Sunday, February 1

Jamie's Italian, Leeds

I've been wanting to visit Jamie's for absolutely ages.
I'm a huge fan of the chef anyway and have most of his books. (My two favourites are the 'The Ministry of Food' which is amazing for basic, homey recipes and student living on a tight budget, and 'Comfort Food' which is just drool worthy!)
Anyhow, after years of lusting when I walked past its doors on a weekly basis, and hearing numerous ace reviews, it was finally time to give it a spin myself.
Better late than never!

Now most of you will know Jamie's Italian already, they have them dotted all around the country after all; but for those who don't know, the restaurant began in 2008. Inspired by Jamie's love of Italian food, it prides itself on authentic, rustic rooted dishes with high quality ingredients whilst still being affordable and in a comfortable environment.
 This, I can safely say was a good reflection of our experience.

I visited with my parents who were up in Leeds for the day, and we snuggled into one of the booths of the old bank to have a look at their menu.
The décor is pretty incredible as it features the old stripped back ceilings, stunning tiled floors and vintage mental bars and lighting. 

Mum, (inevitably), ordered some tea which she was thrilled came out in an adorable metal pot and glass teacups; a really nice touch instead of your bog standard tea set.

Whilst my Dad & I went for their 'Refresher' non-alcoholic cocktail of 'Fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade'. It quenched our thirst perfectly.

We had a delightful chat with the waitress who rather impressively relayed to us numerous and intricate specials on offer. We were quite lucky in that it was fairly quiet for a Sunday lunchtime, so we enjoyed the quiet atmosphere and dug into their artisan bread basket.

This featured their 'Classic homemade rosemary focaccia, ciabatta, seeded crackerbread, sourdough, & grissini sticks. Served with cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic & fantastic olive tapenade'
I could have eaten a whole loaf of that focaccia, smothered in oil and balsamic. It was warm, fresh, and really flavoursome ,which I find is usually the error with bread baskets in restaurants.

But even though the bread was cracking, the main courses just hit the nail on the head.

My mum ordered their special pasta, which rather stupidly I can't really remember what it was. I just remember that it was sausage meat based and taste absolutely incredible. 
On that note, right at the entrance of the restaurant, they have their pasta maker so you can see a skilled chef making it fresh right in front of your eyes. A really great touch, especially for an Italian.

My dad being a big lover of meat, went for the Jamie's Italian Burger; 'Juicy prime British beef with mortadella, balsamic onions, tomato, melted smoked mozzarella, pickles & chillies', accompanied with some of their classic chips. 
Dad wasn't sharing a bite of his burger, but I did manage to snatch a chip after fluttering my eyelashes a bit. They were pretty damn good, golden on the outside and fluffy within. A good shout on that choice from my Dad.

But, I was trying to be healthy and instead of picking something indulgent, went for their 'Market Superfood Salad' with free-range grilled chicken; this contained 'avocado, shaved fennel, candied beets, pulses, Italian sprouting broccoli, creamy cottage cheese, pomegranate, smashed nuts & seeds. Served with a fennel blossom Sicilian harissa'.

I've had a fair few salads in my twenty (*Cough* soon to be twenty one) years, and I must say that this salad was in my top 10, maybe even 5. The ingredients just worked so well together and really created a flavoursome and tasty dish; one I'm definitely going to try to recreate at home. The chicken was especially great and because it was grilled it had a beautiful, smoky taste. 
I was a happy lady.

Other bloggers will understand the embarrassment of taking photos. You want to do a feature proud and get the best photographs possible, but obviously, to people that don't know what on earth you are up to, you sometimes look like a bit of a tit. 
Since the restaurant wasn't exactly heaving, the kind waitress from earlier noticed my shutterbug nature, but instead of giving me odd looks asked if I would like to see the upstairs.
I was a bit confused, but understood why she offered after explaining this is where they create their famous 'planks'.

It's pretty awesome; you've got the rustic & metallic décor alongside their dangling charcuterie. 
Plus, I got to have a sneak peak at some of their awesome food being produced. 

Plus, I got to drool over this delicious looking dessert... 

If only I wasn't trying to be good!

A big thank you, especially to the waitress for giving us a brilliant visit. Having a waitress so engaged really does make a difference to your experience and after working in a pub/restaurant for a couple of years that prided itself on friendliness and high staff service, it was nice to see this replicated elsewhere.

So, Jamie's Italian...
I was pretty impressed to be honest. It was exactly what it said it was, it produced high quality, tasty food in a fun and comfortable environment and at a reasonable price. 
One definitely worth returning to. 

Has anyone else been to Jamie's? Or any other restaurants worth a mention this week?


1 comment

  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful review and especially all the gorgeous pictures! I am very much looking forward to the first Jamie's Italian opening in Canada this spring. I've always wanted to go!


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