Jamie’s Italian Review, Sydney, Australia
So I was in Sydney this past week and I was invited out for a friend’s birthday to dine at Jamie’s Italian, one of the many restaurants by the infamous Jamie Oliver. Now I’ve visited Jamie’s 15 in London about 8 months ago, and I wasn’t overly impressed. I was incredibly excited to visit 15, as I was for this Italian joint, but 15 just didn’t do it for me in London. The food wasn’t where I expected it to be for such a celebrity chef’s place. I am, however a big fan of Jamie Oliver and what he is trying to do with food and healthy eating. He is an advocate for food security and improved eating for all, and for this I commend him. He also produces great cookbooks, they’re consistently good and I use them on a regular basis at home. What can I say, I like the guy.
Now on to Jamie’s Italian. We had reservations, because it is an incredibly popular place to eat in Sydney. It has an attractive menu, prices are good and it’s in a great downtown location. The atmosphere is electric and people line-up for hours to get a table there. The décor is very modern and it has an Italian twist on the place. The setting is also lined with everything Jamie including cookbooks, sparkling wine with his name on the bottle, Jamie’s name on every menu and even his name plastered on the serving clothe. It’s not hard to tell where you are.
We arrived about 10 minutes before our reservation and we were told to grab a drink at the bar and that they would buzz us when our table was ready. This was fine, so we grabbed a couple of bottles of Australian bubbly endorsed by Jamie himself. This wine was about $20 more expensive than the other bubbly for sale. I suspect this is because if bore the name of the man himself, yet I would bet that it wasn’t any better.
We then found a place to stand in the packed restaurant. We were immediately rudely told that we had to move. I asked where we were to go and I was informed that the bartender didn’t care, but we couldn’t stand there. We ventured upstairs to the balcony that was small and already packed. Then we began our wait. We waited for 1.5 hours to get our reserved table. After about an hour or so, one member from our party went to ask and they admitted that they missed us, but that was all… no complimentary drinks or even a sincere apology. It just wasn’t good enough and it felt as if they were dragging out our table to draw more money out of us from the bar.
We finally got our table and ordered our food. We split some appetisers (olives on ice, crispy calamari and mushroom tart) and I ordered the rabbit pasta for my main. The food was good, but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do at home using one of his recipe’s. I guess this is a good thing. It also wasn’t very expensive. The most expensive main was only around $35, which is also in-line with his philosophy.
My pasta was good, but the rabbit tasted like it was canned. It wasn’t the freshest and had a tin undertone to the flavour. The appetisers were also good, but nothing really blew my mind.
For dessert I ordered an affogato. The espresso was piping hot and strong, like it should be and the ice-cream was of the highest quality. Creamy, smooth and tasted of real, rich vanilla. It was nothing less than delicious.
The experience was not what I was hoping for. The food was good, but not great. The service was appalling, but the meals were reasonably priced. If you want to go for the experience you could check it out, but I wouldn’t go back. There are lots of great restaurants that you could eat at for a similar price point without the poor service.
107 Pitt Street
+61 2 8240 9000
Please note our office hours are from 8:30am-7pm Monday-Friday and 11:30am-7pm Saturday-Sunday.
Food Quality 7/10