Sunday, 30 October 2016


You know what I've noticed about Jamie's Italian restaurants? Everyone has an opinion on them. From taxi drivers, to bloggers, to your pals great aunt's cousin's brother - everybody wants to give you their tuppence worth on this UK wide Italian chain. Over the past couple of years I've noticed those opinions starting to venture down a more negative alley. I've always wondered though, if it was more a case of slightly bitter bandwagon jumping on one of the UK's fastest growing restaurant franchises than anything else...

Me? I've never had a bad experience there. From the delicious tasting Fish en Papilotte I enjoyed on my very first visit, to one of the nicest Beef Carpacchio salads I have ever tasted in Covent Garden, to some exceptional tasting steak and burgers at a bloggers event last year - I have only ever had good things to say about Jamie's Italian. My mum, on the other hand, was going to take a little bit more convincing. Having been left a bit disappointed on her last two visits, I figured she would be the perfect candidate to join me recently when I was invited to review Jamie's Italian George Square.

Always a fan of a before you order, while you peruse the menu, pre-dinner nibble, we opted for some olives, tapenade & crispy music bread to enjoy while deciding upon our food choices. Straight off, I need to tell you about these olives. We were served Nocellara olives which have a smooth, almost buttery taste to them & are by far my favourite of all olive varieties. The ones served at Jamie's are simply delicious, the size of small apples, and the black olive tapenade to accompany them was the perfect partner to the crispy flat bread that served as the perfect vehicle to devour said tapenade. This is the perfect alternative to a belly full of bread basket, which you always regret later when the rest of the food comes...

We followed these with the veggie antipasti plank (for me) and the pate (for the mothership). Let's start with the pate. I am currently a pate connoisseur having eaten about 15 different pate starters all over Scotland over the past three weeks. My mother (being the creature of comfort that she is), only really ever orders the one thing when she eats out - pate then steak pie. As a result of this, and being the type of person who always expects a bite of what everyone else is having, I tasted countless different versions of this popular starter during her recent visit and can confirm without hesitation - Jamie's was the best. Slightly runny, perfectly seasoned and with a distinct but not over-powering liver taste, this was absolutely delicious and my veggie eating ways were a teensy bit jealous that I hadn't got it for myself. However, my veg plank was equally good. Deliciously marinated vegetables in real, high quality, proper tasting Italian olive oil served with yummy & crispy crostini. A great tasting dip made of cannellini beans gave this popular Italian starter more of an identity than other antipasti boards and the selection of cheeses also served were extremely tasty (even though this dairy free girl only allowed herself a nibble). So all in all starters were pretty good & we gave them a big thumbs up.

For my main, I went with their 'Famous Prawn Linguine', as despite enjoying many a pasta dish in this restaurant including a delicious crab spaghetti & an absolutely amazing angel hair squid ink dish I still dream about, I had yet to try what was basically one of their most ordered main courses. This dish was lovely. Not amazing. But enjoyable nonetheless. The pasta was cooked perfectly, the prawns taken off the heat at just the right second, I didn't leave any of it although if I was being picky I did think the tomato base of the sauce did slightly over-power everything else. 

My mum went for the steak with french fries and her beef had that delicious smoky, just off the griddle, type taste that all good steaks should. It was cooked exactly as she had ordered it and was tender, juicy and easy on the palette. Her fries were crispy, salty and the perfect accompaniment to her red meat (so good in fact that I couldn't stop stealing them!).

Being full up on nibbles, 2 courses and maybe a couple of pre-dinner cocktails, we decided to skip dessert and instead enjoy a couple more glasses of Jamie's excellent house Bianco. Because I always prefer to drink my calories than waste them on cheesecake (I am my mother's daughter).

All in all this was a really enjoyable meal, the service was excellent and as always, the atmosphere fun, relaxing & not too formal. I will most certainly be back. But having been a fan of Jamie's since they first opened their doors in Glasgow back in 2010, I already knew that.

I was invited as a guest of Jamie's Italian. You can read more about my disclosure policy here. Photo credits: shout out to Jamie's who also supplied the above images, as the combination of a really rubbish iPhone and a very dark restaurant rendered mine unusable.

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