You can’t enter a book shop, department store or city centre without being exposed to the Jamie Oliver experience. The range spans from vintage-inspired textiles and rustic hand-painted terracota items to knives for slicing, dicing and chopping, books on his latest culinary creations, books on friday night feasts and more books.
Jamie’s like God – he’s omni-present. We just can’t shake him off. Slowly but surely he has managed to seep into our very existence invading our television and even our politics!
At this point I must stress that I’m in the Jamie Oliver camp so rah rah rah Jamie.
There’s an obvious reason why Jamie being a part of our life is all good (emphasising I do not have shares in Jamie Corp.)
The Jamie-meister is passionate about food and in life we all know that passion often leads to perfection or at least an uncontrollable strive for it.
So, back in Glasgow City Centre how does Jamie’s Italian fare as a dining experience. The spacious restaurant is that mix of casual/smart dressing where a suit or jeans with a smart shirt for the guys and smart trouser suit, graduation dress or after drinks club attire for the girls all fit in. Probably because the eclectic feel of the restaurant allows an ‘anything goes’ approach to dress code.
My dining partner and I have been perusing the menu for nearly ten minutes as we are both obsessed with not missing out on ordering THAT particular mouth-watering meal. The one where judgement from others does not matter and you have to hold yourself back from charging at the meal like a pig in a trough. Yes. I paint a flattering picture.
Trying to remain restrained isn’t easy as I’ve ordered the vegetarian plank. I can’t improve on the menu description. It sounds tantalisingly good. And it is. Strewn across a wooden plank are chargrilled vegetables marinated in garlic & herb oil, with mini buffalo mozzarella, tomato & ricotta crostini, garlicky cannellini dip, grissini and pickles & olives. Oh, yes….and the plank has been strategically placed atop two ring-pull can tomato tins which I have been reliably informed a number of customers have pulled open believing it to be part of the Jamie dining experience! What fun they must have had. Selfie time anyone?
I look up for a split second to see my partner in what can only be described as a food haze. Forget blanking me with his his phone tap tap tapping, (he wouldn’t dare!) the Italian chicken-liver pâté, pancetta, vin santo & Parmesan seems to be the new love of his life.
He was trying to suppress his inner happiness but I know that facial expression only too well. This is a man enveloped in food glory.
With a deliciously light and fresh glass of sparkling Raboso Roasata Supmante pour moi and a Moretti – Italy’s finest – for him we’re starting off on a merry note.
As the night progresses, so does the merriment.
I always strive to try a little something special or different. I like a surprise I do.
So, for my Main I have gone rogue. Away from the safe haven familiar road of the menu which has no doubt been repeatedly walked. I am veering off the beaten track to the less familiar Specials board.
And special it is. Primavera risotto with asparagus, sweet peas, lemon-aged parmesan topped with slow-cooked lamb ragu. First I need to add – I never exaggerate when it comes to food. I’ll avoid mentioning it rather than talk you into a disappointment.
So, suffice to say this has to be the best risotto I have ever tasted. Bold, I know, but the mixture of flavours and textures is incredible and the lamb has the same composition as pulled pork – it practically melts in your mouth.
It is irrisottoistably good. Yes, I can spell. I have invented a new word. Obvs!
The Spring oxtail lasagne has my dinner partner perplexed. Apparently it doesn’t compute. It shouldn’t work and for five seconds he truly finds it difficult to register the taste as it doesn’t appear in his memory board but now a smile is spreading over his face. “It shouldn’t work but it does,” he says. The waitress walks over and says the exact same thing and the two nod with the ‘we know’ look.
You know at school in Chemistry when you had to imitate a volcano exploding and the lava erupting pouring down the side of the volcano with baking soda and the like? I promise you I am going somewhere good with this.
Welllll…..the molten chocolate praline pudding has a similar effect when you plunge your spoon into it. The runny chocolate pours out over it like molten hot lava. Wait a minute, I think I know how they came up with the name. Delish and polished off with vanilla gelato.
After this superb evening I’m walking to the train station safe in the knowledge that nothing too unhealthy has passed my lips because dear old Jamie wouldn’t let that happen.
Dining Experience 5/5, Food 5/5, Service 5/5
Jamie’s Italian, George Square, Glasgow
Review by Susie Daniels