University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel.
Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Gordon Ramsay operates by the adage, 'people will wait for good food.' Jamie Oliver, on the other hand, still needs to find the balance between good food and good service.
Presumably the relative busyness of Jamie's Italian on a Wednesday night can be attributed to the 'that-bloke-off-the-telly' novelty value. The eatery portrayed a youthful theme which was consistent throughout the evening; upon arrival, three nervous members of waiting staff, whose combined age could not have surpassed my own, tried tirelessly to seat us, but did not take our order for another fifteen minutes. That said, when they did finally approach us, their attentiveness could not have been faulted, and the modern décor and lively atmosphere seemed to pass the time.
Despite the rather purse-purging prices, I decided to sample a bit of everything to make a fair judgement, and thus opted for a rather phallic-looking courgette fritto as a starter. Despite appearances, the mozzarella kicked in at just the right moment and complemented the pesto dressing perfectly.
To keep a modest budget I opted for a starter-sized main, which, at £8.95, caused me to have high expectations. What ensued however was a laughably small portion of seaside risotto which, while delicious, certainly did not merit the hefty price tag. The juice was certainly not worth the squeeze with regard to pulling apart the mussels and cockles, and the dish was arguably too heavy on the chilli, although I was assured by the waitress that said spice was typical of Jamie's cooking style.
Two courses in and slightly squiffy on a £26.95 bottle of Verdicchio, (which was not dissimilar to a £3.99 bottle I've been known the purchase from the corner shop) it was time for dessert. Rather unadventurously I decided to try out Jamie's take on a chocolate brownie, which, according to his recipe, should have had a gooey centre, but was let down but a rather dry consistency, albeit somewhat salvaged by the sinfully delectable vanilla ice cream.
All in all, Mr Oliver gets a gold star for atmosphere - presenting a board of antipasti on top of two tins of tomatoes was just one of the many gimmicks. That said, one does have high expectations with such a pricey menu, and this time round, Jamie's Italian did not quite hit the mark. I'm a great believer in second chances however, and put the evening's few hiccups (mainly nervous staff) down to the teething problems of any new restaurant, as Jamie's opened officially in July. Suffice to say, I would go again, but perhaps this time round, I'll sacrifice the wine for a decent-sized main.