Review of 'Jamie's Italian (NOW CLOSED)'

This is number four of about fourteen in Jamie Olivers' chain of “Jamie's Italian” restaurants and was quite busy on a bank-holiday Monday evening at 5:30 when we visited. Being told there was about a 30 minute wait we had a seat in the informal bar area where there was a long narrow table with stools and several large tables made of rustic wood timbers. Ordering our drinks at the bar we also ordered “Italian Nachos” (£3.45) which are lightly deep-fried ricotta ravioli with a chunky tomato sauce. This was quite good if not a bit bland (crunchy though). A short while later our buzzer beckoned us to our table.

The large wood floor and ceiling slightly dark interior is eclectically decorated with large modern comic-book style prints along side rustic antiques. In the corner where we sat (leather benches, nice, plastic seats, not so good) we had a view into the kitchen through a window running the length of the wall which was quite interesting. The place was busy and it was difficult to hear ourselves talking.

We decided on the bread basket starter which, at £3.25, was a tremendous bargain as it came with many different types of breads as well as bread-sticks with olive oil/balsamic vinegar for dipping. These were all fantastically good with the bread being lovely and firm with a crunchy crust. The vinegar was not the cheap kind - This was very flavourful and not too vinegar-y.

After a lot of pondering over the very good menu we decided on pasta – I had the “Wild Truffle Tagliatelle” (£8.95 for the large version) and my companion had the “Lovely Buffalo Ricotta Ravioli” (£10.25, also large). Yes, the menu is full of flowery descriptions of the dishes which is part of the charm of the place and, yes, I could not help but be charmed. The staff were very friendly and the atmosphere was so relaxed. The prices, in our opinion, were very good indeed.

Anyway, back to the dishes, my tagliatelle was good if a bit tasteless while my companion's ravioli was flavourful. Both were very good indeed with the pasta, as you might expect, cooked correctly (al dente).

We debated having dessert but eventually decided on ice cream (£4.35 - choice of three flavours and two of four different toppings) and the “Amalfi Lemon Curd” (£4.95) - A lovely lemon curd pudding topped with a lot of crushed pistachios with a side of creme freche (and fresh raspberries). My companion did not entirely like the hazelnut ice cream but otherwise devoured her dessert and my lemon curd was lovely and tangy with the right amount of crunch from the nuts (the cream toned down the flavour quite nicely too).

The total came to £39.70 for the two of us (including only the non-alcoholic drinks we had to start) NOT include a service charge (nice to see).

We really enjoyed our visit and will definitely be back to one of the others in the chain at some near point in the future. It was nice to see food that is NOT overpriced in a relaxed atmosphere with attentive (but not overly so) service. I will be looking forward to trying other items on the menu…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2010-08-31

Cuisine: Italian

Address: 8-13 Black Lion Street, Brighton, ENGLAND BN1 1ND

Location: Brighton (England)



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Telephone: +44 (0) 1273 915 480