We’ve been to Jamie’s Italian a few times since it opened in Newcastle and have had some good times there, so when we were invited to check out their super lunch menu (two courses £11.95 or three for £13.95) we thought we’d give it another go.
We arrived just as their beautiful real christmas tree was going up and the whole place had a nice festive vibe to it.
We were seated upstairs and brought menus by our waiter, and a children’s menu for Little Dude. We accepted an offer of a jug of water while we decided what to order.
On previous visits we’ve been given crayons and colouring in activities for LD but none were offered on this ocassion. He made do with running around the restaurant instead, his favorite activity.
Mr TLC chose crispy squid fried with chilli, garlic & parsley, with house aioli for dipping (£6.75) from the a la carte menu while I went for truffle tagliatelle – handmade pasta served in a silky black truffle butter served with aged parmesan, nutmeg and more shaved boac truffle from the super lunch menu (£13.95 for three courses).
The squid was initially a bit over salted but once he got to the second level of fried fish it was a very pleasant specimen, with light batter and squid that wasn’t over cooked. The aioli finished it off and LD was also a fan. The truffles were plentiful in my dish and added a pleasant earthiness to the hand pulled pasta and creamy sauce. The handmade pasta was served al dente and was really rather good. Portion sizes were generous for starters too.
For drinks we’d each gone for a house lemonade (£3.05) – one passionfruit and one raspberry. They were zingy and refreshing and a good alternative to booze although I don’t want to know how much sugar they contain (less than a coke though I’m sure).
The Mr ordered the Jamie’s Italian burger – Prime British beef patty with pancetta, balsamic onions, artisan Westcombe Cheddar, tomato & house special sauce in a brioche bun (£10.95). Sticking to the Super Lunch menu I’d plumped for Italian steak and fries – marinated skirt steak, flash grilled and served with aged parmesan, garlic butter and ‘slaw (£3 supplement). We chose ‘Fish in a bag’ – Shetland salmon fillet, crushed new potatoes, green beans & cherry tomatoes, all served in a bag with Jamie’s organic seven-veg tomato sauce (£6.95) from the children’s menu for LD.
The Mr enjoyed his burger. It was juicy, flavoursome and even without the cheese (he’s lactose intolerant) it was very good apparently. The chunky chips also went down well.
My steak, although not the most expensive cut of meat had benefitted from the marinating and tendering process. The parmesan and garlic butter complimented it well and the fries were great, with a ‘slaw that was a little uninspiring compared to the rainbow ‘slaws Jamie whips up in his TV programme, but added a bit of crunch none the less.
LD’s salmon came in tin foil – they’d obviously run it of the paper bags. It was not served with ‘a fresh shake me salad’ as promised. It was also HOTTER THAN THE SUN. I had to pacify a hungry toddler with some of my fries while we waited for it to cool down. And waited. Even removing the tinfoil (which was obviously retaining the heat) did little to cool it.
It’s not the first restaurant to serve extremely hot food for a small child but definitely one of the worst culprits.
When little bits of his food were finally cool enough to give to him he tried it and decided he preferred my chips. What toddler wouldn’t? A tantrum or two later and the eyes of everyone in the restaurant were on us.
Clearing our plates the waiter asked us why he was so upset, so we told him. What we thought was a helpful suggestion turned into a bit of a debate, with our waiter insisting that fish must be well cooked. We tried to make it clear that we knew this and just didn’t think bringing it straight out was the best idea, perhaps leaving it to cool for a few minutes or not putting it under the hot plate might be good, a suggestion which he brought to the kitchen. Coming back he reinforced his ‘fish must be cooked properly’ story and suggested perhaps it was ‘just his mood today’ to explain LD being upset! Not the best example of customer service we’ve come across, especially when a simple ‘thanks we’ll take that on board’ would’ve sufficed.
Putting all this to one side I ordered an Epic brownie – With proper chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream & caramelised popcorn (included in the Super Lunch menu), a scoop of vanilla icecream for LD (£1.50) and peppermint tea for the Mr.
The brownie was delicious – moist and chewy like a good brownie should be and accompanied by the salted caramel icecream it was an indulgent and satisfying dessert (no one is sick of salted caramel yet right?) The popcorn was good too.
LD enjoyed his ice cream too, which was a nice little portion perfect for a toddler.
We left Jamie’s and the tree was up and decorated. I can’t help but wonder what Jamie himself would think of the experience. While our food was very tasty, the service let it down a bit. As with any restaurant experience the devil is in the details, and with so many great restaurants in Newcastle you’ve got to get them all right. Let’s hope Jamie’s Italian learns from their customer feedback.
Jamie’s Italian is located in Monument Mall, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7AL.
We were provided with a complimentary meal for the purposes of this review. However the opinions expressed in this article are (clearly!) honest and true to experience.