Sydney is a highlighted international dining destination - growing fast and attracting culinary talent from all corners of the globe. A city of icons, it would be only fitting for global chef sensation Jamie Oliver to open Jamieís Italian on Pitt Street. Jamieís Italian opened in the bustling business district of Sydney in 2011, the first restaurant in Sydney from the Oliver enterprise.
The modest exterior of Jamie's Italian
The exterior is modest, dimly lit and could easily be missed if it werenít for the queue of hopeful diners lined up out the door. Fortunately I had a booking which avoided the two and half hour wait, which is the standard wait time for a table on a saturday night. I highly recommend making a booking, which can be easily done via online or calling direct.
An extensive wine list and cocktails to choose from
Arriving a bit earlier then my reservation time, the maitre de hands a buzzer which will alert us when the table is available. In the meantime there is a bar to the right which is the place to be. Friendly bartenders entertain awaiting diners with decorative, flavour infused cocktails, and pour cascades of deep burgundy into oversized wine glasses.
Jamie's Grown-up Iced Tea
Starting at $9 up to $16.50, the cocktail menu includes a diverse range of favourites like The Godfather ($14) comprising of a mix of amaretto and monkey shoulder whisky served over ice with a twist; or Jamieís Grown-up Ice Tea ($16.50) - comprising of some lightly spiced rum, breakfast tea syrup, lemon juice and peach puree.
If you have time for a bit of light reading, there is a selection of Mr Oliverís bestselling cookbooks for sale. A few of these titles are available for diners to pick up and read as they enjoy their cocktails. A great concept to help diners forget that they are actually waiting for a table.
Pull up a chair and have a good read
The dining area downstairs, more seating is also available on the mezzanine.
Once our table became available, we were greeted by a cheery Irish waiter who guided us into this jiving culinary beehive. Interior design powerhouse group peckvonhartel are responsible for creating the lane way culture layout throughout the premises. A decor that is rustic industrial - constructed with a contrast of natural tones, blackened steel and street art in the restrooms.
Street art decorates the restrooms
Industrial light fittings
Itís the middle of a Saturday night in Sydney, and the atmosphere is alive. There is a mixture of classic 80ís Brit rock tunes and a bit of todays house playing loudly, together with people swooning over their plates, and staff attending to endless needs of chefs and diners alike.
Feeling hungry for someÖin the words of Mr Oliver himself pukka tukka, the menu presented a delicious and extensive range of options. Thereís pasta, ravioli, risotto, fish, meats, sides and desserts. Absolutely spoilt for choice.
A wide variety of menu options
Ready for some delicious food
Oliverís food philosophy of using fresh produce to make simple, flavoursome meals is evident throughout the menu. Starters feature Antipasti selections like planks at $14 per person - with choices of cured meats, cheeses, pickles and crunchy salad.
I wanted something from the sea, and hence chose the Crab and Avocado Bruschetta ($16). Comprising of a crispy grilled sourdough, delicately topped with blue swimmer crab, avocado and a side serve of apple, chilli, mint, lemon and olive oil. For a starter, this was everything I was expecting - light, fresh and punchy flavours. The serving size is enough for one hungry diner - or to be shared between two as a small starter.
Crab and Avocado Bruschetta
After much deliberation and changing my mind about several times, I decided on the flavour rich Wild Boar and Porcini Lasagne ($27.50). Served in a large tapas style bowl, the meal was bursting with an inviting aroma of roasted garlic and tomatoes. The pasta was perfect in itís subtle, delicate texture - smothered in layers of the moorish sauce.
Wild Boar and Porcini Lasagne
I also tried Jamieís signature Porchetta ($27) - A generous serving size of free range Australian pork belly, filled with herbs, garlic and spices. The fennel crackling is divine, and is a dining sensation I love to savour. The texture of the crackling is matched well with the soft fresh belly meat. Served with a watercress salad, this meal is probably best to be ordered with a side. The Posh chips ($7.50) are amazing. They're served with truffle oil and parmesan.
Mouth watering Porchetta
Looking at the desert menu, and I am once again faced with the dilemma of what to order. Selections like Winter Berry Trifle ($10) made with fresh winter berries, strawberry jelly, custard and glazed Italian meringue; or go for the Tutti Frutti Lemon Meringue Pie ($10.50). Itís when a waiter walks past holding a plate of what looks more like a sculpture from the Museum Of Contemporary Art for dessert...just like that I make up my mind.
Hello JI Epic Brownie ($10). A creation from dessert heavenÖwarm fudge brownie served with amaretto ice cream and caramelised amaretto popcorn. Yes you heard right, popcorn. Always up for trying something a bit left of centre, the marriage between the sweet brownie and ice-cream are taken to another level with the salted popcorn crunch and flavour. It is incredibly rich and sweet. Definitely not for the faint hearted.
The epic brownie is ever sweet tooth's dream
Jamieís Italian is a fun and vibrant dining experience. Itís loud; itís busy and full of character. If you were planning a quiet night out, that will quickly change.
Great for any occasion where anyone wants laughs, great food, amazing service, and a lively dining experience. Itís a place I cannot wait to return to and dine at. Happy Days.
A creative kitchen of artisans
Where: 107 Pitt Street Sydney NSW
Why: Rustic style Italian food served in style. This place is all about having a good time and enjoying fresh produce at it's best.
Cost: Starters $14. Mains average at $27. Desserts at around $10.
Monday - Sunday
11:30am - Late
Good for kids: There is a kids menu, but the venue might get a bit tiresome for the fidgety little tikes.
Take away: No