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An Evening at Jamie's Italian

Written by Helen Hackwell on Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

Jamie's Italian

Earlier in the year I was invited to spend an evening at Jamie’s Italian in Reading - never one to turn down a free feed chance to ‘expand my culinary horizons’ I happily accepted and started planning the evening. Since I had I received the initial invitation email while spending the afternoon with two of my Mum friends; discussing our mutual returns to work, nurseries, pushchairs and 1st birthdays, it seemed only natural to ask them to join me. My friend Caroline came along in her capacity as an ‘official foodie’ courtesy of her day job, while Anna joined us as “just a minion with an opinion”. (Jones 2015)

We booked a table at 8:30pm (allowing for bedtime routines and husband’s schedules) and in our enthusiasm at being allowed out on a school night we actually arrived early, meaning we had to order a pre-appetiser drink at the bar, the shame.

Anna and I chose the elderflower spritz; elderflower liquor with Prosecco and soda while Caroline, our designated driver for the evening, had a ginger and mango mojito mocktail.

Primitivo Puglia ‘Passione’ Torrevento Wine

The restaurant was pretty packed, “apparently Thursday really is the new Friday”, (Jones 2015) but after about fifteen minutes we were taken to our table. After choosing two dishes that turned out to be the only two that were unavailable, we settled on our three main courses preceded by a selection of starters - aside from saving me from being a Billy no mates, the real beauty of inviting more than one guest is the ability to order a wide selection of dishes without looking quite so greedy.

Artisan Breads

We started with a selection of artisan breads accompanied with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade, all washed down with a bottle of Primitivo Puglia ‘Passione’ Torrevento, which I drank enough of to enjoy, but not too much to forget!

Crispy Squid

Our starters arrived in a flurry; we ordered the pork scratchings, Italian nachos and a portion of the crispy squid - the diet starts tomorrow at some undisclosed time in the future.

Italian Nachos

The Italian nachos consisted of crispy fried ravioli pieces stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan and quickly proved to be the favourite, but beware of the spicy Sicilian sauce that accompanies them as it’s not for the faint hearted! The pork scratchings were delightfully crunchy and not in the least bit greasy and the squid was equally tasty too.

Polenta Chips

We managed to restrain ourselves from over-indulging on our first courses, so we were ready and waiting when our mains arrived. Caroline ordered the house special taglierini pasta, which came cooked in a white wine and courgette sauce with a hint of chilli and garlic and finished with Colwick cheese. Anna chose the alternative house special - a whole South coast plaice, which was simply oven roasted and served with lemon, caper and butter. I opted for the ‘ultimate burger’ and was not disappointed and we shared a portion of the polenta fries (completely awesome) and funky chips!

Oven Roasted South Coast Plaice

The fish was cooked well and was light and fluffy, but there were a lot of bones, so if you’re not keen on eating carefully around them, then you might want to give this dish a miss.

White Wine and Courgette Taglierini Pasta

Caroline rated the taglierini pasta as delicious, with lots of different components and textures combining together to give it a rich and buttery taste. “Altogether it was the good all-rounder, the one you’d marry as it had a bit of everything”. (Jones 2015)

The 'Ultimate Burger'

The burger easily tasted as good as it looked, it was very juicy and most certainly had the wow factor! “Like the hot guy walking into the bar, everyone turned to look!” (Jones 2015)

The Perfect Pour

Tempted as we were to get desserts, we had no room left after devouring our way through several dishes, so we opted for tea and coffee instead and reflected on our evening. All the food we’d ordered was well presented, flavoursome and reasonably priced. It was enjoyable to visit an Italian restaurant where the focus was not so heavily on pasta and pizza dishes and where you experience a twist on traditional dishes alongside modern alternatives.

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