Jamie's Italian, Pitt St. Wynyard

 Jamie's Italian- The waiting line, going out the door

        As a major fan of Italian cuisine, Jamie's Italian is a restaurant that I've always wanted to try since its grand opening in 2011. Jaime Oliver, as most of us would know, is a British chef famous for his food- immersed television shows, cookbooks, restaurants and media appearances with his specialty being Italian food.

        Getting there was quite easy, it was just a 5 minute walk away from Wynyard station. The restaurant- front was not the grand entrance that I had expected, however, the dark but energetic atmosphere that could be observed through the window gave a mysterious feel about it, which would lure in the passer- by.

        It is well- known that the waiting times could go for up to an hour or two- long. Surprisingly, we only had to wait for 45 minutes even though we had collided with the lunch hours of many businessmen/ women that worked in the CBD.

Patrons, waiters and the bartenders bustling about in the restaurant

        We were welcomed in and seated upstairs by a courteous waiter, informing us that he will be serving us for the duration of our stay.

The preparation area of the restaurant

        On the way to our seats, we passed the fantastic preparation area of the restaurant. The assortment of vegetables, raw strings and sheets of pasta gave a really organic, fresh feel about the food that I was about to eat.

A selection of bread-  Italian bread sticks/ "Music" crispbread/ Ciabatta (Italian white bread) / Tortano (an Italian bread ring usually made during times of celebration)

        First up was a selection of breads served to us, accompanied by an extra virgin olive oil & aged balsamic vinegar dip. The bread- sticks and crispbreads were easily finished off by us because we were so hungry from the initial wait. There was only a slight difference in taste between the Ciabatta and Tortano slices, but they both had a crunchy exterior accompanied by  warm, soft and mouth- watering bread inside.

        The olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip worked well with the pleasant texture of the breads, giving them a thriving, tangy flavour which contrasts the saltiness from the herbs/ spices surrounding the crust of the breads.

Appetiser- Sausage Pappardelle

        Next, was another appetiser, the Sausage Pappardelle. "What is Pappardelle?" you might ask.  Well, before I ordered the dish, I knew it was similar to Fettuccine, except a wider/ fatter version of it. However, as you can see above, when the dish came I was surprised to see that the pasta resembled more of a cow's stomach lining/ tripe! (Not trying to offend, cow's stomach lining is a proper food of Chinese cuisine which I actually eat myself sometimes. Yum! Also, click the link please it does not look as disgusting as your mind tells you it is!)

        I found out from the waiter that this appearance was actually a variation of the Pappardelle, the fluted edge variety which explains the folding of the pasta along its edges.

        Anyway, the dish was nevertheless somewhat of a disappointment because I found the fluted edge variety was too thick and did not go well with the little amount of sauce they gave us. Luckily, we did not order the main version of this dish.

Jamie's famous Polenta Chips- Fried with Rosemary and Parmesan

        Next up, were Jamie's famous Polenta Chips. Polenta is ground cornmeal that is usually boiled with water, then baked/ grilled or fried for consumption. These were definitely crunchy and had a strong rosemary and cheesy taste to it. It was enjoyable to eat the first "chip" or more like block, but any more than that was too much. I'm a potato lover, so I would have preferred that as the base of the chip rather than polenta, but then again it's how Jamie has decided to serve it.

        Potato chips would be too cliche anyway.

Tagliatelle Bolognese- Beef, pork, herbs, Chianti (type of wine produced in Tuscany, Italy) & Parmesan with crunchy herby breadcrumbs

        Finally, the mains came after the various appetisers. This dish, the Tagliatelle Bolognese was definitely the best out of all that I had at the restaurant. The delicious bolognese sauce paired well with the creamy parmesan and subtle hint of crunchy breadcrumbs, to accompany the Tagliatelle pasta (Long, flat ribbons of egg pasta. Similar to Fettuccine).

        Sadly, I couldn't eat much of it because I was already feeling slightly full from the three appetisers that we shared. However, it was still enjoyable with my drink, the "Refresher" which was a very sour mix but opened up my appetite to more food.

The Refresher- Fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade

Game Meatball- Juicy giant meatball slow-cooked in tomato & garlic , served with polenta & black cabbage

        This was the last dish of the night. I had high hopes for this main, since the previous pasta dish had driven my hunger again. However, the meatball was definitely juicy but lacked tenderness and flavour. It felt like I was just eating a ball of minced meat put together with a slight chilli/ spicy taste that lingered on my tongue.

        Again, the polenta. I would prefer if it was just potato mash because I was sick of eating polenta by now after the chips I've had. Still, it was slightly creamy and didn't taste too bad when eaten with the meatball. The black cabbage was probably the best section of the dish as it tasted nothing like any vegetable I have tried before. It was very spicy and left a buzz/ aftertaste on my tongue the way that spinach does when I eat it.

        Overall, I had expected Jamie's Italian to be a lot better quality in terms of its food. Another issue with the restaurant is the waiting time, however, the service was exemplary and atmosphere was great, giving a real Italian touch to it.

Verdict (considering atmosphere, price, service and taste): 7/10

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