As written in my last post, on Friday we spent the day in Cambridge. We had planned to visit Jamie’s Italian in advance of our visit and booked a table for 1pm.
From the second we walked in, I was impressed. We explained to the Host that we had booked for 1pm but were 10 minutes early – she explained it wasn’t a problem at all and that they always ensure that your table is free in plenty of time for your booking. She promptly showed us to our table in the main dining room. The building is basically the revamped Guildhall, is grade 2 listed and it is truly lovely. The ceilings in the main room are very high, which gives the room a light airy feel, and there is a dome with stain glass at the top which gives a reminder of the history behind the place despite it having so many modern twists. I loved the way there were dried hams and bulbs of garlic hanging down from the preparation area and that you could actually see the kitchen and the chefs hard at work. I liked the ‘openness’ of the room; there were banquet type seats all the way around the room facing in which meant that it is a great restaurant for people watching and observing! One more thing about the decor, the old-fashioned toilets were made by “the venerable Mr Crapper”….something I found quite amusing!!
Our waiter was really very good. I cannot fault the service. Just enough time was given to let us make our menu choices and eat our courses and we didn’t feel rushed at all. When describing the ‘Specials’, our waiter knew every small detail and appeared to have a real passion for food and flavours – something which I think can be quite rare!
Instead of having starters, we decided to choose two ‘nibbles’ to share. We chose the ‘Italian Nachos’; Crispy fried four cheese ravioli with a spicy arrabiata sauce, and the ‘Italian Bread Selection’ which consisted of homemade rosemary focaccia, sourdough crispy ‘music bread’, ciabatta and toranto with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic. We both agreed that the ‘Italian Nachos’ were a fab twist. Really crunchy on the outside yet soft and cheesy on the inside…yum! The bread was also really tasty and nicely presented. We appeared to have more garlic and herbs with ours and less balsamic (which was a shame as we both love balsamic) but it was still wonderfully fresh and tasty. In fact, we saved some to have with our main courses as there was quite a lot of it, not that I’m complaining!
As you can see from the above, I had a glass of wine with lunch whilst Mr MAC, as the driver, had a diet coke. Unfortunately, silly me didn’t make a note of the wine I ended up having but I know it was organic and one of the house wines and it was truly delicious! I’m kicking myself that I can’t remember the name as would love to buy a bottle or two of it!
Next for the main courses! It was so difficult to decide as they all sounded so delicious and I definitely want to take another trip to Jamie’s to try other options. I decided on the ‘Wild Rabbit Tagliolini’ which was described as being a slow-cooked ragu with garlic and herbs, marscapone and Amalfi lemon. I don’t eat rabbit very often so thought this would be a good choice and it really was! The rabbit was very tender and had a much more delicate taste than I expected. The pasta was creamy and silky. All in all a lovely dish but it was very filling, in fact I couldn’t quite finish it – I think next time I will go for the smaller portion of pasta if I’m having more than one course!
At the last-minute, Mr MAC chose one of the specials which was very reasonable as it was priced the same as the other main course pasta dishes. Described as pasta parcels filled with slow roasted lamb, red wine and ricotta, served in a silky sage and butter sauce, it was truly wonderful. The pasta was bursting with lamb and the sauce had a real depth of flavour. It was a rich dish but utterly decadent and the perfect lunch time treat. We also shared some ‘Posh Chips’ with parmesan and truffle oil. I wouldn’t say these were anything to write home about but not terrible either – distinctly average would probably describe the chips. I would have much prefered nice thick cut chips but oh well, it was nice to try something new!
At this point I really was very full but, I have a terrible sweet tooth and just couldn’t say no to a dessert I had spotted earlier ‘JI Warm Brownie’; a chocolate, raspberry and amaretto brownie with vanilla ice cream. This dessert combined some of my absolute favourite foods and it really was very good. I could most definitely eat another – all the flavours were perfectly balanced, complimenting each other but not overpowering. I also think there is something to be said for really good vanilla ice cream and this really was – vanilla specs galore! Mr MAC didn’t overindulge like me but he did have a spoonful of my pud. As detailed in my last blog, he was more pleased with a jam donut from the market!
I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Jamie’s Italian. I’m not normally a big adversary of chain restaurants however, this is a chain with a bit of a difference as extra care and attention to detail is there. The decor was great, the service was attentive, the food was delicious and beautifully presented and most importantly the price was really very good and very affordable! I will definitely be returning
Food: Super tasty and beautifully presented
Bill Total: £47.85
Marks out of 5: 4.5