Sunday, 22 October 2017

REVIEW: Jamie's Italian, St Albans

St Albans, Tring, Hertfordshire food blog with reviews and recipes, reviewing Jamie's Italian

I feel like I haven't eaten out all that much lately. I don't mind too much - the novelty of having My Very Own House has still not worn off after spending most of last year in my parents' attic (we ate out a LOT last year), but it is nice to have a treaty evening every now and then. So I was very pleased to be asked to review Jamie's Italian, and back in my old stomping ground, St Albans!

It's a funny thing with a lot of the nice newer restaurants in St Albans, because several of them are converted pubs that I remember getting very drunk in as a teenager. Bill's is the old Wetherspoons where I spent pretty much every Friday night when I was 18 (and a fair few when I was 17), Cote used to be The Vintry where I first tried vodka and Red Bull (it's still disgusting) and Jamie's used to be The Bell, who were cheerfully casual about asking for ID. Ah, memories.

I've been to Jamie's a few times, and I tried out the pizzeria last year (which now seems to be a deli again) but it's been a couple of years since my last visit to the main restaurant, so I was interested to go and see what it was like these days.


St Albans, Tring, Hertfordshire food blog with reviews and recipes, reviewing Jamie's Italian
St Albans, Tring, Hertfordshire food blog with reviews and recipes, reviewing Jamie's Italian

Anyway, we started with one of their platters. I really like the presentation of these - a couple of old vegetable tins are put on the table, and then a long wooden platter is propped on top. We shared the Classic Meat platter, which included a mixture of cold meats, cheese, olives, pickles and coleslaw.

Everything on this was great, especially the super gooey mozzarella, but two thoughts struck me. Firstly, it's on the expensive side. £7.50 per person means £15 for a shared starter, which seems like a lot to me. Especially as... well, you didn't get a lot. A lot of the dishes needed to be eaten with something - bread or crackers, for instance - but we only got a tiny triangle of crispbread each.

St Albans, Tring, Hertfordshire food blog with reviews and recipes, reviewing Jamie's Italian

This theme continued with my main. I had the ravioli stuffed with ricotta in a buttery, lemony sauce and it was very nice, if not mindblowing - cooked al dente with a nice, subtle flavour. But it was TINY. I think I had six pieces of pasta for around £13?

On the other hand, Matt raved about his dish. He had the octopus ravioli, which was squid-ink pasta parcels filled with octopus in a tomato sauce, topped with crab. He described it as sweet, slightly salty and a tiny bit spicy - some of the finest ravioli he'd ever had. So I think it's about looking at the menu for what looks really special, and going for that. I knew my ravioli wasn't going to be really special, because it was simple flavours, but it was what I fancied. Frustratingly, the menu has just been updated and I can see so many things on there now that appeal to me way more, but that's just how the pasta crumbles.

St Albans, Tring, Hertfordshire food blog with reviews and recipes, reviewing Jamie's Italian

We split the chocoalate fudge sundae for dessert, which was really nice - I loved the salty caramel popcorn and the brownie bits were great, although I would have liked more texture further down rather than just on top, as the ice cream got a bit samey. But that's just my preference - I like a few bits!

In summary, the food in Jamie's Italian in St Albans was good. Not incredible - with the exception of the octopus ravioli - but good. I do think it's overpriced for what it is. The portions are very small, and they don't match the prices at all which I found really disappointing. I think, though that they're aware of this which is why they've launched a Quick and Easy menu (inspired by the recent TV show/book, which I am loving) which is a set price for lunch and dinner from Sunday-Thursday.

St Albans, Tring, Hertfordshire food blog with reviews and recipes, reviewing Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian is at 22 Chequer St, St Albans AL1 3YD. The restaurant kindly contributed to our meal in exchange for this honest review.
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2 comments

  1. Similar memories of all of the pubs you mention here! x

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  2. I've only been to a Jamie's Italian once and I felt about the same. Whilst the decor was lovely and the staff friendly, it just felt a bit 'meh' to me. Again, maybe my menu choices weren't right but I think you should expect some mindblowing pasta when you're paying £13 for it. If you could make something tastier at home, what's the big deal? Also, there is no greater crime, restaurant-wise, than serving an insufficient amount of bread or crackers. Why so stingy, restaurateurs?

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