Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Review: Jamie's Italian, York

I'm not a great believer in restaurants run by famous chefs. Gordon Ramsay doesn't slave away in the kitchens at Foxtrot Oscar. He doesn't cook your meal personally, but jacks up the price of your meal merely for the privilege of his name being above the door. Add to this the fact that in many celebrity chef restaurants you can spend upwards of £100 for a few sticks on a (probably designer) plate, and you can see why I'm not keen.

However, when Jamie's Italian opened in York a couple of years ago, whilst I was still living there, I was keen to try it. I finally got round to it on a return visit to York.

When we first approached Jamie's Italian, we weren't even sure it was open. Set back from the road down the alleyway that used to lead solely to Lendal Cellars, the building seemed to be in darkness, and it wasn't obvious which door to use. We headed for the downstairs door, which opened into the shop area of the restaurant (Jamie Oliver goodies galore) and a waitress met us and showed us to our table, upstairs.

The first impression of the restaurant was that it was very atmospheric. Being in a conservatory style building raised off the ground, we felt like we should be beside the sea, a lovely feeling at first, but I found the room quite uncomfortably cold as the night went on.

  For the starter, I went for the Italian Spiced Chicken Wings, and The Boy went for the Cauliflower & Cheese Fritters. Some spiced things have a kick, which is what I was expecting from the wings, but they practically booted me into the middle of next week. As soon as I has finished, I was eagerly awaiting the next course, for something to take away the burning sensation at the back of my throat. Happily, my Wild Mushroom & Wild Mushroom Risotto was perfectly creamy. On first glance, the portion looked quite small, but I quickly remembered how filling risotto is, and by the end of the course, I was sure it was the perfect portion size. The Boy had the Seafood Bucatini, which was amusing to watch as it probably was too eat- all manner of seafood required picking out of shells.

The meal ended with pudding- we both opted for the Brownie, topped with popcorn which was a bit of an odd one, but the Amaretto Ice Cream was delicious (if you like marzipan, you'll love it).

A three course meal for two, including drinks, came in at just short of £50, which was a pleasant surprise. Jamie, you done good.

Would I eat there again? Probably not, but I am keen to try out Jamie Oliver's other chains (he's a busy guy).

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