The restaurant does not take bookings for tables under six, but don't despair if you turn up and the line is snaking out the door. The MD will take your details, estimate a wait time, then send you on your way with a pager. This pager has a distance of around 200 metres, which means you may wander down the road for a pre-dinner drink at one of the many bars in Covent Garden. I suggest it would be wise to anticipate a wait, and arrive perhaps an hour earlier than you wish to eat.
The restaurant itself has two levels, and if you are lucky enough you might get to sit in a booth. As a group of 5, we were endowed with this honour, and it ensured a warm, comfortable meal.
The food, as you would expect, is brilliant. We shared the Seasonal Meat Antipasti Plank (£6.85 a head) for entrée, and oh my - what a platter! The waitress was outstanding, and very knowledgeable. She walked us through each meat, ("This one has pistachio through it, this one has fennel, and this one is Jamie's favourite...") then the olives, ("These big ones here are not for the faint hearted") and finally the cheese and chutney, ("This chilli jam actually made by a friend of Jamie's...")
While there are the token Italian dishes like spaghetti, there are also dishes for the more adventurous like Risotto Milanese with bone marrow (£13.50), and Scallop and Squid Ink Pasta (£13.90). Both delicious, and generously sized, by the way. Another dish we enjoyed, the Best of British Lamb Spiedini, included five parts of lamb - including liver, kidney and heart.
The fresh produce, homemade feel (everything tastes better when it's made with love), and stellar service, makes you realise that the man who invades our TV screens, with his sometimes irritating slang and finger snapping, really does know what he's talking about. Love him or hate him, you will definitely respect him after a visit here.
And the best part? The greatest dining experience I have had in a very long time, at an extremely reasonable price.