food being cooked right in front of us.
The starter, albeit lovely, seemed awfully small on my part. Two of us ate the same starter and one was considerably larger than the other. It was obvious that my slice was the end of the loaf, but it did strike me as odd that they would serve such a big piece next to a considerably smaller one to the same table. Especially with it being so obvious. That being said, it was still tasty and definitely had me looking forward to the mains.
For the mains, three of us had the steak. The steak came only one way, medium rare. You could specify to have it differently, but this was the recommendation. The steak was bigger than I anticipated, which was definitely a nice surprise. However, the salad was an odd combination of salad and cherry tomatoes. I’m not sure if it was intentional or if they were running out of one or the other, but it was nice all the same. As much as I like a crispy chip, these were another level, and not in the best of ways unfortunately. They seemed they had been so overdone that they were solid. Which resulted in a couple of mis-hap moments when we tried to get them onto our forks and they instead flew across the table!
I love dessert, I only wish it was acceptable to eat it for every meal. The molten chocolate pudding sounded right up my street, and it was. We all really enjoyed the dessert, it was a tough call between me having the pudding and the tiramisu, but my chocolate heart won. The dessert was a lovely way to finish off our meal as we enjoyed the last of our white house wine, which again was very reasonable at £20 a bottle and went great with the food.
Would We Go Again?
Overall we enjoyed the meal at Jamie’s, and the atmosphere was on the most part, quite lovely. However we couldn’t help but feel that it definitely felt like a chain, and made me wonder if the other restaurants around the world would have the same niggles. For a mid-week break however it was definitely a nice treat, and I was really impressed by the value of the menu, especially for its prime location in the city.
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