More than three months since Jamie's Italian opened its doors to the Singapore food community, the buzz about the restaurant hasn't died down a bit; much less its long queues of diners. We were fortunate enough to have tried it just a few weeks after its opening and with more than an hour of waiting time, I'm sure the first question that comes to our mind is that - is it worth it? Precisely what my friends and colleagues asked me after our dining experience. To date, there are mixed reviews about the restaurant. In general, I would say just like any other food place anywhere in the world, it's also a case of a hit and miss. I know this might be a bit disappointing owing to the well established celebrity status of Jamie Oliver. This is the least that we could expect from one of his chains. However, it's also the kind of restaurant that you would want to be more lenient about and give it another chance. Again, maybe because the brand "Jamie Oliver" has something to do with it. At any rate, he seemed to be one of the sweetest and charming chefs around. So, essentially you want to negate all the doubts.
Personally, the first thing that I would commend this restaurant of is the ambiance. It's relaxing and calm even though the place looked totally busy. It's a nice place to have friends and family around. It's also very evident how Jamie Oliver connected the restaurant to his advocacy of sustainability. There are potted plants and fresh herbs all over. Woods are everywhere too. From the tables, chairs and ceilings down to his famous serving plates - the Jamie's planks.
This was the Q on a Sunday, lunch time (30 minutes before the restaurant opened).
Good thing though, the restaurant was sweet and generous enough to offer some antipastis to the people on Q while waiting.
You would also see a lot of Jamie Oliver's merchandise inside the restaurant albeit, I find the cook books a bit more pricey than in the local bookstore. Hence, I'd rather get my copy from the likes of Kinokuniya.
The pasta maker
One proof that this restaurant had indeed thought about young diners, kids can select their food from no less the 3D - slider. Even I, had fun perusing the kids' menu. What a brilliant idea!
We were seated at one of the tables near the salad and antipasti section. This is the well lit area hence, the perfect setting for families.
The main course preparation area.
Now on to the main thing - the foods! These were some of the foods that we've tried from the wide array of choices in the menu.
Tagliatelle Bolognese, $15 - Ragù of beef, pork, herbs, Chianti & Parmesan with crunchy, herby breadcrumbs
Lamb Chop Lollipops, $29.90 - Bone-in grilled lamb chops served with a creamy artichoke & mint sauce, roasted nuts, chilli & fresh mint
Out of this selection, we were glad that we got more hits than miss. The Fish Plank boasted a very interesting repertoire of good starters. The Pasta was at its freshest and the Bolognese sauce complemented it just right. I am not a big fan of Lamb Chops, but I would take Jamie's Italian's an exception. The meat was so tender and juicy sans the off, satiating after taste. This, was definitely good! True to its name, the Happy Fish Fingers will certainly make any kid and kid at heart happy. The polenta chips that went with the fish fingers was wonderful, no wonder it's very famous. If not for the overly done steak, the Rump Steak Salad was another well executed dish. The mix of salad greens was really nice. For the dessert, the creamy Panna Cotta is a must have! It has everything that you would expect from a Panna Cotta - right texture, balanced sweetness and creaminess, paired with a well blended fruit compote; it's simply divine! Sadly, you can give the Tiramisu a miss. There's nothing extraordinary about it.
On the whole, trying out Jamie's Italian dishes is still an experience to be had despite issues on its service and some of its food offerings. There's still so much more to explore from the menu. Although it's inevitable that expectations will be high, I am quite certain that you'll be able to find something that will satisfy your discriminating taste buds. Anyhow, so much is at stake on a Jamie Oliver's brand thus, people behind it will not just sit on their laurels to make the restaurant live up to what its patrons call for.
1 HarbourFront Walk,
VivoCity, #1 165-167
12.00pm to 10.00pm Sunday to Thursday
12.00pm to 11.00pm Friday/Saturday