Saturday, 27 November 2010

Jamie's Italian, Canary Wharf

Went for an ad hoc familial meal at Jamie's Italian in Canary Wharf last night. I didn't really have any expectations but it's suffice to say that even though it's been open for months I hadn't even contemplated going there.

I was quite surprised when my sister called to say that she'd they'd just walked in and got a table despite it being 6pm on a Friday night. I had heard talk of long queues to sample the delights of this "neighbourhood" restaurant.

We started by sharing a meat antipasti plank. It was literally a wooden plank balanced on two cans covering almost the length of the whole table, topped with various charcuterie and cheese. The cured meats were good as was the pecorino which came on music bread and some sweet chilli sauce. The crunchy root veg salad tasted of nothing despite the advertised "chilli , lemon and mint". However, the mozzarella was the star of the show. Simple beautiful: creamy and full of flavour. Delicious.

Thus far, the food was a touch hit and miss. The plank was also carefully portioned, with three of everything. Not quite the generous offering I expect when I think of antipasti and certainly not worth nearly £7 each! I also didn't like the air of superiority from the unfriendly menu descriptions (how many people know that music bread is a crisp Sardinian flat bread (think Italian poppadom)?) and the supercilious tone of the waiter (especially when he told me that I had ordered game so I should watch out for shot).

Anyway, I had gone down the pasta and secondi route. Rabbit ragu papardelle came topped with a lovely lemon and crunchy herby breadcrumbs which gave great an interesting texture. Also the pasta was very thick curly ribbons which I hadn't seen before. Unfortunately the mascapone sauce was too rich and far too salty for the rabbit so the subtle flavours of the braised meat were lost.

For my main I had grilled pheasant, well, I almost had it. The bird came with Jamie's "special Italian bread sauce". I wish it hadn't. The pungent mixture of garlic and anchovy was frankly disgusting, I simply could not eat it. Given that everything else on the plate was a on top of the sauce there was nothing to do but send it back.

Fortunately the Burger Italiano replacement was very good. Juicy flavoursome beef with plenty of worthy enhancements: "melty fontina cheese, crispy salami, (a little too much) lettuce, tomato salsa, dill pickles, chilli and crispy fried onions". Despite asking for it pink, the burger still came medium and the waiter irritatingly asked if I wanted fries (as if I want a carb side order when I've already has pasta).

My sister and Ma, on the other hand, were very pleased with their prawn linguine and skate special respectively.

We all shared an Amalfi lemon curd for dessert which was rich and suitably tongue puckeringly sour. Although the mascapone and mint chiffonade added little, the English raspberries were the most curious addition for a restaurant that's "seasonal".

Overall I was left disappointed by the inconsistency of the food, the irritating attitude of the waiting staff (I think we were left alone for maybe 30mins once dessert was served, with no opportunity to ask for the bill or coffee) and the style over substance of the place. However, they must be doing something right as by the time we left after 8pm the place was packed and the bar was packed with people waiting for a table. Perhaps, they just had an off night with me. I'd be prepared to go back there but it's not somewhere I'd suggest.

Jamie's Italian (Canary Wharf) on Urbanspoon


  1. By coincidence, I ate in their Kingston branch on Friday lunchtime and had a great experience, our waiter was really friendly, even with us dithering for ages over what to choose! The atmosphere was bubbly yet chilled and all of our food was delicious, in particular our starter of mushroom fritti I could eat double of, it was perfect! I also had the rabbit dish you mentioned, though mine was far better than yours by the sound of it! The pasta was a little unusual but not over salted at all and if anything lacking in sauce, I think your chef must have been a bit liberal with it possibly. Think will avoid the branch you visited though as very hit and miss for you in comparison.

  2. Well, it sounds like you had a great time.

    I'll probably avoid the Canary Wharf branch but after your experience, I'm not so adverse to giving another branch a go.


  3. The waiting staff were awful.


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