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We recently attended the wedding of one of our best friends in Bath, it was held at the fabulous Orchardleigh House . We had never been to Bath before and had heard loads about it so we decided to stay a couple of extra days to take in the sights and most importantly visit Jamie Oliver’s new venture Jamie’s Italian. To be honest I was probably more excited about going here than the wedding (sorry James) but as you all know food is always top of my agenda. We ended up visiting Jamie’s place not once but twice. We went there the night we arrived and again the day after the wedding. The place itself is in a fabulous new development in the centre of the town and doesn’t take any reservations.

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You have to queue outside first, on both times we queued for about 30 mins, when you eventually get in they give you a buzzer and you have to sit at the bar and wait to be called for your table. The first time this took about 30 mins but it took about 50 mins on the second visit so you wouldn’t want to be in a hurry. The amazing thing was that everybody took it their stride, there was noone complaining and everybody was just happy to be there. I think it also helps that the bar serve some great Italian cocktails like Bellini, good Italian beers and wine and of course some great “stuzzucini”. The olives were amazing, served on ice with a really good olive tapenade and bread, we also had the almonds with fennel and chilli which were devine and made my prosecco flow a little too freely;)

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They’ve been very clever in placing their fresh pasta making beside the bar as it took everyones attention from the wait for their table.

 

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I didn’t take my camera the first night so I just have photos of our second visit.  I really liked the menu, it’s simple and very reasonable with the focus on good quality Italian ingredients.

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We started with the bruschetta with a selection of tapenades:

 

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mushrooms and scamorza cheese:

 

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cherry tomato and mozzarella salad,I know 3 starters but we were on holidays, you would too….

 

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All three starters were delicious, the bruschetta bread was excellent as were the tapenades, I loved the ricotta one, it was so creamy and flavoured really well. My main issue when eating out is seasoning and everything was perfectly seasoned here, no salt or pepper required just like in Italy, they would nearly hit you over the head with the salt cellar if you ask for it.  On our first visit we tried the antipasti which is served on top of 2 tins of Italian tomatoes (great idea), the fried squid and parmesan chunks with balsamic, very simple dishes but executed perfectly. The quality of cheese, Italian meats, olive oil, balsamic etc were excellent and it was such a pleasure to eat in such a good Italian outside of Italy.

We had pasta on both visits and if I have to find fault with Jamie’s it is with the different level of quality with the pasta on the two occasions. It was much better the first night, it was obviously a different chef but there was a notable difference. On the first night I had pasta with asparagus, cherry tomatoes and ricotta and Bru had a tomato and Italian sausage, both were as good as the MIL would make and that’s some achievement;) On the second visit the dishes weren’t seasoned as well and the sauce was a lot wetter, more like soup, on the first night the sauce coated the pasta perfectly and it was as good as you would eat in Italy. On the second visit we had

 

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linguine with prawns and tomato..

 

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bucatini carbonara with courgettes…

 

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We had the panacotta for dessert the first night which was excellent and a simple sorbet on the second visit which was really good.

 

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We finished off with a couple of good espresso and limoncello.

I really liked Jamie’s, it’s casual dining focusing on quality Italian ingredients. The place is buzzing and has a great atmosphere, it’s a very well oiled machine with excellent service, it seats 250 people and there is a constant queue waiting and the place just runs so smoothly. It’s a perfectly packaged Italian restaurant,  it’s modern, authentic, affordable and every neighbourhood should have a restaurant like this, I wish we did. As he says himself:

“Jamie’s Italian starts with what Italians are most proud of – fantastic, rustic dishes, using recipes that have been tried, tested and loved! As well as serving exceptional food, we aim to create a “neighbourhood” venue, inspired by the “Italian table” where people relax, share, and enjoy each other’s company. Anyone is welcome and everyone will feel comfortable. It’s affordable and accessible – no bookings, just come along when it suits you.”

I couldn’t agree more…..

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