Monday, 9 June 2014


When it first opened in Liverpool  I loved Jamie's Italian, I had the pleasure of going for a meal at their pre-opening and was so impressed with the food and the service. It felt like we had something special that was fitting for the new Liverpool One area of the city centre. 

Sadly, we went last year and were disappointed with the quality of food. The spark had gone, it felt like I could of been in any bog standard Italian chain restaurant and with so much choice and quality in Liverpool I was doubtful that I would be returning anytime soon. So when I was sent a money off voucher to try out their new summer menu and with plans to go and eat out before going to the arena, I thought I would give them another shot. Maybe they were having a bad day and with a new menu behind them perhaps some of that old magic would return. Well, I'm pleased to report that it most defiantly has!

Arriving 15 minutes early for our reservation was no problem. We were taken straight up to the first floor and sat in a booth meant for four which was fantastic. I love a good booth and we had plenty of space for the two of us which was nice as it seemed to be quite busy downstairs. The wooden interior that still looks as good as when I came on day one along with the outdoor seating area plush with greenery defiantly gives off the vibe of an Italian trattoria and with our servers warm welcome I was already starting to feel that this was going to be a good meal. Speaking of our server she (I'm sorry I didn't catch her name) was extremely knowledgeable about the new menu. Specials were explained thoroughly and my questions about the main expertly dealt with. It's good too see that the staff not only know what they are talking about but that they really seemed to be passionate about the food. That is not something you see everyday and should be commended!

Onto the food and what a treat it was. To start we went for the veggie sharing plank for two. Suspended on two tins for a bit of theatre the bulk of the plank were grilled seasonal vegetables which today were aubergine, courgette and caper berries in an olive oil dressing. Jon loved the crunchy courgette chunks and I enjoyed the thin strips of aubergine, it was a way of serving them I had never tried before and I would love to give it a go at home. In contrast to the herby oil dressing of the grilled veg there was a second salad of grated beet root and carrot dressed in lemon and mint which was fresh and zesty and offered a completely different but equally yummy taste and texture sensation. In the centre were two buffalo mozzarella balls, a tomato type chutney and pecorino with chili jam all in mouthwatering bite sized servings. The whole plank was well balanced and for us just the right sized for a starter for two although I think it would also be perfect as a main for one. A fantastic start to the meal.

I saw soft shell crab cooked on My Kitchen Rules Australia last week and though it looked amazing so to see it on the new menu made it an instant first choice for my main. It was delicious. Jamie's mains don't come with sides but this was OK as it was just the right size after our sharing plank. The crispy breadcrumb coating on the crabs were seasoned beautifully and whilst the legs had a satisfying crunch, the body of the crab was soft and melted in the mouth. The salad of fresh fennel, chili, spinach, lime salsa and avocado was zingy and really packed a punch, working really well with the crab meat. The whole dish was so perfectly balanced that I have now fallen in love with soft shell crab. If this is an indication as to the quality of the rest of the menu then I'm so happy to see the food back to that same standard I experienced on opening.
Having some of the main courses available as small and large plates is a great idea for big kids and those with smaller appetites. Jon's is both of these and so he went for a small Penne Pomodoro and it was a perfect sized portion for him. Pasta in an Italian restaurant has no excuse to be anything less then perfect so I tried some and it top notch. The penne had sucked up the garlicky tomato sauce up so that it burst satisfyingly onto your taste buds when you bit through the delicious tubes. The herby breadcrumbs added a nice crispy texture and the mozzarella so soft and punchy in flavor. Not just a balanced portion size but also balanced in taste too.

No time or room in our bellies for dessert this time but thankfully I'm pleased to say that Jamie's Italian has turned itself around and I'll gladly return to check out the puddings. If you haven't visited yet then now is the time to give it a go. The new menu is delicious and the spark has once again return to the not just the restaurant and the staff but too the food as well.

Check out the website to book a table and to check out their other locations today. In the word's of Mr Oliver himself you will have a "pukka" night out!

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