Jamie’s Italian: A Review
Get the hot or not verdict on Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver famously declared, “all I ever wanted to do was make good food accessible to everyone”. Opening the cutting edge doors of Jamie’s Italian in the heart of Sydney’s CBD is a step towards turning his words into reality down under. The new establishment is blazing the road in Sydney towards a new foodie phenomenon – ethically sourced food at affordable prices.
It is a warm Tuesday night and the restaurant is buzzing with groups of friends, couples on dates and business colleagues grabbing a post-work bite. The fast growing queue waiting for tables seem relaxed as they are served complimentary starters while they wait. Families are welcomed, with the kaleidoscope style kid’s menu one of the details that makes the restaurant fun as well as fabulous.
We are seated upstairs, overlooking a kitchen speedily turning out a mouth-watering array of Italian dishes. I can’t resist the sound of Italian Nachos (four cheese ravioli fried for dipping) to start, which the smiley Italian waiter tells me “won’t turn you into a dragon, but they are fiery!”. An indulgent sensation, they are a deliciously playful complement to the “must-order” meat plank we have to share. A sophisticated combination of cured meat, divine cheese and vegetable salad, it is served on a long paddleboard and hints at the quality of the food to come.
Designed by Australian architects peckvonhartel and decorated with graffiti by German artists, a bustling pasta station in the window (where two junior chefs are kept busy making 100kg of fresh pasta daily), and a 150kg industrial chandelier, the lively venue was inspired by Sydney CBD’s growing laneway scene.
The staff exude warmth, are without pretension, and share intricate details of the food preparation. We learn that Paesanella produces the smoked buffalo mozzarella exclusively for the restaurant, while the seafood is sustainably sourced and traceable to its point of origin. Brasserie Bread supplies ciabatta made to a method designed by Oliver’s London Flour Station, while Dal Zotta has blended a unique prosecco for the venue.
The energetic Executive Chef Dave Clarke passionately describes the journey to source salumi produced without sodium nitrate preservative, and how they stumbled upon the use of celery extract instead. He proudly relates how chefs are trained to create fresh pasta, and how it must be made and served on the same day. We progress to pasta dishes, where the buffalo ricotta ravioli lives up to the menu description of “pure heaven” and the truffle risotto is delightfully delicate.
Dessert is the piece de la resistance after an evening of scrumptious cuisine. The Ultimate Brownie elicited gasps of pleasure from the table, while the creamy panna cotta was a plate of delectable delight.
With its impeccable service, warm atmosphere and sensationally fresh food, Jamie’s Italian has perfected the art of impressing with simplicity and making the complex seem straightforward. A welcome addition to Sydney CBD’s restaurant scene, Oliver’s venture has raised the bar for a new style of restaurant – top quality produce with accessible prices.
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