Back in March (which seems like a lifetime ago now!), the kind marketing team of Jamie’s Italian invited me to review their Portsmouth branch. Due to unforeseen circumstances (moving back home to Worthing), I asked them if I could instead review the Jamie’s Italian Brighton branch, which they ever so kindly obliged!
So, last Saturday, me and my Mum went for a mooch around my favourite city for a few hours, before resting our feet and preparing for an Italian feast.
We were a little bit early for our booking, so we decided to sample a mocktail each first – I went for the very fruity Berry Blast, whilst my Mum went for the super refreshing Ginger Mojito. We were both pretty impressed with the taste of these, as I sometimes find mocktails to just be really syrupy and too sweet to make up for the lack of alcohol!
Our first impressions upon walking into Jamie’s Bar (the front part of the restaurant) were of intrigue. The decor wasn’t really what we were expecting – and sat just outside of shot of the photo above were some mechanical contraptions which to this day I am unsure as to what they were, or what they did. If anyone who has been to this restaurant could enlighten me, that’d be great!
After our drinks, we were led to our table (number 1!), a large booth which looked significantly more comfortable than the array of red metal chairs that surrounded most of the tables. I was instantly struck by the slightly strange decor surrounding us. It was a weird combination of industrial and wtf. I didn’t necessarily dislike it, it just felt a bit confused.
The atmosphere and general ‘vibe’ of the restaurant felt a bit confused too. At 5pm on a Saturday, the restaurant was mostly made up of young families. Yet the music playing over the speakers was that song about “your booty don’t need explaining”. The music wasn’t necessarily intrusive at all, it was just a bit odd considering. I feel like someone 30 years my senior complaining about the music choice, but I couldn’t help but notice it!
Anyway, let’s get to the most important bit shall we? The grub!
For starters, we ordered the Artisan Bread Basket, because why the hell not. Beautiful presented, there was a combination of breadsticks, sourdough bread and focaccia. The serving was probably better for more than two people, but we did fight our way through most of it!
The balsamic oil was a little too strong for us, so you couldn’t really taste any of the olive oil which was a shame. The stand out bread was the sourdough by far.
Next up, our mains. I ordered the Rigatoni Pomodoro, whilst Mum went for the Italian Steak and Frites. Had we not stuffed our faces with bread to start, the portion sizes would have been bang on.
My pasta was lovely and rich, and the crumb added a delicious texture to the soft pasta. The mozzarella on top was tasty too. I think I managed about half my dish, so was feeling pretty foolish for indulging in too much of the starter!
Mum’s only grumble about her meal was that the chips had quite a lot of chilli on them. Our friendly waiter Adam informed us that Jamie liked to use a lot of chilli in a few of his dishes – this little touch to introduce Jamie’s involvement in the menu was a nice one, we’d just recommend to him that too much chilli can ruin the palette!
So, despite being full to “I think I need a nap” point, we couldn’t leave without sampling a dessert. The review just wouldn’t be complete, would it?! We decided to share the Epic Brownie, a fudgy slab of chocolatey dreams with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and caramelised popcorn.
The brownie was slightly warm, so had a nice gooey centre, with a slightly crisp top (just how I like it!). The ice cream was also really tasty and the chocolate sauce tied it together perfectly. I didn’t sample any of the popcorn personally, but it did look pretty on the plate when it was served!
Overall, I did enjoy the food at Jamie’s Italian, but I don’t think it’s a “special occasion” type restaurant – it’s more of a friends get-together type place where you go for a catchup, have a laugh and tuck in to some grub. It’s good value for its portion sizes, and most likely at the more accessible end of spending for a restaurant in Brighton’s city centre.
Disclaimer: I was invited to review the restaurant, with bill costs covered by the marketing team. All views are my own.