A former newspaper journo and editor, Monique Mulligan is the author of My Silly Mum, Fergus the Farting Dragon, and is a publisher with Serenity Press. Visit www.moniquemulligan.com
Published October 28th 2013
Restaurant well worth the hype
Jamie's Italian has been open in Perth for about seven months, with the first few months attracting food-lovers in droves. Now that the hype has died down, does it still hit the spot for a foodie looking for nourishing food at affordable prices?
My first attempt to try out Jamie's Italian was aborted after waiting 45 minutes and realising the wait would stretch to at least another hour. To be fair, the restaurant had opened barely a month before and I expected it would be hard to get in, so I decided to come back another day and didn't let it bother me (they did bring out nibblies for the die-hards). My second attempt was surprisingly easy - arrived for Sunday opening time and nabbed a table for two straight away.
My lunch date was my beloved Blue Eyes; he's not the sort who likes big, crowded restaurants, so I was a little nervous about how he'd like Jamie's Italian. We were seated near the window, which he liked (and gave us plenty of chances to check out what the outside diners had ordered), and within a couple of moments a friendly waitress arrived to greet us. Her Welsh accent made her enthusiasm even more infectious; in lilting tones she explained the specials of the day, winning us over on two counts.
She returned a little later with a metal bucket of Italian bread - not just one, but four varieties and compliments of the house; olive oil and balsamic vinegar was poured with flourish to complement the bread. Bread-loving Blue Eyes had to be restrained from eating it all and probably would have polished off another basket if he'd been allowed.
We shared a spring bruschetta - toasted bread topped with shaved zucchini, broad beans, mashed peas, torn bocconcini and snow pea sprouts. Fresh and light, it was surprisingly good, if a smaller serve than we expected.
Having heard many rave about the freshly-made pasta (it's made in industrial pasta machines in full view of customers), we had to try it for ourselves. I opted for the Spaghetti Vongole, a succulent dish of spaghetti with white wine, garlic, chilli, parsley, butter and lemon. Succulent? Divine. I must get this recipe! Blue Eyes went for the special, slow-cooked lamb ragu with pappardelle. Apparently I need to get this recipe too. It was mouth-watering.
We made sure there was room in our "dessert tummies" for this:
Words won't do this justice. I loved every morsel of the creamy, glossy meringue, tart lemon filling and buttery base. The pistachio brittle was the perfect complement - compliments to the bright spark who came up with that. Blue Eyes ordered the ice-cream (the salted caramel was our favourite), but eyed off my pie with green eyes.
Friendly staff, buckets of enthusiasm, delicious food and great prices ... we think the hype was worth it. Jamie's Italian hit the spot and we'll be back.
That looks like good free bread. Usually I'd expect that to be part of a paid for starter. I think the lemon meringue could do with a little less meringue and bit more curd though. Still looks delicious.