I find this Michelin Star restaurant thing a bit pretentious? Obviously they are fabulous accolades to win but as well as good tasty food it seems chefs need to obsess about minute fiddling details. Every cube of carrot is the same size. Plates of the same food must look identical. And they only put a few dribbles of sauce or jus on the dish to complete a pretty picture.
It all gets a bit fussy.
That’s why I find Jamie Oliver so refreshing. He just chucks food on a plate and whilst it looks beautiful it also looks individual. He won’t cut a carrot into identical cubes he’ll rip them into pieces with his hands. You won’t find a dribble of sauce but a great big dollop.
So it was good to go to lunch at Jamie’s Italian in York recently. They have converted an old wine merchants building and created an authentic rustic atmosphere inside. You’ll find cured meats hanging from hooks and the walls adorned with wooden serving platters. The chefs work in full view surrounded by fresh produce.
I started with Posh Garlic Mushrooms on Toast: Charred wholemeal levain rubbed with garlic & olive oil, topped with pan-fried wild mushrooms, chilli & flat-leaf parsley.
This was delicious and packed a hidden punch because they had hidden some quite vicious chilli peppers among the mushrooms.
I followed this with Free Range Chicken: Grilled garlic & rosemary chicken with a tomato, olive, chilli & caper sauce.
With a tasty crispy skin the chicken was moist, succulent and floated on top of a very generous Italian sauce.
My sides were – Flash Cooked Greens: With lemon, garlic & olive oil and Funky Chips: With fresh garlic & parsley. I realised I was close to over-dosing on garlic but didn’t care because it tasted so good.
It was a great lunch and came in at a reasonable £25 per head including drinks.
Here’s the thing though.
Jamie’s Italian is a brand. They use the same menu in all 20 or so of their restaurants. So it’s formulaic. A franchise like KFC but obviously posher and backed by a well-known celebrity chef. For me though it is gloriously free from the fiddling detail associated with other famous faces and it is outstanding for it.
Over to you: Have you eaten in a Jamie’s Italian? Let me know what you thought of the food and the atmosphere – please share your thoughts by leaving a comment. If you enjoyed this review of Jamie’s Italian restaurant in York, please tweet it by clicking here. Tweet