24-26 George Street,
Oxford, OX1 2AE
01865 83 83 83
Monday to Friday 12-11pm
We ventured out of London for this meal. This was a birthday treat for our friend C who was doing his Masters degree in Oxford, and since we wanted to try the food from this celebrity chef, we decided to have lunch at Jamie’s Italian.
We were early, despite our train being slightly delayed, and by the time the doors opened there was a substantial queue outside. This restaurant definitely enjoys the benefits of having a celebrity owner. What seemed really nice though was that despite being owned by such a well-known chef, Jamie’s Italian is extremely casual and relaxed. The servers were very friendly and we thoroughly enjoyed the happy atmosphere in the restaurant.
The philosophy of Jamie’s Italian, according to its website, is “good food for everyone, no matter what”. The menu simple and short and the prices were extremely reasonable. We took full advantage of the option of having smaller sized portions and ordered 4 different pasta dishes to share, and some seafood.
Our starter of crispy squid with really garlicky aoli was not very crispy unfortunately, though the dip it came in was indeed really garlicky as advertised. The amount of squid was disappointing, though we all liked the fried leaf that it came with.
Our Fish in a bag came next. This wasn’t that good as well – the portion was extremely small and it wasn’t very tasty. A good dash of salt would have elevated the dish for sure.
Our pastas came next. K absolutely loves carbonara, and after his excellent experience in Rome with carbonara he has never had another plate of carbonara since. Today he decided to give Jamie’s carbonara a shot. This however completely missed the mark. It was more of noodle soup than a carbonara, and he was quite disappointed by it. However, having said that, it did mention on the menu that this was “Bucanti Carbonara”, so perhaps he just wasn’t used to the style of this particular carbonara.
The other pasta dishes were much better though. The prawn linguine wasn’t bad, though it could have been much tastier.
The 2 other pasta dishes however, were excellent. The Spaghetti Bolognese and the Sausage Pappardelle were fantastic. The pasta, and this was the case too for the earlier 2 pasta dishes as well, was obviously freshly made, and cooked to a perfect al dente. The tomato sauce in those 2 dishes was very simple but very good, and all the previous issues we had with the earlier dishes were forgiven. Fresh pasta is something that completely elevates a dish, and we thoroughly enjoyed this detail that Jamie Oliver has put into his restaurant. In fact, the pasta making process is demonstrated in the side window for everyone passing by to see.
We ordered a nice Tuscan and Hazelnut Chocolate Cake for C, and this ended our meal beautifully.