I’ve been to Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian several times. About three times to the Covent Garden location, and three times to the City location. As I didn’t have this blog at the time when I ate at the one in the City, this is about the Covent Garden location, which was the first branch of the restaurant.
Now pasta is pretty much my favorite food. When I heard that Jamie Oliver had a specific Italian restaurant, I made a bee-line. The menu is slightly different at each location, but the main favorites are all there at both of the locations I’ve been to. The menu also changed slightly over the months, with some new dishes added since the first time I went about six months ago.
My most recent visit was about three weeks ago. For a starter, we chose the ‘Beautiful Bruschetta for Two’, which has pea and mint ripple, grilled asparagus, smashed broad (fava) beans, mozzarella, spinach, mint and chili.
It was not good. At all. The bread was so crunchy that I could barely bite it, and the toppings were so thick that it was like eating a big blob of whatever was in that bite on stale bread. The little comic clippings underneath were a cute touch and I love the presentation, but frankly that’s not what I go out to eat for. Starter = no bueno.
For the main course, I chose to go for the Spaghetti Vongole, which was my favorite at the City location. The Vongole consists of Welsh cockles, garlic, chili, white wine, parsley, lemon, and spaghetti cooked very al dente, which is how I prefer it.
Frankly, it wasn’t great. The spaghetti was overcooked and had zero flavor. I was sorely disappointed because the first few times I had this dish, it was superb. Perfectly cooked with tons of fresh flavor, it was some of the best restaurant pasta I’ve ever had. Not lately though, with the overall quality seeming to have gone down significantly over time at this location. The only thing I can think of is they have a different chef or something, or they’ve let the quality slip because the restaurant is no longer new. That being said though, the location in the City has always been excellent, but then again I haven’t been there for a good three months or so, so perhaps it has gone downhill as well.
I’ve forgotten to mention the waiting. There are no reservations taken so if you show up on a weekend evening, you will have to wait at least an hour, all the way up to three. And they will usually not let you to the bar to have a drink as it’s almost always too packed. In the beginning, this wait was worth it and we just walked over to a pub down the block and had a drink. This last time the wait was pretty much nil though, but we did go on a Tuesday night and it was during the Olympics, and London was shockingly empty. Good thing, too, otherwise I would have been even more disappointed.
Please bring the quality back up to how it used to be and I’ll be there all the time 🙂