A few weeks ago after a bit of bribery and negotiation I convinced Drew and a couple of friends it was well past time we tried out Jamies Italian Restaurant in Brisbane on Edward Street in the city. It had after all been open almost 5 months by then which was a blessing and a curse in getting everyone to go. Lets face it the online reviews had been mixed. It wasn’t the first time we’d tried to get there in all honesty, first there was the medical cancellation, then I left it too late in the week to get a Sunday lunch booking, so it felt like quite a achievement to finally clamber up onto one of their over-sized bar stools and wait for our table.
The bar is well stocked, the boys ordered enthusiastically from the boutique beer selection while I was quite happy to start with their homemade lemonade and lime bitters. I should mention that we weren’t kept waiting, we had arrived in time to have a drink at the bar first but on the subject of booking the compulsory online booking was a little odd. It did seem to work alright though once you figure out that it’s impossible to find a phone number for bookings for a reason.
The decor makes the most of the heritage of the building with its unfinished warehouse style. It’s rustic and relaxed, making optimal use of the long, narrow, 2 story space. High exposed ceilings and good air-conditioning made it a comfortable space during the Queensland summer. Both the antipasti bar on the street level and the kitchen on the lower level are open to the public which I also like although it does add to the ambient noise level. Our only dislike on the styling was the metal cafe style chairs in the upstairs seating area which were a little uncomfortable for an extended weekend lunch session.
We ordered the ricotta bruschetta to start which was dressed in balsamic roasted tomatoes, fresh ricotta curd and basil. It was one of those things that was 10 times the sum of it’s parts. It sounds super simple, even boring but it was really delicious.
Around the table for mains we had orders for Osso Bucco Style lamb, the grilled free range pork chop with a perfect wedge of crackle and the prime strip loin. It was in honesty a mixed bag for mains. The first two were excellent, thoroughly enjoyed and would be confidently ordered again. Unfortunately the strip loin was sub-standard. It wasn’t a good piece of meat to start with, had way too much gristle and it was much closer to medium than the medium rare I requested which wouldn’t have helped the toughness at all. If we’d all ordered the steak we definitely wouldn’t be planning a return visit. It’s pretty disappointing given the quality of beef available in Australia and it’s not that difficult to cook to specification. The sides were generally good. The funky chips were excellent but the water glass sized serve felt a little mean for table sharing even if it was kind to our cholesterol levels. The vegetable side dishes were nice and well cooked.
I wasn’t going to be put off trying the dessert menu though and the delights of Amalfi lemon meringue, blackberry pavlova and Tiramisu won me back over. Yes I did try them all, well it would have been rude not to. All the desserts were AMAZING, yes I did just use capitals and I’m sorry but they honestly were that good. Even as someone who rarely makes it to the dessert menu I would definitely recommend leaving room for pudding at Jamies Italian.
So my overall thoughts? I would probably give it 3.5 stars but will give it a return visit in a few months, it’s worth a second chance. I believe the menu and blackboard specials are changed up regularly so we’ll probably take a look at the autumn/winter menu before I make a final decision. Service was OK, polite but a little cold and given we booked about 3 weeks in advance I don’t think we ended up with a good table. Food ran the spectrum mostly very good but the steak was sub-standard and for the price that was disappointing. Overall value for money? Again my feelings are a little mixed, it is casual dining which you know up front if you’re familiar with the Jamie’s Italian chain but the price is up there and they do need to work on service and consistency coming out of the kitchen.
Jamie’s Italian – Brisbane
Location: 237 Edward Street (Rowes Arcade), Brisbane City.
Bookings: Only online at Jamie’s Italian
Rating: 3.5 Stars (1 unacceptable – 5 outstanding)
Budget: $$$ ($ coffee shop – $$$$ fine dining)