As you may or may not know I hate cooking and rarely watch cooking shows. My friends Jaycen and Peter both love to cook and I am regularly found at their place for dinners on trays in front of the TV where we often end up watching cooking or design shows. This is how I found out who Jamie Oliver was.
A few weeks ago my friend Kat said Jamie’s Italian was offering a bottomless Prosecco special and asked if I’d like to join her and some friends for lunch. Jamie’s Italian in Pitt St was the first of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants to open here in Australia in 2011 and I’d wanted to try it for a while so this was the perfect excuse.
I’d meant to walk but I’d been distracted by a multitude of things (mainly Netflix) so I ended up catching the train. I was reading a book, got distracted again and went past Wynyard. Luckily I realised at Circular Quay that it was time to disembark or I would have had to go back around the City Circle! I made my way up to Jamie’s Italian on Pitt St thanks to google maps. Most of our group rocked up at the same time and met on the street. We greeted each other and introductions were made. Kat and Ben who I knew from Darlo Darlings and multiple Bottomless Brunches, Nick & Phil who were friends of both Kat and Ben who I was introduced to. It was 1pm and time to go in.
Jamie’s Italian looks small from the front but when you walk inside it goes back quite a long way and it also has a mezzanine. We were soon joined by Michael and Chris. Our table of 7 was complete. The deal was simple enough. To share – polenta chips and salad. Then everyone got to choose their own pasta with unlimited Prosecco for 2 hours for the low price of $50. For an additional $10 you could have dessert and they were also offering espresso martinis (not out of the tap) for $10. We were definitely going to “treat ourselves”
Kat asked for the salad to come out with the mains. Unfortunately because of this the waiter almost forgot to bring out the salad altogether until I reminded him when we were half way through the pasta, which was probably a bit too late. The polenta chips were served. Hot and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and sprinkled with parmesan and rosemary they were a great way to start with one bowl between two.
Our of the 5 pastas on offer we ordered 3 with most people getting the prawn linguine, 2 people for the truffle and me the only one who struggles to go past bolognese when it’s on the menu! The pastas were ok. They weren’t bad, they weren’t spectacular, they were just ok. I was actually a bit disappointed. I’m a big fan of Fratelli Fresh and I expected something even better to be coming out of the kitchen at Jamie’s Italian. I’m not really a brand name girl but because I had seen Jamie cooking on TV I probably had higher expectations of the food than I should have, even though it was obviously not Jamie cooking or as I later found out even owned by Jamie any more.
Of course we were going to get dessert. Seriously polenta chips, salad and pasta is not enough food to have with 2 hours of prosecco and you will most definitely need dessert or to have eaten before you arrive. Again the consensus on the dessert was that it was ok. Not great, but not bad. I chose the molten chocolate praline pudding. Kat thought it might be cool to have an action shot, let’s see that molten chocolate ooze out from the centre. Upon being cut we realised that was not to be. The pudding part although soft was definitely not lava like as we had expected. Instead of of self saucing it had obviously been poured over the top when served.
The best thing served that day was the delicious espresso martini and we were quite happy with it for an additional $10. As the lunch drew to a close we went to divy up the bill. Who had had dessert? + $10 who had had martinis? +$10. The bill was actually about $15 more than we expected and we worked out that although the still water from the tap was free the sparkling water from the tap was charged out at $5 per head. I have found that most restaurants who serve sparkling tap water generally don’t change for it so I was a bit surprised when it was added to the bill.
When I was telling people what I was up to this long weekend they were surprised it was still open, hadn’t Jamie”s Italian gone bust? I had no idea so I did a little research (after the fact) According to a news.com.au story in April 2018 the restaurants were now franchises and had been bought by the Hallmark Group
“The team brings a huge amount of experience and passion for our brand, from collaborating with the key suppliers to our food philosophy, and we look forward to working with them as they develop the Jamie’s Italian restaurant offering across Australia,”
Interesting. I wonder what it was like before it had been bought by the Hallmark Group.
As we wandered out of the restaurant I thought, never again. I would much rather pay an additional $29 for better food and get more bang for my buck at the Fratelli Fiesta. Michael and Phil were heading home, Kat was heading out for a bumble date and Ben, Nick and Chris convinced me to go to The Star for “just one drink.” HA!
But that my friends is another story…
Cause it’s true, what they say. It’s better the Bottomless you know!
📍 where – 107 Pitt St Sydney
🥂 bottomless – prosecco
💵 how much – $50
🍟🥗🍝 good – polenta chips, salad and pasta included – $10 additional dessert option
⌚️ how long – 2 hours
🗓 when – Saturday & Sunday for a “limited time”