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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
125 Bunda Street
Civic, ACT 2600
02 6268 0400
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/7tsQs
- Lunch at Jamie’s Italian – Canberra* (inthetaratory.wordpress.com)
- Jamie’s Italian Perth (wino-sapien.blogspot.com)
- Dyson Airblade – the enemy (mummyish.wordpress.com)
- The Mecca Bah in Canberra (yummylummy.com)
- Roll’d in the Canberra Centre. How does it cmpare with Saigon Fresh in Gungahlin? (yummylummy.com)
- Grill’d Healthy Burgers in the Canberra Centre (yummylummy.com)
- Are The FDA And Canada Going To Ban Raw Milk Cheese? (thesleuthjournal.com)
- Images of food and Lake Ginninderra (yummylummy.com)