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A taste of Italy
Jamie's Italian (Bath)
Member Name: ps8sjk
Jamie's Italian (Bath)
Advantages: Delicious food
Disadvantages: A bit pricey
I came across the restaurant by pure chance but I am glad I did. It is tucked away in Milsom Street - through a short walkway from the main high street. One of only 4 Jamie Oliver Italian restaurants in the UK I had to try this.
You don't book to go here - they want it to have a relaxed atmosphere so you just show up unless you are booking for a party of 8 or more people and then you would need to. My friend and I turned up about 2.30 and it was very busy but the staff were very friendly and said we could have drinks at the bar and they would have a table for us within half an hour.
At the bar, we were so hungry that we chose to order the two snacks that were available there but we were glad we did! We had almonds and olives which came to around £5.50 which sounds a lot but it was definitely worth it. The almonds were spiced with chilli and fennel rock salt and were deliciously Moorish and were almost sticky to eat. They definitely had a kick to them which made a normally quite bland nut extra special. The Olives - aptly named 'The World's best Olives on Ice' (nothing like a bit of arrogance, but that is part of Jamie Oliver's persona!) were equally delicious - the green olives were very large and it came with a 'black olive tapenade' and music bread - which to me was a rich dip and crunchy but very thin pieces of bread, almost like a poppa Dom. But the food was so tasty and well-presented that it was worth sitting in the bar for a bit. My friend also got me a very fresh and appetising fruit juice which we both raved about.
Within just twenty minutes a table was ready for us, so I suspect that they over-estimate times to be on the safe side. Nobody seemed to wait long, although we were just after peak times for lunch so I suspect you would have to wait longer at other times. We decided to order a range of the antipasti dishes rather then having a main meal. This was for two reasons really, one they sounded very appealing but they also only had a few vegetarian dishes so for my friend that did limit what she could have. Anyway we ordered the vegetable antipasti plank, polenta chips, and I also had the crispy squid. As well as two more of the delicious fruit juices we had; we explained to the waiter what we had who checked with the barman who said it was simply fresh pineapple juice! We had thought it was something very exotic and were slightly embarrassed to have raved so much about some pineapple juice. I am convinced it was much nicer then any pineapple juice I have had before though!
The food came quickly. The antipasti plank was served on... a plank. Slightly bizarrely (and just a bit gimmicky) two tins of tomatoes were placed on the table. I was a bit bemused, thinking they were going to poor cold tomatoes over my vegetables but no the food came out on a plank and was then balanced on the tins. My friend was convinced she would knock it over but I told her to relax - everyone else was doing it. About 20seconds later it did crash to the floor and bowls were broken. The waiter was lovely though and scooped it all away and said not to worry and that it happened a lot so not quite sure why they seem intent on still doing it but never mind!
Luckily we had the majority of the food on our plates so we could continue enjoying the meal. The antipasti came with sliced and marinated chargrilled vegetables (such as peppers, aubergines, and artichokes), mozzarella and pecorino cheese with a chilli jam, a salad of coleslaw and pickles (more olives and curly green chillies). This was all amazing. The chilli jam was exceptionally good and not too hot, the mozzarella literally melted in the mouth and the vegetables tasted fresh, were cooked to perfection and were not drenched in oil but lightly dressed. The polenta chips were really just fries but were cooked in rosemary salt so had a distinctive flavour and were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside so perfect! The crispy squid came with a spicy roasted red pepper mayonnaise and was probably my favourite. Squid can be a bit variable but this was very appetising, not chewy at all like it can be if not cooked properly. The Mayonnaise was light and subtle and was a perfect accompaniment (also nice with chips dipped in!).
It was a wonderful meal, it makes you realise how bland some food is in restaurants and this was an explosion of different tastes, all of which complimented each other. My only slight criticism is that the portions were quite small, I know we had starters but we added extra dishes to this and we had had appetisers but it id not seem like a lot of food so those with big appetites I would recommend having all three courses. Next time I go (and there will definitely be a next time!) I am going to try one of their mains - such as chicken or steak cooked under a hot brick - again it sounds like a bit of a gimmick but smelt and looked delicious.
I also loved the décor of the restaurant. It was open and light - lots of mirrors on the walls and windows looking over Bath, including the picturesque cathedral. They did not play music but I liked that, it seemed more informal and relaxed. Instead throughout the restaurant you can see various chefs and waiters prepare the food - it is all opened up so you can see the food being cooked freshly in front of you. It had a bustling and exciting atmosphere to it and I have to commend the waiting staff who were wonderful, very attentive and friendly but you didn't feel rushed at any point. There is also a roof terrace where you can sit outside when the British weather allows.
Overall, this was a lovely trendy but relaxed restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff. Definitely recommended if you make a visit to the wonderful Bath.
Summary: Jamie is a talented chef