Thursday, 1 September 2016
Review: Jamie's Italian
The last time I went to Jamie's Italian was a good five or six years ago, which shows how long it's been in Birmingham. I wasn't overwhelmed to be honest. I found it a little expensive and just not memorable. I always intended to head back but never got round to it.
When they got in touch with me to invite me to try their set menu, I was instantly attracted to the bargain price and by how tasty the food sounded. A quick peek at the cocktail menu grabbed my attention too. They seemed to have really upped their game. So I got myself booked in and headed over for a Tuesday night meal.
The restaurant is huge. It's not particularly romantic or intimate but I liked our seat in the window. Great for birthday parties I would imagine.
Edd had a Negroni (£7.50) from the cocktail menu. This was a proper Negroni- bitter, strong and orange-y.
I chose a Mezzo e Mezzo (£6.95) from the Aperitivo section. Made with Martini Rosso (the red one) and rhubarb liqueur, this is a brilliant pre-dinner drink for those of you like me that like a bitter drink.
We were there to try the evening favourites set menu. This is available Monday-Thurday after 6pm and is the bargain price of £18.95 for three courses. I don't often tend to go for a set menu as I find the options can be uninspired. I was worried that Jamie's Italian would be pasta heavy but actually there were some fantastic choices on there.
For Edd's starter, he chose Mushroom Fritti- breaded mushrooms essentially. This doesn't sound too exciting but those are the nicest breaded mushrooms I have ever eaten. A delicate coating gave way to incredibly tasty oyster mushrooms. They reminded us of really good chicken goujons, except, obviously mushroom. Highly recommended.
I was excited to see a Cured Meat Plank on the menu. I love a meat or cheese board (ideally both) but they are often giant things made for sharing and not everyone wants a meat board! So to see an individual meat board- and on a set menu- made me extremely happy.
So, the meat board is literally a board popped on top of two tomato cans. Some may say this is a gimmick, but actually it was quite practical as it stopped the board taking up too much of the table. The waiter explained what each meat was and recommended starting with the mildest and working my way round to the spiciest.
As well as the fantastic meats there was a little crunchy slaw, some different olives and a sweet chilli, buffalo mozzarella (I wanted MORE of this) pecorino cheese and a little bit of crispy flatbread- again I would have liked a little more bread. I was impressed by the quality of the produce and enjoyed trying some meats and olives that I haven't come across before.
Onto mains. I chose a Heritage Tomato salad, which doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore. It's been replaced with a fabulous sounding Ceaser Salad. If it's as light and fresh as my salad was then it's going to be lovely. Mine had plenty of fresh and sun dried tomatoes and I added chicken for £1.50. Adding the chicken wasn't necessary- it was filling on its own.
Edd chose the one pasta dish from the menu, which was a spicy sausage concoction at the time. Again, this has been replaced with a different pasta dish. I like the way they are mixing it up and keeping things fresh. Edd's pasta was well cooked and tasty but it was a very large bowl and he wasn't able to finish it.
I said it before but I was happy to see such variety on the set menu. I'm not a huge fan of pasta and Italian cuisine has so much more to offer.
Time for another drink. I went for a sparkling cocktail this time. They've got some lovely fizzy cocktails, including an Elderflower Spritz, Aperol Spritz and Florence Fizz. There's a great selection of classic and modern cocktails, as well as wines and mocktails.
For pudding I REALLY wanted pannacotta because their's is made with yoghurt. Our waiter's little handheld device told him it was sold out but he very kindly checked in the kitchen and I was able to have it! The yoghurt was a great twist and made the dish less sweet and more grown up.
Edd chose tiramisu which, again, was a little different. It wasn't the prettiest dessert but it certainly tasted good- we liked the addition of the orange zest.
I was impressed by the set menu at Jamie's Italian. It's great value and trusts its customers to try something different. I've been recommending it to all and sundry since and I'll definitely be back.
Jamie's Italian, Bullring
Photos by Edd and myself.
I was invited to try the menu and part of the bill was paid for.