Jamie’s Italian, Canary Wharf

The Nked Chef’s empire just keeps on growing.  I don’t know how this guy runs restaurants across the world, trains up new chefs, runs a charity, writes cookbooks, goes on roadtrips for TV documentaries and be a dad to three kids!  You’d think that one of these would have to suffer, but so far I think the man has done some great delegation whilst still retaining the quality of his brand.  My first experience of Jme’s restaurants was Jamie’s Italian, newly opened at the financial hub of London in Canary Wharf.  It has a no bookings policy, but at 7pm on a Sunday night, we had no issues getting a table.

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The room’s focal point is the antipasti bar, where the platters of cured meats are shaved to order and ornately presented on beautiful platters.  The produce is hung from the ceiling, and the platters are served on wooden boards, balanced on cans of chopped tomatoes from Italy – a cute touch.

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Whole legs of proscuitto hang invitingly from the ceiling.

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The fresh made pasta is put out to display, with the pastas occupying one third of the menu.

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The dining room is very Jamie too, an eclectic mix of old style furniure (pardon me but I talk food, not furniture :) ) and more akin to a diner than a fine dining experience. Simple but tasty goes hand in hand with the no-nonsense approach to furnishings.

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The kitchen is also open plan for all to see and to give you a sneak peek of the menu before you committ! And boy are there choices galore.

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For appetisers, we tried the arancni, three freshly fried crispy balls of rice filled with gooey melted cheese with light as air parmesan grated on top.  it was served with a spicy relish that had a kick to it, along with a fresh coriander taste.  Very moreish.

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There was also a few choices of bruschetta. We had the roasted tomato one, it was more like crostini, with ricotta smeared on garlicky grilled bread, and the signature Jamie splash of olive oil to give it a nice glistening.

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From the extensive pasta menu, we opted to tru the wagyu polpette (mini meat balls) and parpadelle.  We got 3.5 meatballs exactly.  They were nice, but I think could have done with a lift of some fresh chilli or some more depth through red wine.  The entree sizes are extremely generous in size and very well priced – GBP6 for this size!  And only GBP3 more for a main size. I really expected to pay more for the celebrity chef factor.

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We couldn’t go past the truffle fettucine.  The butter flavour was really rich. Something to cut down the richness maybe, but not sure what.  but the truffles gave it an earthy flavour and it wasn’t stingy at all.

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The truffle chips – who would have thought of such a clever combination.  Cheap as chips with the most expensive ingredient ever – a fine combination.  Perfectly seasoned and more fluffy parmesan on top.   Definitely order one serve per person, you won’t regret it. They weren’t greasy at all either.

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Well the mandatory salad.  The fresh peas were delicious.

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I’ve been watching Jamie at Home, and one time there was an episode where he made Panzanella from his backyard wood fired oven.  The bread was so crispy and hot and cooked with the yummy meat fat.  It was this that I was craving and was excited at the opportunity to try it cooked for me.  There was such a wonderful variety of heirloom tomatoes and the salad was rich with capers and gorgeous roasted red capsicum.

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At GBP60 for 3 people – 3 mains, 3 entrees and a drink and two sides, it’s great value.  No wonder why it’s packed full of people, ranging from families to after work couples, to fellow celebrity chef tragics armed with cameras like me.  Just make sure you order the fritto misto if you go :)

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