Jamie’s Italian | Definitely not Italian

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. (You know this will not be good, right?)

The s.o. and I were up n Newcastle and we decided to go to Jamie’s “Italian” for lunch. What a mistake. And it’s upsetting too cause I think Jamie Oliver is adorable and talented.

Jamie's Italian - Newcastle

The Newcastle restaurant is vast. You can have coffee and drinks downstairs (there are some tables for food too) and the main food area is upstairs. They have this weird system whereby the person at the door radios the person upstairs about where a customer is to be seated. This is possibly to make sure the downstairs person knows what’s going on for booking and such. What this system does is that if you ask for a different table, the upstairs person leaves you standing while they radio downstairs, ask for permission to move you and then make a decision. Seriously. Because, you know, it’s a bad idea to empower your people to make decisions and sort it out among themselves later without the customer feeling like they are a nuisance. But what do I know?

Jamie's Italian - Newcastle

Jamie's Italian - Newcastle

Now, allow me to rant a little bit about the “bruschetta”. A bruschetta is basically stuff on grilled bread. GRILLED. BREAD. I’m not sure how a chef could miss that. The bruschetta at Jamie’s Italian is a soft soggy thing that’s not even bread. Seriously, it’s not bread, I’m not being funny. On top of that the wild mushroom bruschetta resembles a stew dribbled over this thing that was not bread (I can’t get over that).

Jamie's Italian - Newcastle

We had a royal caprese salad which looked unappetising and tasted just bland. There was too much olive oil drizzled over (and this is a Greek speaking) and not enough spices. The tomatoes are supposedly roasted but I think they are probably put in the oven for 3 minutes, I had never before tasted such a hard tomato. Oh and another thing. Prosciutto is supposed to melt. This one didn’t. It was chewy to boot.

Jamie's Italian - Newcastle

For mains, we both had Jamie’s sausage pappardelle. The sausage is English. This is clearly mentioned in the menu and it should have put us off. I like English sausage but it’s just bland in pasta. Also it was shredded beyond recognition – this was minced meat. In Italian cooking when someone talks about sausage one always thinks about salsiccia, Italian sausage which is excellently seasoned. Say what you like about English sausages but seasoning is not one of their strong points. This was a really heavy dish too – when pasta the Italian way is supposed to be a light started.

Considering how much I’m trashing the place I will mention that even if I am not the specialist in Italian food, the s.o. is. Being over a decade in Italy (and being the gourmand that the s.o. is) has to count for something. His verdict: Davvero male.

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Disclosure: We went to Jamie’s Italian in Newcastle on 01 January 2015 and paid our bill in full. No prior discussion with the restaurant took place.
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Jamie’s Italian, Newcastle
Unit 3, Monument Mall
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 7AL
Tel: 019 1500 0858
www.jamieoliver.com/italian

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