Let’s face it most things revolve around food, well it certainly does for me, and I love going out to eat. I do find that there isn’t much variety when it comes to restaurants and wherever you go there are the same cluster of eateries. I am very much up for trying new places and was lucky enough to be invited by Jamie’s Italian to give their menu at their Guildford branch a try.
I’ve never adventured to a Jamie’s Italian before, mostly because I have heard mixed reviews but also it’s not one of those restaurants I immediately think about when pondering where to eat out, because Italian for me isn’t usually a first pick.
The Guildford branch is located near the main shopping centre and sits in a circular building that was once a bank. With its simple, minimalist decor we were greeted with a smile and shown to our table. Thankfully we had a booth as the bare metal chairs looked a little uncomfortable.
With my rumbling tummy that was ready to devour everything I perused their menu trying to decide what the heck to eat. Along with their Standard, Kiddie and Evening menu there’s currently a Super Lunch menu that is available Mon-Fri from 12-6pm. The Super Lunch menu offers two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £13.95 and is a refined version with a dish to cover each area, albeit for me it was missing a pizza dish.
Ultimate Garlic Bread £3.95 and Messina Beer 4.7% £4.15
For 5.30pm on a Wednesday I was pretty surprised at how busy it was and it was great to see this did not affect the service. Sometimes it can feel like restaurants are competing for a Guinness World Record on how quickly they can get you in, force-feed you and then ushering you out the door. Here it was relaxed, staff were attentive but not overly so, and each course was nicely timed from it predecessor.
So let’s get onto that all important food. As a table we had a mix of the Super Lunch and Main Menu to get a feel for the food on offer.
35 day aged 8ox sirloin steak £22.95. Dry aged & chargrilled to your liking, served with herby garlic butter, freshly grated horseradish, red gem & funky chips aka chips with garlic and parsley.
The main theme of this steak dish was garlic and boy did it honk. If you know me garlic is not my thing at all and frankly I am taking the word of my dining compadre here. The sirloin steak was tender, cooked to the perfect medium, and melted in the mouth. The chips lacked the crisp outer shell, which is often the case with chunky chips but at least they had a fluffy inner. The salad was an odd choice, but worked surprisingly well with the dish and helped cut through some of the garlic!
I myself went for something completely Italian – pasta. Show me the carbs!
‘Nduja Rigatoni. Freshly made pasta tossed through a spicy tomato & Cobble Lane ‘nduja sauce with sprouting broccoli & cherry tomatoes, finished with aged Parmesan.
Can we just take a second to talk about the bowl it was presented in, isn’t it gorgeous, I really want it! Fresh pasta done well is bellisimo and I couldn’t fault the rigatoni here. The nduja sauce was delicious, slightly smoky with a kick of spice and was the perfect partner to the al-dente pasta. However this dish was not without faults. There was a distinct need for some black pepper, the sprouting broccoli didn’t exist and was missing in action, the cherry tomatoes was actually a single cherry tomato cut in half, and there wasn’t enough sauce which meant the dish was a bit dry after a while.
Guess what comes next…… DESSERT! Buckle up for some food porn.
Gelato & Sorbet £4.95. Joe & Seph’s Salted Caramel Popcorn, Pip & Nut Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Caramel & Nut, smashed meringue and butterscotch sauce.
How refreshing to see a restaurant that offers not only more than the typical chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, but actually gives you the choice of toppings too. Of the three scoops of smooth creamy gelato the chocolate, caramel and nut was by far the most flavoursome. The Joe & Seph’s salted caramel popcorn was caramelly but lacked salt and had no element of popcorn as the name suggested. Pip & Nut peanut butter, how could I not have this, was too lacking in the flavour department and was begging for so much more oomph. I cannot fault the quality here but the delivery of flavour is certainly an area that needs to be improved.
Epic Chocolate Brownie. Rich chocolate sauce, salted caramel popcorn gelato & caramelised popcorn
Every good menu has a gooey chocolate brownie and boy was this was a gooey number. Available on both menus this is certainly one to choose if you are a chocolate lover. Rich, buttery, indulgent, gooey, fudgy, this had all the elements of an epic chocolate brownie. Although incredibly sweet the slight bitterness from the chocolate helped to cut through this calorific pud. I loved the addition of popcorn to give it another level of texture and Joe & Seph’s really do bloody good popcorn. I did wish for this to be slightly warmer but that really is only a minor pointer to what was a scrumptious dessert.
I have to hold my hands up and say what a good experience we had at Jamie’s Italian in Guildford. The visit was not without faults and there is room for improvement, however on the whole it was a great evening out.
The food was fresh, cooked well, and was of good quality, and the menus have variety to hopefully tantalise those who are selective or aren’t up for a stereotypical Italian dish. Portions were reasonably sized and the prices are pricey side averaging around £14 for a main meal, however if you opt for the set menu it works out as incredibly good value. My opinion has definitely changed and I am looking forward to adventuring back here in the future.
Have you been to a Jamie’s Italian? What are your thoughts and experiences? I’d love to know.
Nibbles ‘n’ Scribbles x
*A huge thank you to Jamie’s Italian for the invitation. All opinions are my own.