It was about a few weeks ago now that we visited Jamie’s Italian. I took the camera so that I could be a weirdo and take photos of what we ate. I am happy to say that I was not the only person there taking photos of my meals. Before I start, I should quickly mention that we paid for our own meal and these are my opinions only.
I went in with fairly low expectations as I had read some other reviews online and I had heard about a lot of people being disappointed by the Melbourne restaurant. Jamie’s Italian is meant to be opening up in Canberra in the next few months, so perhaps we will get to return for another visit in our home town over Christmas.
++ All prices quoted following are plus plus. That means an additional 10% service charge and 7% GST on top of prices quoted. You will see this in sit down restaurants with table service throughout Singapore.
The famous napkins that people steal worldwide. No, I didn’t because I’m a good girl.
To drink, Key chose a jug of non alcoholic ginger beer $18.00++ SGD for us to share and I chose a cocktail called a blueberry and basil smash with lemon infused gin $15.00++ SGD.
I chose the cocktail because I love the mix of herbs with sweetness but I was disappointed as I couldn’t taste the basil at all. It just kind of tasted like a non-descript cocktail to me :(
When I had my first taste of the ginger beer I was even more disappointed. It was soda water based and according to the menu it had grated ginger, muscovado sugar, lemons and mint in it as well, but my first glass just tasted like flat, non sweetened soda water. Not appetising at all. Further down in the jug it did have more of a ginger flavour and was more refreshing but the dominant flavour was still flat soda water. It was also full of lemon pips. Maybe I’m being picky but I don’t think it’s that hard to remove lemon seeds in a restaurant environment.
For starters, we shared the pumpkin and smoked mozzarella nachos with arrabiata sauce $7.50++ SGD.
I’m not going to lie, I chose it for the name but I wasn’t sure what to expect. When it arrived we were surprised to see that it was fried ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and smoked mozzarella. It was a cool concept and it was fun to dip the tiny ravioli into the lovely arrabiata sauce that had delicious slivers of garlic in it. The top had been garnished with lemon zest and those ravioli popped with flavour so I would have liked more fresh lemon zest throughout the dish. I couldn’t taste any smokiness at all and I’m a smoky fan so I would have liked that to be more evident, but otherwise a fun and not too heavy starter.
Key’s main of a beef and veal meatball in a tomato and garlic ragu, served with polenta and black cabbage $28.50++ SGD
The edge bit of meatball that I tasted was nicely flavoured and quite moist but Key said that as he got into the middle it was very dry and underwhelming. He loved the coarse polenta though and the black cabbage was seasoned perfectly with a nice chilli hit. In fact the black cabbage was one of the best parts of our whole meal but overall the dryness of the giant meatball let this dish down.
My baked salmon main served with whipped lemon ricotta, balsamic roasted veg and a green salad $25.00++ SGD
I love salmon so I zoned in on this as soon as I saw the menu. The zesty salad was crunchy and full of lovely fresh mint and there were sweet roasted carrots and beetroot on the plate, as well as slivers of raw yellow and red beetroot which had a lovely earthy flavour.
The whipped ricotta served as a nice sauce to tie everything together but needed a touch more seasoning and lemon zest in my opinion. My salmon was a real let down though. Completely overcooked. When I cook myself salmon I like it medium rare but I’m happy to have it served medium in a restaurant, I’ll even forgive medium well. This was definitely well done though. I will say that it wasn’t dry though and it had a somewhat crispy skin but it just could have been such a great dish if the salmon had of been cooked medium rare with a properly crisped up skin.
We shared this apple slaw $8.00++ SGD which was a nice, crunchy accompaniment to our mains.
It was a big plate of grated radish, beetroot, celery, red cabbage and apple and it included walnuts, mint and tarragon and a creme fraiche dressing. According to the menu it also had candied beetroots in it but I couldn’t pick them out. It looked gorgeous on the plate and I love how everything was served in its separate pile for you to mix yourself – very Jamie. I would have loved more mint in it as it only had a few leaves on top but it was really refreshing. My personal taste wanted more acidity in the very rich dressing maybe from some vinegar or lemon.
The desserts were definitely a stand out. Key chose this warm amaretto brownie that was studded with raspberries $11.50++ SGD.
It was amazing. I would say that it had much more of a fondant texture instead of a cakey brownie but that was not a negative in my opinion. It was packed full of raspberries perhaps both fresh and intense freeze dried berries which are a personal fave of mine. The vanilla ice cream was also fantastic and had a lovely real vanilla hit that you don’t get in run of the mill packaged ice creams. My dish of the day.
Unsurprisingly I chose the lemon and lemoncello meringue pie $11.50++ SGD.
The lemon custard was very tart which I love. It made the back of my tastebuds tingle from the sourness as soon as I had my first bite. The sour was balanced really well with a sweetness though and you can probably see just how fluffy and tall the meringue was. For added texture and decoration, the top was also studded with a pistachio toffee and candied mixed peel which I’d never seen on a meringue but it worked really well. It was one of the best lemon desserts that I have had at a restaurant.
One interesting thing that I noticed was that they had no bathrooms ?! I was going to check out the ladies as I always like to do in a nice restaurant. I asked the waitress where they were and she said they don’t have any but pointed to where I could go out into the mall to find some. Ummm…maybe I’m just being a total expat here but why on earth would they not put toilets in a restaurant as big as this?
One of two bars in the restaurant.
The desserts were spot on but some of the other dishes we tried had massive potential but they either lacked a flavour punch or weren’t cooked as well as they could have been. I really hate to say it, but when components haven’t been seasoned properly, or need small additions such as more lemon zest, it does mean that they can edge on the bland side of things and that meant that my overall experience was not as amazing as I wanted it to be. I am a massive fan of Jamie’s and while the dishes are obviously based on his recipes, I feel like something has got lost along the way and if he was to eat in the restaurant now, I can’t help but feel that he would see plenty of room for improvement.
The portions were great. I am a fairly big eater and I was certainly more than satisfied without feeling like I had eaten a heavy and fatty meal. The service was quite good, potentially some of the best I’ve witnessed in Singapore. The girl that served us certainly seemed to have been trained in more of the serving style that I am used to in Australia. For example, she didn’t wait for us to raise our hands to order or to get her attention as so many places in Singapore do. Instead, the service was more proactive as opposed to reactive. In terms of reservations, you can book online (and via phone I assume) but they only reserve a portion of tables for reservations so you are still able to just chance a walk in. We were there at lunch time on a Saturday and while it’s a big restaurant that was definitely full, they were moving people through pretty well and when we left at about 1:45pm there were some parties snacking and drinking while waiting at the bar but was no one waiting in line outside.
Oooh…you can buy the napkins *want*
Was it as amazing as I wanted it to be? No. Will we go again? Definitely, if only to try the steak and the pasta and to have that brownie all to myself next time.