Jamie’s Italian Canberra

Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Canberra has recently opened it’s doors. It’s replaced an old favourite, viz., Kingsleys Crab and Steak house. I’ve blogged about it previously.
Our booking was for 8.15 pm. This is a little late (well okay for Gary who is 48 going on 68 it’s very late) for dinner but like many popular venues with a keen business sense, multiple sittings are the go. Being busy at work, Bron and I figured 6 pm was risky and 8.15 pm was a safer option.
We arrived at about 8.05 pm to a short queue at the front door. These were hopeful patrons to be trying their luck to get a table without a booking. Some are given a wireless alerting device (I really dislike them, I prefer good old fashioned yelling out [I find that charming especially if it's done with a really strong Asian accent]) and others walk away. We’re shown a table close to the front with good light. We can see the whole restaurant. It’s a good vibe. The average age of the customers is mid-20s. The dress code is casual all round with many patrons in shorts and T-shirts and apparently unacceptable foot wear (crocs anyone?). There are a heap of wait staff buzzing around all smiling and cheerful. Our table has a booth style configuration made to comfortably seat four people. It’s nice to have the extra room. We sit opposite each other in the middle of the comfortable bench seats. Bron looks stunning.
As we’re chatting the lights suddenly dim. Bron looks at me and smirks. I was pleased with the placement of our table under good lighting. Now it’s dim everywhere and it’s only 8.20 pm. At least there’s sufficient light to read the menu. Later in the evening we see other patrons using the torch function on their iPhones to illuminate their menus so they can read. Bron comments on the lovely atmospheric lighting while I ponder in my mind the grainy images I will be capturing of food.
The menu is a large sheet of laminated card with selections printed on one side. We look at the planks which are bits of wood with meat (or vegetables or cured fish), cheeses, pickles and salad. The meat plank looks good. Rather than planks for two we ask for one plank and also ask for the crispy squid with its garlic mayonnaise and chili slices. We’re able to share both which is great.

This is Jamie's Italian meat plank with San Daniele prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, finocchio and artisanal mortadella cured meats, ewe bocconcini and pecorino with amazing chilli jam cheeses, Curly green chillies, green and Gaeta olives & caper berries pickles, and Shaved root veg with chilli, lemon and mint crunchy salad. The bocconcini was local and unpasteurised. This is a concern. I know foodies go on and on about the better flavour. As a clinical microbiologist and public health advocate I know there continue to be outbreaks of food borne infectious diseases that make people very ill and in some circumstances kill people because the milk is not pasteurised. Pasteurisation is such a quick and simple process that SAVES lives. That said, I still ate it. It was okay.

This is Jamie’s Italian meat plank with San Daniele prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, finocchio and artisanal mortadella cured meats, ewe bocconcini and pecorino with amazing chilli jam cheeses, Curly green chillies, green and Gaeta olives & caper berries pickles, and Shaved root veg with chilli, lemon and mint crunchy salad. The bocconcini was local and unpasteurised. This is a concern. I know foodies go on and on about the better flavour. As a clinical microbiologist and public health advocate I know there continue to be outbreaks of food borne infectious diseases that make people very ill and in some circumstances kill people because the milk is not pasteurised. Pasteurisation is such a quick and simple process that SAVES lives. That said, I still ate it. It was okay.

This is Jamie's Italian meat plank with San Daniele prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, finocchio and artisanal mortadella cured meats, ewe bocconcini and pecorino with amazing chilli jam cheeses, Curly green chillies, green and Gaeta olives & caper berries pickles, and Shaved root veg with chilli, lemon and mint crunchy salad. The bocconcini was local and unpasteurised. This is a concern. I know foodies go on and on about the better flavour. As a clinical microbiologist and public health advocate I know there continue to be outbreaks of food borne infectious diseases that make people very ill and in some circumstances kill people because the milk is not pasteurised. Pasteurisation is such a quick and simple process that SAVES lives. That said, I still ate it. It was okay.

