I had visited Jamie’s Italian in Sydney but somehow, I didn’t fall in love with the food as much as I did this time. Was it because we didn’t go all out with several courses? Perhaps this time I knew what to expect. If you’re expecting fine dining sophistication, you are barking up the wrong tree. Jamie’s cooking and food has never been about that – it is about fresh, simple goodness. His cookbooks ’15 minute meals’ or ’30 minute meals’ give you a hint.
So I wasn’t banging at the door to get a table when Jamie arrived in Perth because I thought, I’ve tried it but really I haven’t. I am so glad we decided to queue up at 5pm for a table. It took us an hour before we got to the counter to put our name in. I am surprised we even waited. We hate waiting…but we had a great time chatting in queue and just being funny with each other. Date nights like this – will soon be history! *cry*
We opted to wait for our table at the bar. Being pregnant, a nice young man got me a high chair to sit at the bar where I had great views of the going ons behind the bar.
Jay got himself a Negroni ($14) which is made with Campari, gin and vermouth – great if you like slightly bitter drinks. I got myself a Ginger mojito ($6.50) – an non alcoholic concoction so delicious I didn’t feel like I was missing out. It is made with ginger beer and mint. Yum!
It was barely half an hour before our buzzer buzzed despite the suggested hour wait. We were seated in a lovely cushioned corner booth.
Moments later, a well spoken Brit poured us our water and presented us with Jamie’s signature bread basket – full of wonderful goodies and far from boring. The bread was already drizzled with pesto and olive oil but more olive oil and balsamic vinegar was provided should you need more.
Then, the waiter plonked 2 of these in front of us.
I picked it up and looked at it quizzically. He said ‘ ah that’s for your entree.’ and hurried off! I felt the top of the can. It was perfectly sealed so it wasn’t a show piece for presentation of a dish. Or so I thought! I left it and waited in anticipation to find out what it would be used for.
Meanwhile, the Stuffed rice balls with porcini and smoked mozarella ($9.50) was really good. I’m not sure what the perfect arancini is but these slightly dry balls of rice were crumbed and fried to a perfect crisp. Cutting it open, a waft of delicious smokiness hit me. Of course, it was the smoked mozzarella that did that. The tomato relish combatted the dryness and also gave it a yummy tangy flavour.
Still no idea what the can of tomatoes are for. I asked a waiter and he said ‘ hang on, thats for your pasta.’. Still puzzled and giggling a little now because there’s definitely a little joke going on here.
We wanted to try different things so we ordered entree sized pastas. I chose the Black Angel Spaghetti ($14/$22) which was squid ink pasta, scallops, garlic, chilli, anchovies, wine & capers. Disgraceful for a food lover but I normally stay well away from capers and sometimes even anchovies. However, in this dish, these flavours weren’t even the slightest bit overpowering. In fact, I didn’t sense much of it even though I think it brought the flavours together. We were pleasantly surprised by the spiciness of the flavourful broth – both of us coughing as we took a sip. The pasta is wonderful though. You can really taste the difference when the pasta is made fresh daily.
Here are some at work. Because of this, I think it is a must to have a noodle at Jamie’s Italian.
Not to say that the Blue swimmer crab risotto ($16/$26.50) wasn’t good. Our amazing waiter highly recommended it because we could not have the ragu (it had beef in it). It was a shame. Unlike most risottos, this wasn’t creamy and mushy. In fact, it was like a teensy weensy slightly bit runnier version with its rice still quite intact. Served with samphire sprinkled on top and a spoonful of breadcrumbs fried with onion and a whole lots of other yummies. So glad for my experience at Sepia; I now know what samphire is like. Don’t expect them to be stingy with the crab; they weren’t. The entire dish was really lemony, spicy and fresh. Beautiful! Jamie really likes his chilli – and I am so happy about that.
Okay so we were expecting the cans of tomatoes to be taken away since we didn’t use them for the entree or pasta. They didn’t take it away.
Then came the plank….and then we realised what those cans were for. Ingenuity I must admit – they were used to prop the plank on a higher level for our small table! I could have opened the can and looked inside!! How did they risk that? Hahaha
The Fish Plank ($12.50 per person) was WONDERFUL. We started with the mini fritto misto (right) which were crumbed mackerel and ling to be dripped in a yuzu mayonnaise (fusion eh, Jamie?) sprinkled with paprika. Yuzu is a citrus fruit that has a mix of lemon and orange flavours. So fresh too. I liked the mackerel but the ling – *gasp* – was juicy and flaked away in moist, gorgeous pieces. Beautiful with the slightly mayonnaise. We also had the boiled mussels and New Zealand surf clams (only available at Jamie’s Italian in Perth). After cleansing our palate with the tangy carrot and beet slaw, we went for the thinly sliced pecorino on crisp thin bread with a dollop of Chilli jam. The pickles of olive and giant caper went wonderfully with the bread smeared with a thick layer of cream cheese.
For some reason, we were happy enough to go without dessert but for some reason we felt compelled to stay and try their desserts. So glad I did because the waiter recommended this fabulous Tutti Frutti Lemon Meringue Pie ($8.50) which had a beautiful crust topped with a limoncello (Italian lemon flavored apperitif) filling and then on top of that was the fluffiest, marshmallowy meringue you will find. It will have bits of pistachio brittle – which really tastes like caramelised pistachio. It was wholesomely wonderful. A friend told me this dessert was sold out the last time he was there.
Jay picked the Chocolate & Vin Santo Pot ($9) which was an elegant little dessert for dark chocolate lovers. Served like a cappucino, the mousse is beautiful with the creamy zabaglione ice cream. It even has a yummy biscotti on the side!
In all, I really enjoyed myself. The menu is a lot better than the Sydney branch (or perhaps we chose better), the service is amazing (full of well spoken, hardworking Brits who bother to explain!) and the atmosphere was a lot better than the one in Sydney too. The prices also made it difficult to hate this place.