I'm an Adelaide comms professional and I love to share my dining experiences. Although I'm a vego my husband isn't so my reviews often include his meaty meals.
Published October 23rd 2014
Does Jamie's Italian live up to the hype?
Some of Adelaide's best restaurants are Italian, from the sophisticated stalwart Chianti Classico to the authentic, regionally focussed Andre's Cucina (to name just two of many). So Jamie's Italian has some fierce competition... and unfortunately in our case it didn't live up to its hype or the quality of its peers.
There was a small line up to get in when the doors opened at 11.30am the Wednesday we ventured there, however, like us, I'm sure most people are going because it's the shiny new toy with a famous namesake, and you don't know until you try. I can't imagine many people who know genuine and quality Italian cooking becoming regulars here though. The restaurant will do well for now, while it rides the wave of publicity and the build up it received, but in the long term it will need to make some improvements to go the distance.
Planks and plates are designed to be shared and there's a fairly extensive selection of house-made pastas, risottos, mains and sides. They all sound appetising but none have an authenticity about them when delivered to your table. The food is not bad, it's just average, nothing punchy or exciting about the flavours. Prices are quite reasonable too but you wouldn't want to pay big bucks for this food.
Service is average also. Waiters lean across the table to pass someone on the opposite side their drink, clear plates while others are still eating and, despite the incomprehensible number of floor staff, you often need to raise your hand to order extra drinks etc. The staff are certainly not rude or unpleasant, they're friendly, just not polished.
We ordered a selection of dishes to share for entree. These included crispy arancini, which were as good as at any cafe; fried three-cheese gnocchi, tasty and complemented well by the arrabbiata dip; baked mushrooms, which were bland and in need of a kick of acid or a sauce; and a bruschetta special that was the highlight of our starters, served on toasted sourdough with a soft cheese and blistered heirloom tomatoes that were like little flavour bombs.
For mains we ordered spaghetti alla norma, sausage pappardelle, honeycomb cannelloni three-ways and baked king salmon. The pastas are all made on-site daily and were cooked al dente as they should be, and the salmon was well cooked too. The general consensus though was average but bland. No depth of flavour, no wow factor - and when you're a fan of Jamie Oliver's you do expect those things because of the enthusiasm he delivers on his shows, the way he drools over his food, the way he describes the tastes and textures he's created.
There are a few other notables but they've been covered in reviews before, eg the grandeur of the fitout; the converted old bank vaults downstairs which house surprisingly impressive toilets and washroom; the absence of South Australian wines on the menu (apparently this is to be rectified); and the well valued $9.50 kids menu (although our little friend didn't receive her "shake me salad" which we had to ask for).
Perhaps this review is a little harsh, and I'm sure there are people to whom this restaurant appeals, but with the range of choice in Adelaide, I personally think I could spend my dollars better elsewhere.
It was all very Jamie O until my seafood stew arrived. Flavours were lovely but the serve was less than generous considering the $28 price tag. Left the restaurant feeling sadly unsatisfied, not to mention a tad hungry....
Wow! I can't believe these reviews. I have to totally disagree. My wife, myself and two adult children had lunch there during the first week and loved it. We are highly experienced Italophiles, having lived for long periods of time in Italy and eaten at most of Adelaide's Italian restaurants. We thought the food was excellent and the service well above the average for Adelaide. The staff were happy and friendly and loved working there. The venue is wonderful. I wonder if the writers are used to the over saturated Australian version of Italian food. Certainly that is what you get at cafes. In Italy it is not like that. Some Australians for example would find Italian pizzas bland, because they don't swamp them with cheese and tomato; instead it is all about subtle flavours on different parts of the pizza. No single flavour dominates another. Subtlety, variety and balance is what genuine Italian food is all about and we think Jamie's did it very well.
You are not wrong, totally agree with you! I wouldn't be making an effort to go back there, with the long wait and booking in advance, is not worth it.
Been there 3 times and overall disappointing with their food & service. Had their Spencer Gulf King Prawns pasta and the dish arrived with chopped up minced prawns! Who would know if they were King prawns? Felt cheated.
I look forward to going Parlamento's for authentic italian cuisine again & again, period.
Agreed and the woolworths Jaimie collection of food is also BLAND i love his show and expected so so much more! Real italian food its flavourful, fresh and made with love not slap dash :-( Maybe he needs to come eat at his own resturant undercover!