In only its second week of opening we decided to try Jamie’s Italian. I was bursting to go there and so it seemed was half of Perth. Chef however, was not as eager. His “3 month rule” does seem like a very good idea. That entails waiting till a new establishment has been open for a few months, giving them time to iron out the wrinkles and fix those teething problems. I had been anticipating the opening of Jamie’s Italian for so long; I simply couldn’t wait any longer. How busy could it be on a Thursday at 11am, I mused?! Well, there was a queue! But after a 10 minute stint in the queue, we were seated. We did much better than those brave souls that go to Jamie’s for dinner; they’ve been encountering waits of 2 hour plus, just to get seated! I have to say though; before we even got in through the front door I was impressed. One of the wait staff took our “little chef” (3 years old) by his hand and showed him the pasta machines at work. Very friendly staff – first tick.
The interior decor I’d describe as “industrial chic”. Wooden tables, Metal chairs – quite casual really. Then there is a whopping great big chandelier hanging in the middle of the dining room and a beautiful bar area too. Jamie’s menu was pretty substantial, with lots of choice. The kids menu came in the form of a little red kaleidoscope toy, which must have come straight in from the 1980s. There was a photo of each kids dish on there. Little Chef was mesmerised and very excited that he got to see his food before making his choice. While we mulled the menu over, the basket of house made breads arrived. The bread is “on the house”. Another nice touch – it was deliciously fresh too. It was sliced to order, on big wooden butcher’s blocks, that were dotted around the dining room. We chose 2 plates to share for entre. CRISPY STUFFED RISOTTO BALLS ($9.50) and CRISPY SQUID ($12.00). We got 3 beautiful Smoked mozzarella & porcini arancini, with some rich tomato sauce on the side. The mozzarella oozed out – delish! The squid was very fresh too and complimented with a garlic mayo. Little Chefs meal also came out at this time and he wolfed down his FISH AND POLENTA CHIPS. They have a side “shake your-self salad” for the kiddies too, which I thought was a nice touch. Dressing is added to the little jar of chopped salad and they then pop on the lid and shake!
There was a little bit of an issue with the wait time between courses. I was happy enough to take in my surrounds, but when I had to wait over 20 mins for my drink, I became slightly miffed. I was happy to overlook something like that, as the service was otherwise very friendly and attentive. I’d have a problem if the wait staff was rude – as so many are in Perth. Chef, on the other hand, was staring intently towards the open kitchen. He was keenly observing that – in his opinion – things had “gone to sh*t”. That’s chef talk for the kitchen having a minor meltdown and getting behind on orders. After a little wait, plus an apology from our waiter, our mains arrived.
For main, I had chosen the HONEYCOMB CANNELLONI 3 WAYS ($19.00). The cannelloni’s were baked standing up, in a ceramic dish with an assortment of fillings. This gives it the “honeycomb” look. The fillings were delicious and each stood out on its own – Aubergine & sun-dried tomato; pumpkin; ricotta & spinach. I guess it was down to the pasta being so fresh, it literary melted in my mouth. Yummyness!! Chef’s ITALIAN BURGER ($19.50) was a good sized Wagga Wagga steak with smoked mozzarella, pancetta, sticky balsamic onions, tomato, pickles & chillies. Chef also did think that the dish should come with chips included. That said – the POSH CHIPS ($6.50) were delicious! They came topped with truffle oil & Parmesan. They were nice for something a bit different. Even Little Chef loved them. Happy Days!
Admittedly, Chef wasn’t blown away by the food, though he said he did enjoy it. Then again, he did choose a BURGER. WHY – with all that beautiful pasta to choose from!? Anyhoo, he’s always had a bit of a beef with Mr Oliver. Since I’ve got several of Jamie’s cookbooks jostling for shelf space with the likes of Thomas Keller and Marco Peire-White . I’ve also thought Jamie Oliver is the ducks nuts for over a decade, since his “Naked Chef” days. Maybe it’s not acceptable for me to love two chefs? Haha Chef enjoyed his Italian Beer and I was impressed with their cocktail list – I treated myself to a sneaky Mojito. Next time I will have to try some of the delicious looking Italian wines.
It’s about time we had a restaurant in Perth that sold quality food, made from quality ingredients, for under $20 for a main. Even under $30 would be great. Unfortunately, that’s very rare in Perth! There was a lot of thinking outside the box here at Jamie’s. And a lot of little touches that made it feel very personal and very “Jamie”. It’s family friendly and welcoming. I’m already looking forward to our next visit. I think I will definitely wait till when the buzz dies down a little… Though if the Sydney outlet is anything to go by, they’ll be queuing out the doors for well over 18 months! Proper PUKKA food!!