Thank goodness for the trees and the shade they give in the places where the long shadows of buildings don't reach.
Because that's the only place to enjoy a coffee on a summer's afternoon. It felt a little like home finding Bertoni Casalinga in the CBD. Bertoni's in Balmain is one of my favourite places to visit after early morning yoga. Mr SSG and I would pull up an inverted milk crate and have our coffees and Italian doughnuts after class and people watch Balmain style. My coffee was perfect and if I closed my eyes, I could have been in Balmain on my milk crate.
The languid afternoon was a suitable prelude to a mid week dinner with Mr SSG. The Sydney CBD is just made for summer evenings. There's things to see, eat and drink and it's all under the arches of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The planets must have aligned as well because there was no queue outside Jamie's Italian on Pitt Street either.
|Jamie's tea towel inspired cloth napkins.|
We had a table upstairs. The restaurant is much larger than it appears from its rather unassuming store front. It's decorated in true Jamie style which made Mr SSG feel as if he were on the set of one of Jamie's television programs. Tables were well spaced and the dark, simple decor made me feel comfy and relaxed and not as I were dining at a restaurant chain.
The main bar is downstairs and there is a wide range of Italian beers and wines on offer. The bar area started to get very busy around 6pm as the after work crowd rolled in for dinner on the way home. The noise level never got too crazy and despite the numbers of diners, it never felt too crowded or chaotic.
|Assorted Italian beers, $7.50.|
There are several stations around the restaurant where the bread tins are prepared and the staff are generous with seconds if you need them.
As an entree, we shared a plate of marinated sardines ($9.00) which were flavoured with lemon, parsley and chilli. It was such a delicate and zesty dish that it took me by surprise. I was expecting heavy and oily which some of Oliver's dishes tend to be but this was very refreshing and the perfect thing to share on a summer's evening.
|Marinated sardines, $9.00.|
Service was efficient given the size of the restaurant and there were two kitchens running, this is the counter surrounding the restaurant's upper level kitchen.
|Tuscan Wild Boar Sausages.|
For mains, Mr SSG ordered the Tuscan Wild Boar Sausages ($22.50). These came with a lentil salad and a salsa. Again, very fresh and light flavours despite the main ingredient being a meaty sausage.
My main was the prawn linguine ($25.00 main size, $15.00 entree) and was the perfect sized serve as a main. The pasta had bite and is obviously freshly made. There sauce was generously spiked with prawns and fresh tomatoes. For the price, I was very impressed. It wasn't stodgy and the rocket garnish was a nice touch.
|The house Bellini is $9 and is features Jamie's Vino Frizzante|
|I think this is my future toaster, when our current one dies a natural death.|
It really felt a million miles away from the financial centre traffic just outside the window.
After a Bellini and a glass of Fizzante, I had no room for dessert but I will be returning again soon for the tiramisu. Jamie Oliver, I really enjoyed dinner at your Italian here in Sydney. The food was fresh, light and tasty. It was a lovely way to experience your style of cooking.