With all the hype about Jamie’s Italian opening in Singapore at Vivo City (as well as in Perth earlier this year), I can’t help but be reminded of the good meal I had at Jamie’s while I was in Sydney, in the middle of last year. Yes, I know – I am always tardy with my posts, and believe me when I say that I have yet to sieve through my photographs I took while I was in Europe in 2009 (almost 4 years ago!) :/ Whenever I do find time to look through the photographs I took however, I am always pleasantly surprised by some photographs and the beautiful memories they bring back. Do you feel the same too? This is perhaps one reason why I feel that taking photographs during a trip, even if I am not in the photo, is so important. They give permanence to the fleeting moments of your journey.
So back to Jamie’s Italian. It’s located at 107 Pitt Street in Sydney CBD, and even though it opened in late 2011, more than half a year later, there still are long snaking queues to eat at Jamie’s. I went during winter, so it was definitely a long and cold wait outside Jamie’s before we got a seat inside. If you are headed there yourself, be sure to head down really early for the dinner service, or go during odd times so that you don’t need to queue.
We were quickly ushered to a table on the second floor, and was promptly given a basket of breads. They were not as toasty and warm as I wanted them to be, but the breads were delicious. You will be given an assortment of their homemade rosemary focaccia, Italian grissini, crispy “music bread” & ciabatta. I didn’t have the music bread on that day though. The extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar was indeed delicious, and because of the hour-long wait, I was ravenous and wolfed down all the free bread in minutes. Although there is a bread bar for you to self-serve, you technically cannot because the waitress will accost you if you attempt to walk to the bread bar to cut up your own breads. They will cut and portion the breads for you if you ask.
In true Italian fashion, we had a primo, or a first course of pasta (or risotto if you like) to be shared between the two of us. I went for the black angel spaghetti. You can either get the smaller starter portion or the main portion at A$14 or 22. This same dish costs S$16/24.50 over here in Singapore. This squid ink pasta had a couple of scallops, and it was an aglio olio style pasta – that is, it is cooked with lots of garlic, anchovies, chili. What I thought was really interesting was the addition of capers, which really upped the ante and flavour of the pasta. Even though I ate this a year ago, I still fondly remember the explosion of tastes in my mouth. The proportions and amounts of garlic, together with heat from the chili and tanginess from the capers was just perfect.
As a starter or side to our main dishes, we had their posh chips with truffle oil and parmesan, which set us back A$6.50. If only I had known that the polenta chips were awesome I would have ordered those! The polenta chips are A$8.50, but in Singapore, I see that they only cost S$7.50! I’m so going to try this when the hype dies down from Jamie’s in Singapore and I can feast on good food and good service 😉
My main was the veal saltimbocca, which was A$27.50. Honestly, I was disappointed at the selection of mains at Jamie’s, because it was an Italian restaurant I was half expecting pizza and better secondi or meat dishes. I have seen the Singapore menu and the saltimbocca is called the veal flash steak, and it’s $32.50. The selection in Singapore is definitely larger though, and I know what I’m going to try – the lamb chops and the rump steak! If you want something special however, please please please try the veal. It’s pounded together with sage and prosciutto, which makes it super thin and tender, and absolutely delicious – I just love the smell of sage in meat. The tomato salsa is OUT OF THIS WORLD. In fact, I was so inspired by the tomato salsa I had at Jamie’s that I promptly went to Eveleigh Markets during the weekend and splurged on a kilo of heirloom tomatoes, which probably set me back almost A$20-30. I can’t remember the exact price but boy are heirloom tomatoes expensive! Check out my beauties below though 😉
Jon had the fish baked in a bag, which was A$28.50. I cannot recall for the life of me what was the fish, but it was served together with clams, mussels, chili, anchovies and fennel. I don’t really enjoy fish dishes in restaurants, but this was pretty good – at least there was no ‘fishy’ smell thanks to the white fish that was used.
Truth to be told, I have not always been a fan of Jamie Oliver. When I first started watching his cooking shows, way back in 2006/7, I was rather put off by the way he presented his cooking. He would go off to his garden, snap off herbs or handle veggies with soil and dump them into his dish without washing them. Yes yes I know it’s tv but still…compared to Nigella which was the other celebrity chef I watched, I definitely preferred Nigella. Nevertheless, Jamie has indeed grown in stature recently, and my regard for him has increased, because I strongly believe in the things he is advocating. You will probably have heard of how he initiated this campaign across schools in Britain to push schoolchildren to eat healthy foods. This caused the government to address the issue, and many school vendors were forced to consider healthier options for schoolchildren. What I find most amazing is his Fifteen venture, in which he hires young adults from a disadvantaged background or former convicts to be trained as chefs or other roles in the restaurant. I also fully believe in his Food Revolution, which is addressed at the children in America. I’ve previously written about this when I blogged about my homemade granola.
So, if you happen to be in Sydney and in the CBD and don’t know what to eat, I would definitely recommend heading down to Jamie’s Italian – just be prepared to wait. If however you’re in Singapore, just head down to the outlet at Vivo City, because although the queues here might be longer (given the propensity and love for queues in Singapore), the food definitely seems cheaper and the selection wider.
107 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Contact: +61 2 8240 9000
Opening hours: Open daily from 11:30 am–11:00 pm
Note: Online reservations accepted (only for 2-20 persons for lunch and 6-20 persons for dinner)