Jan 20, 2012

An Urban Summer's Day. Jamie's Italian, Sydney.

Summer emits a different heat in the city.  It's infused with a layer of haze and the air feels thicker.  You can't hear the sea breeze over the din of buses and the street crossing buzzers.  I also doubt that much of the sea is left in the breeze by the time it blows across the endless alleys and side streets.  Which makes it feel hotter than it is.

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.
Mr SSG and I were greeted warmly by the British wait staff who all had enviable tans to set off their uniforms of dark denim jeans, white Ts and aprons.  I think that's how you tell the locals from the visitors, the darker the tan, the more likely is the owner to have come from across the seas.

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.
Bread is complimentary and comes dressed in olive oil and fresh herbs.  There is a combination of breads on offer including a flat bread and ciabatta.  I didn't need to use the balsamic vinegar and olive oil supplied, the bread was tasty enough on its own.

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.

Prawn Linguine.

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
Jamie actually has his own range of wines and his sparkling, Vino Frizzante, is the basis for the Bellini served here.  There's a complicated process involved with this which requires the bubbly to be poured over a a special silver muddler onto the peach puree.  It's fascinating to watch.  I forgot to check the shop area to see if the muddler is available to the general punter.

I think this is my future toaster, when our current one dies a natural death.
As evening drew closer, the 90s pop soundtrack got a little louder as the crowd loosened up after a long day at work.

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.

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. We ate here when visiting Sydney last month, and had a lovely meal. The staff were amazing, letting us skip to the front of the queue when they noticed I was feeling uncomfortable standing for too long (7 months pregnant). Very thoughtful, and they really looked after us all night.

    Did you buy any Jamie Oliver souvenirs?


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