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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My experience at Jamie's Italian, Sydney


We drove to Rockdale and took the train into Townhall. I had no idea where we were going until we crossed the street and I saw the line of people out the door waiting to get a table at Jamie's.

Yay! My partner, Jon, surprised me for our TWO YEAR Anniversary to lunch at Jamie's Italian in the city. 

Jaime's Italian

Jamie Oliver's Italian Restaurant on Pitt Street in Sydney, NSW Australia

The wait was about 15 minutes. The hostess took our name and phone number. We decided to sit at the bar so we received a pager.

We were seated fairly quick. As soon as we sat down, literally, our server came up to us and turned our water glasses up. He then asked us what we would like to order. Having never been there before we said we were not ready. He did not greet us with a hello or tell us his name.

I had a chance to look at the entree's before he came back and asked for our order again. I asked for water and a complementary serve of bread. 

He returned immediately. He asked if we would like balsamic with our olive oil and acted put out when I replied "Yes". 

I had a chance to read three pasta descriptions before he was back again. I am not a slow reader, okay? 

We were deciding between three pasta dishes: 
Finley shaved wild black truffles tossed with butter, Parmesan & netmeg. A real luxury
Curly penne tossed in sweet tomato sauce spiced with chilli, garlic & Parmesan with herby breadcrumbs
Delicate parcels stuffed with creamed ricotta, lemon, mint & Parmesan. Pure heaven

And a couple of mains:
Juicy red wine & fennel sausages served with a warm, minty lentil salad & salsa rossa piccante
Wagga Wagga beef with fontina cheese, salami, soft lettuce, tomato salsa, dill pickles, chilli & fried onions

I also was thinking about ordering a side salad with my half portion of pasta:
With honey-roasted walnuts & peppery watercress

We both really wanted the Ravioli or the Turbo Penne. I asked Jon to order the Ravioli so I could try it. The description said "Pure heaven". I ordered the Truffle Tagliatelle.  Our server asked if we wanted anything else and literally ran off before I had a chance to ask any questions. 
He did not ask our portion size so I assumed the first price was the lunch price and that is why he did not ask. I wanted to order a salad but felt really awkward when I was ordering so I thought I might order a dessert if I was still hungry.

Because I am such a fatty I forgot to take a picture of our food! I always do that. I get too excited and eat straight away. Our portions were really small. As I looked around the room I came to the conclusion that we had received half portions. 

Poor Jon had such a small bowl of ravioli, it looked like he only had about five. I had a small taste and OMG it was DELICIOUS! The pasta was so very thin and I loved the tang of the lemon. The filling of the buffalo ricotta was very small, which was nice and light but not too satisfying for my partner. When asked how his experience was he said "He wouldn't rate it" which is the worst comment. 

My pasta was yummy too. The portion was small as well and I was certain that it was the lunch/half portion. The taste of the sauce was very buttery and I couldn't taste the depth of the truffle as I had hoped... but still very enjoyable. 

I was satisfied but Jon was still a little hungry. I decided to order dessert because I love Jamie's desserts. I nearly ordered the Tiramisu because I remember watching him make it with a friend on "Jamie does Italy". But I opted for:
Chocolate, raspberry & amaretto brownie with vanilla ice cream

I didn't taste any raspberry or amaretto but I still loved it. Jon thought it was too rich.

On there is a section for leaving a comment about the experience at the restaurant. The following is what I sent. I tried to be nice about it but I am still really sad.

"Because I have been talking to many people about my unpleasant experience I feel it is only fair that I share it with the restaurant. 
My partner surprised me for lunch at Jamie's Italian yesterday for our two-year anniversary.
Being a huge Jamie Oliver fan this was a very sweet gesture. We were seated promptly within about 15 minutes.
As soon as we sat down at one of the two seat tables along the wall we were greeted and asked if we were ready to order. I like being "greeted" as soon as I sit down but this felt like harassment. Because we were dressed in non-business attire I thought that was a bit pushy but decided to think nothing further of it because I do realize it is a popular place for a quick business lunch. Our male server did not have any pleasantries or even tell us his name. When he returned I had only read three menu items. I asked for water and bread and he brought those very quickly and again, in a sort of pressure type of way asked for our order.
I could hear the lady server next to us being so nice and friendly asking her customers if they would like to hear the special of the day. I was so disappointed because we were never asked that. When he returned again he just stood there with his tablet out, waiting.
When we ordered we assumed the first price was lunch and second was dinner (our mistake). We were not asked if we wanted half serves or full. But he had quickly taken our order and we had questions but our server seriously ran away before we were finished.
The food was very yummy. I had the truffle and my partner have the buffalo ricotta ravioli. He doesn't appreciate the yumminess of the lemon and thing pasta so he doesn't rate it. He was also very upset because he had different expectations but this is not our complaint.
Now this is our fault, when we received our meals we felt they were a half portion. Having never been to Jamie's before, I am used to large portions of Italian so our meals looked like a half. So when we received our bill we were gutted at how small the portions were and what we were charged.
We just feel robbed. I am such a huge Jamie Oliver fan and this has left me feeling very sad.
Our server seemed like he hated being there and our experience was tainted due to his negativity".


  1. That sounds like you guys had a great time. Hubby and I like his food a lot. I hope we find in Brisbane his restaurant as well!

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. I think that horrible waiter should be fired and you guys should be given a credit to come back for a free meal.

    Love you! Mom

  3. I am sorry about the quality of service you've experienced at Jamie Oliver's. A waiter at an Italian restaurant, and a prestigious one at that, should have a friendlier tone of voice, always smiling, and most importantly, he/she should be at ease at all times. It was wrong of the waiter to not try to offer you the special recipes of the day, Sheri. Basically, the special recipe of the day should be mentioned as soon as the customer sits down. The lady server, however, did a good job on reminding you about the special recipe of the day - she's the restaurant's angel. Anyway, at least you liked the Truffle Tagliatelle.

  4. I should agree with Hope. The server should be properly briefed before the restaurant opens, or maybe the server was feeling some kind of pressure because there are lots of customers entering the restaurant. Well, it's a good thing that you liked every dish that you ordered, that's what we should expect from a famous and skilled chef in Jamie Oliver. At least, the flavors of the food didn't let you down. :)


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