Jamie’s Italian, is one of a chain of restaurants from celebrity chef Jaime Oliver. Serving meals with rustic charm it is a contemporary Italian diner found in the heart of Newcastle.
Last weekend was my birthday and to celebrate we went for lunch at Jamie’s Italian, Newcastle. We had been invited to try the Super Lunch menu which offers two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £13.95. This is only available Monday to Friday between 12 – 6pm. Jamie’s Italian is situated opposite Grey’s Monument in Monument Mall, a prime central location. If you are searching for Great North Snow Dogs there is one just outside. As it is the city centre there is no parking outside. The city centre has plenty of car parks within walking distance and Monument Metro station is right outside.
Inside the restaurant is huge. From the outside it does not look like there is going to be as much space as there is. Downstairs there is a bar area with plenty of seating in different styles. The restaurant is upstairs and accessed by a spiral staircase at the rear of the bar area. The lift access is not immediately obvious which may cause a problem if you have limited mobility.
Upstairs the restaurant oozes with charm and ambience. It has a rustic feel with plenty of quirky touches to draw your eye. From murals on wall, to pans hanging from the ceiling to racks of wine bottles in the corner. The restaurant feels cosy and welcoming. There is plenty of seating in a range of styles to suit the size of your group. The overall feel is of an Italian cosy country restaurant, even the blinds on the windows add to that feeling.
The super lunch menu offers a selection of four or five different choices for starters, mains and desserts. Some of the selections are included in the main menu and some are special to the lunch menu. At £13.95 for three courses it provides great value for the centre of town. The drinks menu contains an extensive choice of cocktails, wine, soft drinks and beers. The beers are Italian and chosen by Jamie specially for the restaurant. If you want to start your meal in authentic Italian style you can even have an aperitivo in the form of an Aperol Spritz.
Since it was my birthday we went for the three course menu. To begin with the service was quick and efficient, our waiter was Italian which made things feel more authentic. The starters came quickly. My son went for the creamy celeriac soup which was served with a rosemary focaccia. The soup was really hot and took a while to cool down but he really enjoyed it.
My choice was the silky pate bruschetta, the chicken liver pate is mixed with panacetta, vin santo and Parmesan to make a delightful starter. The pate has a gorgeous taste and I could easily have eaten more. The bread was lovely and crisp and the pate silky and smooth with plenty of flavour.
Truffle tagliatelle was my husband’s choice, hand made pasta in black truffle oil with Parmesan. It looked nice on the plate but he thought it was luke warm and lacking in taste.
After the starter the restaurant became rather busy and we had to wait quite a while for our main course to arrive. As the place got busier the waiter was finding it harder to be attentive. He was trying his best but there were only two waiters for the section we were in. We were ready for our main course when it came. Rather predictably my son chose Gennaro’s Chicken Club which is a chicken burger. I am sure he is determined to try a burger in every restaurant that we visit. The bun comes packed with marinated free-range chicken, crispy pancetta, spicy ‘nduja mayo, fontal cheese, tomato & rocket and was big enough to please him. Strangely it does not come with any side dish, a portion of fries would not have gone amiss.
Gennaro’s tagliatelle bolognese was my choice and it was well presented on the plate. Sadly the flavour was a disappointment, the whole dish was rather bland. I always expect bolognese to be bursting with tomato flavour but this dish lacked that. It is a shame as a good bolognese is a delight to eat.
Somewhat unsurprisingly my husband chose the Italian steak and fries, which there is a £3 supplement for. This is steak served in true Italian style, cut very thin and flash grilled. It came with garlic butter, fries and a red cabbage slaw. The steak was delicious, I was allowed to try a little bit, and well worth the wait. The slaw was lovely as well, it had some kind of vinaigrette dressing on it which really set off the flavour.
Comfortably full we did manage to choose a dessert. It would have been rude not to considering it was my birthday. My husband wanted to try the wobbly panna cota but sadly there were none of these left. He opted for the tiramisu pavlova instead which is coffee meringue served with chocolate ice cream and hot chocolate sauce with smashed hazelnuts.
My son and I both went for the Epic Brownie which did not disappoint. A warm meltingly soft brownie topped with flavourful salted caramel ice cream and caramelised pop corn it was a fitting end to the meal. Perfect for a birthday treat.
In conclusion, at just under £55 for a three course meal for three of us in the centre of Newcastle the meal was good value. Jamie’s Italian is a lovely spacious place to eat and the rustic look and feel of the place is spot on. If it hadn’t been for the disappointing pasta dishes the whole lunch would have been delicious but these let it down. If I went again I would opt for the steak as that was gorgeous and worth the £3 supplement.