Last weekend, my best friend in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, Lorna, came up to London from Plymouth for the day, her train survived heavy flooding in Devon, and so we treated ourselves to lunch at Jamie’s Italian, at Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.
We already had a voucher for free Prosecco from the ever generous Mr Oliver, which was lovely, and we spent many happy hours during the preceding week, perusing the menu and exchanging excited texts (Lorna is a fellow foodie!).
For a starter, I chose ‘baked chestnut mushrooms’ (mushrooms are my all-time favourite vegetable), with smoked mozzarella, thyme and crispy bread. It was absolutely delicious! Lorna had a bruschetta with smoked mackerel paté which she also declared to be ‘gert lush me babber’!
For my main, I chose a British lamb breast, slow-braised with mint, chilli and sticky balsamic, served with quick pickled green beans and a heritage radish salad. I also had some Markham Farm asparagus and we shared some polenta chips. The lamb was absolutely divine – it fell apart as I touched it with my fork, and literally melted in the mouth. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and incredibly tasty, just drizzled with a little butter and dressed with shaved Parmesan. We both declared the polenta chips bland and not to be repeated! Lorna had ‘Ravioli Primavera’ stuffed with smashed new-season peas, mint & ricotta in a silky asparagus sauce with mascarpone and Amalfi lemon. I tried a bit, as you do, and my goodness it was gorgeous.
I’ve always been a big Jamie Oliver fan, with his Naked Chef series he made cooking fun, easy, and dare I say, a little bit sexy again? He has done wonders for food education all over the world, and still comes across as a thoroughly nice bloke.
Here’s a few photos of the food, but having eaten in three different Jamie’s Italian branches now, I wholeheartedly recommend it. The service is wonderful and they treat children really well, when we visited back in January 2012, my then 5 year old son was chuffed that he got his menu on a Viewmaster toy camera, and he got a badge for finishing all his salad! But what matters of course is the food, and the price. I personally think it’s amazing value for money, and simply beautiful food.
We paid just over £50 for two courses each, with an extra glass of Prosecco too! Without the wine it would have been about £42. As Jamie might even say, “Pukka!”.