Jamie’s recipe for success

jamiesitalianUnless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand these last few months, you could not have failed to notice that Jamie Oliver was bringing his take on Italian dining to town.

With his face emblazoned on the front of local papers and the brightly coloured hoardings covering the building work (so successfully that you could only manage a peek as you walked past) it has seemed like an age since Jamie’s Italian was first announced. But now, they are here – and Greenwichmums got the chance to go behind the scenes and sample the full dining experience.

For anyone whose used to Bar Du Musee, the previous incumbent of this space, the first thing that’ll strike you is how much of a good job they’ve done on the interior. The dark, dour, insides of BDM have been replaced with a lighter, more modern look & feel; with 4 distinct area’s including – a very well stocked deli, a relaxed area with comfy chairs and sharing table, an impressive bar leading into the restaurant itself out back which is very light and airy thanks to it’s glass ceiling. Jamie’s kept the outside seating area too but has resisted the temptation to extend it too far back – a move which the Manager says was designed to stop them having too many people to cater for.


Being a party of 4 (we took friends) we were sat in a side booth which gave us a grand view of both kitchen area’s and the whole dining floor, which itself is split into 3 areas. But, if you happen to find yourself sat anywhere else, it wouldn’t matter – as it’s so well laid out there shouldn’t be a bad seat in the house. There’s plenty of space too, so moving highchairs or prams about shouldn’t be a problem and the babychange (near the Deli) was clearly marked and very clean. The ambient music was a tad loud, but that’s easily fixed I am sure – and we understand Jamie’s is supposed to be a bustling environment.

The next thing to grab you is how friendly the staff are without being over the top. They genuinely seemed pleased to see you and there was so many of them – all recruited locally via interviews held at the Trafalgar Tavern. We had someone to seat us, a waitress to give us the menu’s and take the drinks order, our main waitress (who looked after us very well), a wine waiter and a waiter to specifically introduce the starter – we don’t know if that last one was intentional, but we thought a nice touch all the same. The staff are enthusiastically knowledgeable about the food and drink on offer, which helps with your selection – and like us you’ll probably realise the service is above and beyond the price point of the food.

This was all our first trip to any Jamie’s Italian and with some trepidation we looked through the menu. Rather helpfully, for you and me, our guests offered to plum for differing dishes so we could sample as wide a range of food as possible. This is what we had to start; 2 ‘planks’ with a selection of meats on one and fish on the other, plus an Italian bread selection with balsamic vinegar & olive oil. At the £6 to £7 per person mark, we were expecting the portions to come up rather small and it was the first surprise when that didn’t happen. Plank by name, plank by nature – these things must be 2.5 feet long each and are chock full of tasters – all helpfully introduced by a(nother) helpful, enthusiastic waiter. The amount of food you get for your money here was to become a central theme. Another nice surprise was the quality – it’s really good, the top notch ingredients shine through with great attention to detail like the chilli jam on cheese and mammoth olives – and yes when they say mammoth, they MEAN mammoth. Think gobstoppers. So, 4 very happy people and next the mains….


On our table we had; a Steak Salad, a Baked Shetland Salmon, Parpedelle Pasta with Sausage, a few side dishes (incl. ‘posh’ chips and a new take on coleslaw) and one of the specials of the day – slow roasted Porchetta. First impressions were (a) the quality of the fresh ingredients, particularly the meat and fish (b) the large amount of food served up and (c) the balanced menu with carefully chosen accompaniments. It took a while to polish that lot off and we weren’t hurried although kitchen was closing soon – but the amount of food does give you something to consider – don’t over order. These plates come up large, it’s certainly hearty food with main courses around the £12 mark and side dishes £4. We skipped the pasta course and were just about ready for dessert but couldn’t have managed much more.

Did I mention dessert? Yes – purely for you – in order to provide a thorough review we subjected ourselves (!) to one each, including their Tiramisu – made fresh onsite everyday, a sharp – stringent – Limoncello Jelly (usually served with ice cream though chef missed that off), an ‘Epic Brownie’ complete with popcorn and a Tutti-frutti meringue tart. Thoughts here were again the freshness of ingredients, the care taken over presentation and the realisation of the number of calories being consumed but also the surprising – thankful – way we didn’t feel like we’d over done it. Yes, these are full bore Nigella Lawson type dishes, a fantastic way to finish a meal and we’d consumed a fair amount of food/drink, but no, we didn’t feel like we needed to be carried out of the place.


Now on this trip we were child free but naturally checked out the kids menu. Jamies Italian serves up a 2 course menu with unlimited organic cordial drinks for a set £5.95, displayed – very well we think – in a toy viewmaster. And there’s also the double sided menu – colouring in chart, which will hopefully keep them amused. We’ll have to take the girls in at some point, but in the meantime – let us know what you think.

Elsewhere, the Deli is set to open at 7.30am serving fresh coffee and bacon sandwiches plus rather helpfully – most of the items they serve up in the restaurant. And again, at surprisingly good value – for example, if Sir wishes to take home 1 litre of that fantastic olive oil he just ate with the Italian bread selection – it’s £9.95. Or maybe a standard size bag of the coffee beans – certainly – it’s just £4.95. Alternatively, just grab a coffee for roughly £2, sit in the comfy chairs and relax; or if it’s past midday go for something stronger (Ed – like a mojito) in the bar without feeling like you have-to go eat too.

Overall, our experience was very good, it certainly convinced the skeptics amongst our party and we think it’ll be a very possible eye opener for other Greenwich residents too. Jamie’s Italian is a chain, granted, but it’s friendly team are serving up quality food, in a fantastic environment for great value for money. Does it fit well in SE10? Time will tell. How well will they copy with 100+ covers? We cannot say. Does it improve the food landscape in our area? Definitely. Do we think you should give it a try? Absolutely!

ps – for more details such as opening times – check out their listing here. And, hands-up those who’d like Jamies Italian on Mumscard? …Let us know!

pps – if like us you order the ‘planks’ and the next thing you know, tinned tomatoes turn up on your table – do not worry you are not going mad…

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Food Heroes features the best local gourmands using their genius to save us from kitchen boredom. If you are a foodie and you have an idea for a great feature, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!