I’ve always been a fan of Jamie Oliver’s cook books, in fact I’ve even cited he’s my Delia. I probably cook a Jamie recipe at least once a week however he’s not an option I often think of when eating out. I’ve visited Jamie’s Italian in Leeds & Cambridge (and from memory enjoyed them) so I’m not entirely new to the chain.
On Good Friday P and I headed over to the Leeds branch to kick off our 4 day weekend. The Leeds Jamie’s Italian is at the top of Park Row in an old bank building. It’s nice to see they’ve carried the theme inside with hints like the bankers lamp and original features. Stayed true to the building a bit rather than gutted & Jamie-fied. It’s over 2 floors so there’s absolutely loads of tables and despite being a lunchtime it was filling up.
We started with a couple of cocktails – a Sicilian Daiquiri (£6.50) for me and a Bramble (£6.95) for P. They were both delicious. Mine was so refreshing and zingy with a good hit of booze. We were both feeling a bit delicate (we might have started celebrating the 4 day weekend the evening before…) so the combination of citrus and rum pulled me out of my slump.
As it was lunchtime we ate from the new Super Lunch menu. It’s £10.95 for 2 courses or £12.95 for 3 running Mon-Fri 12-6pm. The menu isn’t hugely extensive, there’s around 4 starters and 6 mains to choose from but they cover a lot of the favourites.
I opted for the Pate Bruschetta and P had the Truffle Tagliatelle. I enjoyed the bruschetta; it was iron-y and rich. Really smooth too, I generally prefer a chunkier pate but didn’t mind with this one. The sage and crispy pancetta also added some nice texture. Unfortunately the tagliatelle didn’t fare as well. The pasta was all clumped together, over salted and over oiled so P was left feeling a bit greasy.
The cocktails had whet our appetite so we ordered a few more; this time Amaretto Sours (£6.95). Again the standard of the cocktails was great, comparable with any of the good cocktail bars in Leeds. They were just as I like too – very tart.
For mains we both decided on Gennaro’s Chicken Club. Like his books you’ll still bump into Gennaro and Jools on the menu though Andy the gasman seems to have disappeared… The sandwich was really quite good. Juicy, tender chicken in a soft brioche bun with salad, cheese and more of that crispy pancetta. My only criticism would the ‘nduja mayonnaise. I couldn’t taste it in mine and P thought his was a bit dry without lashings of it. A big ol’ sandwich though, definitely enough to get you through the rest of the day!
The mains on the Super Lunch menu don’t come with sides but you’ve got the option to order them off the main menu if you want. We shared the Polenta Chips (£3.65) and also had one of the starters as a side; the Italian Nachos (£3.95). Ohmygosh the polenta chips. I’ve ordered them every time I’ve visited a Jamie’s and they’ve never let me down. Crispy on the outside and fluffy inside with a liberal sprinkling of rosemary & parmesan. The nachos caught our eye when we were looking through the menu and intrigued us so we had to try them. Sounds odd but they were deep fried cheese filled ravioli with a spicy tomato sauce. The ravioli were so, so good; crispy pockets of molten cheese. What’s not to like? The spicy tomato dipping sauce was okay; it didn’t taste particularly fresh but wasn’t unpleasant, just fairly middle of the road. I will say it had a decent bit of spice so watch out if you’ve got a delicate palate!
We decided not to go for any dessert but there were a few that caught my eye (hello Molten Chocolate Praline Pudding) and I do sort of regret the decision…
We enjoyed our meal at Jamie’s but we weren’t blown away by all of the food (though the deep fried cheesey ravioli was a revelation!). The service throughout the meal was great, and swift so the Super Lunch is a plausible lunch hour option.
It’s also good to know that Jamie’s Italian has all the nutritional info of all the food on their website. Particularly handy if you are/a friend is following a food or calorie plan. My final thoughts? Jamie’s Italian a good option if you’re after a crowd pleaser and I’ve heard from talking to people that it’s a great choice if you’ve got kids so it’s definitely got a place in your black book of restaurants.
The meal was complimentary, views are my own though.