This is Jamie's Italian meat plank with San Daniele prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, finocchio and artisanal mortadella cured meats, ewe bocconcini and pecorino with amazing chilli jam cheeses, Curly green chillies, green and Gaeta olives & caper berries pickles, and Shaved root veg with chilli, lemon and mint crunchy salad. The bocconcini was local and unpasteurised. This is a concern. I know foodies go on and on about the better flavour. As a clinical microbiologist and public health advocate I know there continue to be outbreaks of food borne infectious diseases that make people very ill and in some circumstances kill people because the milk is not pasteurised. Pasteurisation is such a quick and simple process that SAVES lives. That said, I still ate it. It was okay.
The cured meats are all very nice and not that salty. The cheeses are interesting. The soft cheese is a locally produced bocconcini which we were told is made from unpasteurised milk, which we were told is legal if locally acquired.

<begin rant> I should declare that despite loving food and being adventurous with food, I am always going to be a clinical microbiologist and public health advocate. Despite the foodies of this country going on and on about the better taste of artisan cheese made with raw milk, outbreaks of serious infectious do occur (mainly overseas). Some outbreaks have resulted in severe morbidity and death. Women who are pregnant should avoid soft cheeses (because of the risk of Listeria monocytogenes which is a bacterium that can multiply happily at 1–4 °C similarly Yersinia enterocolitica can multiply at refrigerator temperatures and cause gastroenteritis and mesenteric adenitis) and if they’re made from raw milk my advice would be to avoid them. The risk isn’t worth a spontaneous abortion of an unborn child. Public safety is more important that an arty farty (holier than thou) view of sound public health regulations. If the regulations permit the use of raw milk that’s only because the producers will be well aware of their regulatory obligations. Obligations that are designed to minimise risk and assure public safety. I’m okay with it if it’s legal, I’m not if it’s not legal. Australia has not been spared major food disasters, however, through good risk based regulation, we’re in a better position than many other countries. Did I eat the cheese? Yes I did. Am I an hypocrite? No, I’m aware of the risks and I assessed the risk (including my own consequence management skills) to be acceptable within the parameters known. </rant over>

Back to the food. The pickles and salad on the plank were really nice. That also goes for the olives. They were exceptionally good. The hard cheese was a nice way to finish the plank. We were advised to start with the meat, proceed through the bocconcini, and then the pickles, then the salad finishing with the hard cheese. It was good advice.
The crispy squid was mouth watering. I loved it, especially using each piece of squid as a vector for some chili and then dipping it into the lovely garlic mayonnaise.

Jamie's Italian crispy squid. Fried squid garlicky mayo and lemon. This was delightful. I really enjoyed it especially with the chilli slices. The mayonnaise was really nice.

Jamie’s Italian crispy squid. Fried squid garlicky mayo and lemon. This was delightful. I really enjoyed it especially with the chilli slices. The mayonnaise was really nice.

With the planks and squid consumed we were served our main meals. Bron asked for the pork chop which looked fantastic. It was served with a really fresh looking salad. Bron also asked for polenta chips. These were amazingly good. They were so light and fluffy.
I asked for The Jamie’s Italian burger with posh chips. The bun bread was thick and very dense. It was very fresh. The seeds on the top piece gave a great flavour and texture. I loved the pickle and chili. The steak had a good taste but it was a little dry for me. The posh chips made with truffles were really nice. Next time though I’d ask for the polenta chips.

The Jamie's Italian burger. Australian Black Angus steak with smoked mozzarella, pancetta, sticky balsamic onions, tomato, pickles and chillies. This was pretty good. Not the best burger I've ever eaten but good. The bread had great flavour and was very dense. The seeds on top gave great flavour and texture. The meat was a little dry. I liked the pickles and chilli.

The Jamie’s Italian burger. Australian Black Angus steak with smoked mozzarella, pancetta, sticky balsamic onions, tomato, pickles and chillies. This was pretty good. Not the best burger I’ve ever eaten but good. The bread had great flavour and was very dense. The seeds on top gave great flavour and texture. The meat was a little dry. I liked the pickles and chilli.

