Jamie Oliver. Never heard of him either. Said to be some British celebrity chef who looks a bit like ex-Formula 1 & current rally driver Kimi Raikkonen. Ok! I do occasionally watch TV alright and the different food channels and I have previously tried the Melbourne Fifteen restaurant a few years ago before they’d closed and reborn to become something else. Thought the food there was homely and decent albeit a little overpriced! I could also have had the chance to visit Jamie’s original restaurants in London but somehow ended up doing some Yum Cha instead, as the foodie vs human in me struggled to decide between a family day or a more exploratory sunday (yes, it was quite sad , but I do treasure the friend’s family days but I also like good food!).
Jamie’s adventure down south in Melbourne probably didn’t go the way he foresee -
So now he is back with a vengeance up in Sydney instead. Don’t expect fine dining here as it is meant to be everyday food done correctly, unlike Momofuku Seiōbo which is trying to emulate a Momofuku Ko feat down under.. Do however expect a very long queue here because bookings below 6 people are not accepted. For 1 person sitting on the antipasti bar expect a wait of 30 mins, but for 2 or more patrons the queue is said to be easily 1 to 2 hours standing outside… We cheated a little bit because both of us didn’t really care if we sat together or not, so asked to be seated as an individual. Luckily we both ended up sitting at the same table to share food anyway.
Raw Ingredients and Bread, at the Antipasti bar -
This short bar area is aimed at the lone diners who’d really wanted to come but need to get in and out of town quickly, before a flight back to Melbourne! Such as yours truly..
Allegrini Valpolicella Classico - AUD $10.50
A Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara grapes blend, this was approachable.
Sorry for the lack of descriptions because for some reason I can only remember French wines !
Bread Basket -
Home made Rosemary Focaccia, Artisan Sourdough, Ciabatta and Carta di Musica crisps.
This was surprisingly not given out by default to customers but you’ll need to ask. I guess this is expectable since Jamie’s Italian is priced at a point where it has very low margins. SO PLEASE DO ASK FOR ONE, as the bread are pretty good and decent, so is the refreshing yet so-called aged Balsamic Vinegar.
Mushroom Panzerotti -
filled with Brown Cap and Porcini Mushrooms, Chili, Ricotta & Parmesan, AUD $13
This half portion turned out pretty decent in size and was a bargain indeed. The Panzerotti pasta was slightly undercooked however as the edges were still a bit hard, and unfortunately the filling inside or the mushrooms outside seemed a bit weak, as not a trace of wild or porcini mushroom can be detected. This is a very promising dish though. It just needs more mushroomy essence and also be cooked perfectly! ~ 6.9/10
Risotto Milanese - Creamy Saffron & Parmesan Risotto with herby Roasted Bone Marrow
& Lemon and Parsley Gremolata - $14
Those familiar with Osso Buco with know that Milan’s version by default comes with a saffron risotto on the side, which is also served here at Maccaroni as an example. At this price point one surely can’t complain for the quality. The roasted and herbed bone marrow was melty enough, although the risotto seemed a bit overcooked and came with fried but inedible bay leaves. Simple enough dish and certainly good value for money, although not overly exciting ~ 6.9/10
Crab & Squid Ink Risotto with Spanner Crab meat and Crunchy Herby Breadcrumbs – AUD$15.50
At this price surely one cannot expect too much, right? But the risotto was duly over cooked beyond al dente albeit barely not mushy, but I had a problem with how weak the squid ink broth or the spanner crab meat tastes, as well as a very heavy injection of chili which made it impossible to detect the subtle seafood flavours. It definitely looked pretty and the recipe sounded promising, but taste-wise it needs a bit of addressing to. The Iceberg Dining Room and Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons version is much more intense and also cooked al dente and carries a more starchy creamier and almost all’Onda state. I would rather they charge more for this dish but execute it perfectly in terms of balance and flavours. ~ 6.9/10
Imported Italian ‘Musetti’ brand coffee -
I think coffee taste is such a personal thing, as I’ve been there too in the past myself. But once you’ve experienced the ever evolving 3rd Wave coffee experience you can’t really go backwards. This is a predictable Italian coffee blend with that smoky chocolate and woody trait, it is quite generic these days. There are more sophisticated coffees in London or Melbourne/Sydney. But there is no doubt this will be a crowd pleaser for those yet craving for everyday commercial styled coffee.
The Ultimate Brownie – Chocolate, Raspberry & Amaretto Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream - $8.50
This was rustic but the 1st attempt came out a little too crusty and cold. The 2nd attempt saw a bit more runny chocolate on top but was still hard and cold inside, despite the fairly melty ice cream. The taste was quite good though, but the reheating process was a bit off the mark for now ~ 7/10
Jamie’s Italian in Sydney is Yet to be firing on all cylinders,
But for the lowish price point vs the never meant to be sophisticated dish recipes, what one should really look out for is perhaps the execution. In this respect, this is getting there but not quite on the mark. The presentation of the goods is somehow attractive and let’s hope they will get there one day! One can tell that this will become a very popular joint in the future, at least looking from the rather approachable price point perspective..
Price: AUD $40-50 per person
Food: ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 (with further potential !)
Mon to Sat - Lunch and Dinner.
Address: 107 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000.
Ph: 02 8240 9000