It’s been a while since I wrote anything on my blog, mainly because I’ve been too busy sunning myself in lovely Dubai. I’m intending to sicken people with my holiday photos at some point, but more pressing was my review of Jamie’s Italian. It opened last week in Newcastle, and I couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to visit.
I was thrilled to hear a branch was opening in my home town after a couple of failed attempts to visit the chain in other locations. There was a lot of buzz about the restaurant opening on social media sites, especially as the refit of the former Newcastle United store seemed to take an age. There was no definite date given on the official Jamie’s website, and I only realised it was open when folk I follow on Twitter starting uploading photos of yummy food! The shroud of secrecy appeared to work as I found it difficult to secure a table earlier in the week but I did, however, manage to book for 8:30pm on Friday night. We went to Pleased To Meet You beforehand for a couple of drinks, which is one of our favourite places in Newcastle. It seemed like the world and his wife were out in the Toon that night as we struggled to get served and spent our time being jostled by obnoxiously drunk people. We didn’t stay too long as my rumbling tummy got the better of me!
The restaurant has an al fresco area, which will be lovely in the summer. The location- opposite the Monument- makes it the ideal location for a spot of people watching with an espresso, and I’m sure that was the intention. Upon entering the restaurant there is a bar area, which was packed on the evening we visited. The music was quite loud, and didn’t seem in keeping with the ambiance. I’m not suggesting for one minute Jamie’s should follow the well trodden path of every other Italian restaurant and play back-to-back Eros Ramazzotti, but Calvin Harris blaring isn’t conducive to a romantic meal! We were seated upstairs where the majority of tables are. I found everything quite close together, but I’m guessing they’re trying to best utilise the space they have available.
He had crispy squid to start with, and I opted for cauliflower and cheese fritters. They arrived with little pots of dipping sauce, and we both agreed that we could have eaten another round of them. Good start! For mains he had wild mushroom and smoked mozzarella risotto, which I’d contemplated ordering. I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms so decided on the pumpkin panzerotti instead, which had crushed amaretti sprinkled over it. The sweetness of biscuit worked really well with the heat of the chilli in the sauce. His risotto seemed a reasonable sized portion, but I felt cheated by my pasta by comparison.
I think £10.25 for what I had is on the expensive side, if I’m being brutally honest. They weren’t even particularly big morsels. My main was finished with very quickly, and I was wishing I’d ordered bread or the posh chips I’d heard so much about. I think if they’d served it in a bowl or on a smaller plate I’d not have felt so disappointed, and the massive plate possibly dwarfed the meal.
Thankfully the portion size of the dessert ensured I had a full tummy at the end of the meal. He, rather typically, opted for sorbet to cleanse his palate. I couldn’t resist the chocolate brownie with amaretti popcorn, which was lovely. The chocolate sauce was very bitter though, so I avoided that. To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate so that was possibly the reason it wasn’t to my taste.
The waiter we had was really chatty and enthusiastic about the menu, but we waited a long time between courses. The restaurant was busy, as to be expected on a Friday night, but standard things like asking if we were ok for drinks were missed by staff. I’d have happily drank another Bellini if it was offered!
All in all, the meal was good, and we’ve said we’d return. The burgers appear to be worth another visit alone! I suspect we’ll be waiting a while for availability though, as when we walked past on a lunchtime there was a queue out of the door.
Thanks for reading!