Jamie’s Italian

I’m generally thinking that this blog has turned into a restaurant review blog, rather than the intended healthy living blog! On the upside, I lost 2lbs last week…on the downside, having The Best Friend to stay has meant that I have eaten out more than I would hope to do so!

We spent yesterday in St Albans, enjoying glorious weather (which led to me getting sunburnt…) and generally having fun relaxing away from the Tourists of London. Since we bought off-peak tickets, we ended up having to eat in St Albans, due to the fact that at 5.30pm everything was shutting but we couldn’t get the train back to London until past 7.00pm.

So, off to Jamie’s Italian we went. It was super early for us (and apparently everyone else since the restaurant was all but empty when we arrived) but that just meant we got seated at a nice table outdoors, quickly and ready to enjoy a rare summer’s evening.

After seeing them on the menu, I just had to order the Polenta Chips just to see what they were like. Whatever I might’ve imagined, they weren’t it…

Bland, bland, bland

So, they weren’t the most exciting things – I think I was expecting thin, fry-like things. Instead we got deep-fried mush. They tasted of nothing but the fat they were cooked in (and that meant they tasted an awful lot like some of the generic fried stuff that got served in the University Halls Dining Hall I worked in during my final year…) and were super crispy and hard to bite through on the outside and mushy on the inside. Lovely.

On to the main course, I ordered Tuna with Fusilli in a tomatoey sauce. It was relatively inoffensive. Bland but with an unpleasant undertone of generic fish-flavour throughout, I didn’t finish it. In fact, I barely ate half of it. As I told The Best Friend, why would I waste calories on bland, tasteless food…?

Your eyes do not deceive you…that is a tablespoon with breadcrumbs you see!

It was just very unimpressive. I personally decided that breadcrumbs and pasta don’t go together and I REALLY don’t like the combination of textures…I wonder if it has more to do with not liking fussy foods than there being a problem with the restaurant!

That being said, The Best Friend ordered her usual dish of Penne Arrabiata and asked for some dried chilli flakes to put on it. They instead brought her a ramekin of chopped chillies which she proceeded to spread liberally all over her pasta to ‘give it some taste’…it’s probably not just me then!

So, I decided to rail against the terrible service that this bland food was coupled with and actually order a dessert. I got the Almond Tart with whipped cream and ‘crushed strawberries’.

So, this was decidedly the best part of the meal (which is sad because even this was a bit bland!) and in their favour, the cream actually was freshly whipped rather than out of a can – which is what most restaurants seem to use these days. On the downside, I would’ve preferred the strawberries whole and not smushed into the cream – not only did it seem a strange thing to pair with an almond tart with some kind of tasteless blackcurrant jam, it also seemed a waste of perfectly good strawberries!

Ultimately, I really can’t imagine ever going back to a Jamie’s Italian, since the food was bland and tasteless and the service lacking; we spent a long time waiting for our bill, after someone (I think the manager) had failed to bring out the promised dessert menus and we had to ask another member of staff for them. Also, the staff didn’t seem to be able to use their super-duper little PDA-style thingamabobs to write down orders. I assume this was supposed to speed things up, but in fact it made things a whole lot slower than a pen and pad of paper would have been!

This week is going to be a bad one as far as eating is concerned – I have a meal out at a Moroccan restaurant tonight for a double leaving ‘do at work and on Thursday, we’re supposed to be having a ‘Ladies’ Night’ out (including a meal) with work. Usually I might balk at twice in one week with work, but this is the first ‘Ladies’ Night’ since I’ve worked there…and I’ve been there very nearly 2 years now!!!


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