With 200 seats to fill, Jamie’s Italian is a large-scale investment for the international chef. But with the no bookings policy (for groups under six people) queuing is still inevitable.
Happily, good things come to those who wait, with the two-level wood, concrete and glass emporium (designed by peckvonhartel) yielding myriad nooks, crannies and booths if you’re patient enough to put your name down, grab a buzzer and hit a local bar that’s not too far away. And, despite the size, the well designed space, featuring plenty of intimate corners, makes the hubbub friendly rather than overwhelming.
Considering that Jamie the chef is all about knowing your food’s roots, it’s not surprising that the meals here are all about sustainable, seasonal and regional ingredients. Better yet, it also services Oliver’s other cause – getting good food to the people – so the expertly executed rustic Italian fare is also exceptional value.
There’s added theatre thrown in to boot, with pasta machines by the entrance churning out daily batches for use in the restaurant; antipasto served on rustic wooden boards; and prep-areas (antipasto upstairs and kitchen downstairs) on both levels. You could almost swear nonna was in the kitchen.
Let it be noted that the spag bol here is nothing less than extraordinary (think pork and beef combo cooked for several hours), the presentation of the antipasto is nothing short of art and the wine list is markedly Italian.
The Naked Chef might not be in the kitchen, but he’s certainly brought his trademark to town.