These are Jamie's posh chips made with truffle oil and Parmesan

These are Jamie’s posh chips made with truffle oil and Parmesan

These are Jamie's polenta chips crispy fried with rosemary and Parmesan

These are Jamie’s polenta chips crispy fried with rosemary and Parmesan

After the mains we were feeling very satisfied. I’d already determined that I was going to have dessert so out came the dessert menu. I was keen on the trifle. The trifle is one of my favourite desserts. I have very fond memories of Christmas as a kid and Mum making a big bowl of trifle complete with different flavoured jellies, loads of fruit like peaches and really smooth thick custard that stuck to the inside of my mouth. The Jamie’s Italian version came in an elegant glass rather than a bowl. It was a layered affair with a flamed meringue and cream on top with freshly cut strawberries and cream below. Then came the custard which was just delicious. There was a thin layer of cake I assume sponge and below this the final layer was strawberry jelly. The whole thing was delicious. My only thought about making it better would be a bowl and a dessert spoon so that layers could be scooped up and then enjoyed in one mouthful. I’d pay more for that.

This is me with my trifle.

This is me with my trifle.

This is Jamie's Italian strawberry trifle. Under the flamed meringue and cream is a layer of cream with fresh strawberries. The next layer is a lovely thick smooth unctuous custard. There is a thin layer of sponge and then at the bottom is a strawberry jelly. This is a lovely trifle for a restaurant. My favourite trifle desserts are made in large bowls without discrete layers so that each mouthful has a combination of flavours. Nothing beats a home made trifle. I love trifle.

This is Jamie’s Italian strawberry trifle. Under the flamed meringue and cream is a layer of cream with fresh strawberries. The next layer is a lovely thick smooth unctuous custard. There is a thin layer of sponge and then at the bottom is a strawberry jelly. This is a lovely trifle for a restaurant. My favourite trifle desserts are made in large bowls without discrete layers so that each mouthful has a combination of flavours. Nothing beats a home made trifle. I love trifle.

On the matter of booking a table, I tried on-line to no avail. Bron called and successfully made the booking but it was still a two week wait.

So now for the Restaurant non-food ratings On the dunny. I would rate it 4.25/5.00. It didn’t have  a Dyson airblade™ but it did have an Xlerator™ which was pretty powerful but it still doesn’t dry as well as the Dyson airblade™. The cubicles have wooden toilet seats which looked out of place. The urinals were fine. The hand basins looked like large laundry sinks. They were great. The decor was a little gaudy. I did accidentally walk in on a lady in the unisex disabled toilet. She hadn’t locked the door. If by any chance you’re reading this I’m very sorry that I saw what I saw. Apart from the unisex disabled room, the dunnies are located up the stairs at the back and through an unmarked door. The signage is non-existent.
Napkins are a pass. The serviettes are custom made Jamie’s Italian cloth napkins. They are available for sale too and we saw people buying them. You guessed it, all his books are on sale too.
Wait staff etiquette was also a pass. Our server was Julian. He was very polite and very cheerful. At stages though he came close to be a little too attentive. Being asked once during a course if our meals are okay is fine, but twice is not really necessary. Being asked six times over three courses is way too much. That said, he gets top marks for being a friendly timely and helpful server.
Our meal cost around $127. I’d rate Jamie’s Italian highly and recommend it to residents of Canberra who want to enjoy a good night out.
Jamie’s Italian
125 Bunda Street
Civic, ACT 2600
02 6268 0400

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/7tsQs

9 thoughts on “Jamie’s Italian Canberra

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  6. I had dinner there when passing through Canberra the other day and thought it was delicious! and really reasonably priced by Canberra standards. We had the same plank and loved it. And the pastas were fabulous. Think it will give Italian and Sons a run for their money…

  7. How does that crispy squid arrangement work? I don;t get the thing with the serviette on the side. Did it arrive like that or did you do that?

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