If you read my biography you’ll know that my love of food comes from watching Jamie Oliver on Sunday afternoons in The Naked Chef, so you can guess my excitement when I heard Jamie’s Italian was opening in Johannesburg.
Being my favourite type of food and most probably my favourite chef ever’s restaurant, the bar was set quite high even before being invited, and now I finally had the opportunity to visit the world renowned Jamie’s Italian.
Walking in you can’t but know this is something very special, two stories of top-class décor and amazing interiors await. Even the uniform for the wait staff is impeccable; I’m still looking for one of their cool “J” tie pins for my own collection. The service level is of the utmost quality and you can definitely see that everyone has been thoroughly trained to uphold this standard.
It was a cool rainy Johannesburg day so I could not ask for anything better than simple comfort food with a modern taste, and there’s not much that beats a well-prepared pasta in terms of comfort food. You don’t even have to look further than the basics of Italian cooking to find one of the best dishes on the menu; The Bolognese.
Generally, you’d go to a restaurant like Jamie’s and look for a signature dish, or search for something wildly intricate and fancy, yet if the restaurant does pasta well all that you’ll need is a basic but good pasta dish. Don’t get me wrong looking down the menu you’ll definitely want to taste every single item on the menu from the Nachos to the Prawn Linguine or a Massive Rump with Funky Chips smothered in Parmesan.
Trust me I tried all of the above and I can’t choose a favourite, I think I might even be back over the weekend as I feel I need to try everything on the menu. The good thing about Jamie’s is you can, almost all of the prices are well within reason for what you get and that’s why I’ve come to love the restaurant.
You can get the same blue ruffle edged plate Jamie will display on one of his personal posts on Instagram in your hometown, and that is something special. You can be assured that you will get the quality Jamie stands for as he worked on the whole process from the menu selection with Chef Shane Smit to the training of the wait staff and approval of the suppliers for all the ingredients.
I can write about the experience that is Jamie’s Italian forever, and trust me Jamie’s is a story that will stay with you forever but my best advice would be to go and try it. Have a starter, have a dessert, have a main, yes each one is good enough by itself to be the reason to make your way to Melrose Arch and experience this wonder in the heart of Johannesburg.
This might not be the best Italian that we’ve ever had but I find myself wanting to go back, and thinking back at the dishes with childlike excitement, and that to me says a whole lot more than pictures or reviews ever can.
Would definitely recommend. (Even if you just go for the dessert, you’ll probably return for the rest.)