Saturday, 10 November 2012

New Menu at Jamie's Italian, Birmingham

Firstly, it's been a long time since I did a proper blog post, for which I apologise. I have been studying a lot, and working, and doing a lot of cooking. Oh, and getting my flat up for sale and house-hunting.

I took some time out from this hectic schedule on Tuesday night, however, to check out the new menu at Jamie's Italian in Birmingham. I had never been to Jamie's Italian before so when I got an invite from Emma, the PR manager at the Bullring, to come along and try the new menu, I jumped at the chance. I also brought my husband along, because he is interested in food and wine as well as beer.

Jo of Jo's Kitchen, and Ahmed and Sanjeeta of Dine Birmingham also attended, and we all sat down to a lovely three-course meal.

I thought Jamie's Italian had quite a nice atmosphere and I liked the decor in the Birmingham restaurant, which has been designed to reflect Birmingham's industrial history. I enjoyed the product placement slightly less - I like to eat good, well-sourced food and am not really interested in 'brands' or labels.

The menu is very varied and there is certainly a lot to choose from. I was also surprised by how reasonable most of the prices are considering the celebrity name attached, although the main dishes do not really come with much in the way of sides, so these need to be ordered separately, which may up the cost a bit.

While choosing our starters we were treated to a glass of prosecco each, which was very welcome. I prefer prosecco to champagne, so I enjoyed it very much.

For starter, I had the Brixham Bay Sardine Bruschetta. This was very tasty, with lovely fresh tasting fish, but I found it really difficult to eat. It was hard to pick up and eat because everything just fell off the bruschetta as I bit into it, but being bruschetta it was a bit tough to try and cut with a knife and fork. It was also quite large for a starter, so I ended up leaving some in order to make sure I had room for the next course.

My husband, Ian, had the Posh Garlic Mushrooms on Toast, which he said was nice but he found the bread a bit tough.

 We were also brought some World's Best Olives on Ice for us all to share. The 'on ice' part confused me at first, but Ian suggested that perhaps it was to keep them fresh, as they hadn't been preserved in brine or olive oil. They were certainly good olives, but 'world's best' might be going a bit far!

Once we had chosen our main meals, the manager came and discussed with us which wines would go well with them. Sadly, I can't remember which wine I had, but it was very nice and complimented my main nicely!

For my main I had the Tagliatelle Bolognese. I wanted to see how well Jamie's Italian could do such a classic dish. It turns out, pretty well. This is definitely the best bolognese I have ever eaten in a restaurant. It was the right balance of salty and sweet and the sauce was not too runny. My one minor complaint is that it got cold quite quickly, but that was probably my fault for spending too long talking and not getting on with eating it! I also had a side of Rocket and Radicchio Salad - I liked the parmesan and balsamic vinegar with the green leaves.

Ian had Jamie's Italian Mixed Grill. He liked it, although it was very different from your usual mixed grill. This one contained guinea fowl, beef, lamb, rabbit, artisan sausage and devilled kidney! He had Funky Chips as his side - I tried one and they were seriously delicious.

My dessert was the Chocolate and Vin Santo Pot. This was by far my favourite course. Thick, indulgent chocolate, then deliciously light and fluffy cream, topped with ice-cream. I didn't quite manage to eat it all because I'd already eaten so much and it was very rich - but it was heaven in a cup.

Ian had ice-cream, which I failed to get a picture of, but, again, it was very nice. Most of us also had a shot of limoncello. And the limoncello was goooood.

Service did tend to be a little slow, but fortunately we were enjoying ourselves chatting and sipping drinks, so we didn't mind - and the staff were very polite and helpful. The manager also very kindly spent quite a long time talking to us about where he sources the food and the drinks, and cooking methods of the different dishes - he is clearly very passionate and it was nice to hear.

I would happily return to Jamie's Italian - the menu is so varied and vast that I am very keen to try different things from it. Although forgive me if I stick with the Chocolate Pot as a dessert.

It was lovely to meet up again with Jo, as ever, and to meet Emma from the Bullring PR, and Ahmed and Sanjeeta from Dine Birmingham. I looking forward to dining out with them all again in the future!

Disclaimer: This meal was complimentary for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and all views are of course my own.