Jamie's Italian ...
...I can't stand the guy but we wanted to go somewhere different for Sunday lunch.
JI exudes what J.Oliver is: middle-class, young family and/or professional.
So unsuprisingly the interior and vibe of JI is very much what you see on J.Oliver's tv shows. Sort of funky (in a slightly contrived way), peppy staff and fresh produce surrounds you.
For entrees, I had the baked chesnut mushrooms with smoked buffalo mozerrella. I love mushrooms - in this case, they were baked over a thin layer of pastry. I couldn't quite taste the smokiness of the cheeze. But I did like the fresh rosemary on top.
The Lawyer ordered deep fried squid w aioli. The squid was very fresh, tender and tasted of the sea. It was definitely a fresh (not frozen) squid. The batter was very light and crispy. But I thought the serving size was on the small side.
For mains, I had the scallops with squid ink pasta. I actually ordered an entree size. As you can see, it's still quite a decent serve. The flavours were perfectly balanced - the savouriness of the pasta, sweetness of the fresh scallops and the tartness of the capers. I'd definitely order this one again.
The Lawyer had the spaghetti bolognese. He loved the dish. I had a taster and the ragu was rich in flavour and had a thick consistency. Both the pasta dishes were fresh pasta - so extra points from me.
For dessert, I ordered the tiramisu. This was not quite what I expected. Granted I'm not an expert on tiramisu, but this version was very, very dense and cake-like. I prefer ones that have more mascapone than cake. I couldn't finish this. It was served with some orange zest.
The Lawyer had a trio of ice creams with two toppings. In this case it was minted orange and honeycomb. He quited liked it. Unlike the tiramisu, the ice cream was a rather small serve. Also, the dish was a bit small, which made eating it a bit difficult.
Given that I think J.Oliver is a bit of a tool, JI was better than I expected, and not too gimmicky. Food was fresh, and based on its fellow Italian mid-range competitors, it offers more authentic Italian dishes. The better quality of food is reflected in the price.
Service was good, but could be improved (we were asked whether we wanted parmesan cheese when we were already half way through our meal). We went during peak lunch time on the weekend and, aside from the entrees that came out promptly, the mains, desserts and the bill took a bit long.
As mentioned before, the vibe is very J.Oliver. A good buzz of activity, lots of young families, young professionals dining here.
Telephone: 020 3002 5252