Not as everyone had hoped for a Jamie Restaurant
Being April, we were in the capable hands of Mike Dixon to chose his birthday restaurant. He decided to take the Grubgang to Jamie's Italian in Gunwharf, where many of the members had often wondered about trying in the past. Hopes were high, especially for Clair, whose collection of Jamie Oliver Cookbooks is her pride and joy!
The look of the restaurant is clean and a mixture of modern and rustic Italian, which to some came across cold and industrial. For others, it was refreshing to be offered a round table and to feel it was not too noisy despite them amount of people who were in the restaurant. The group loved the display of fresh vegetables and breads next to the kitchens, but were not so enamoured with the toilets, which reminded the ladies of being at school!!
So to the menu. For many of the members of the group, there was not much on the menu which really took to their fancy. Being a big lover of Italian restaurants we have visited since starting Grubgang, it felt a little flat and disappointing. So to the starters....
Clair loved her starter of Potato Croquettes, which has always been one of her favourite dishes, although she had not seen it in an Italian menu before. Soft, tangy and zesty, she loved every bite and wished she had at least 2 more on her plate!
Dean had the crispy battered squid for starters with red chillies which was really nice, in his opinion, whilst Pete and Dave opted for the spicy chicken wings to start. They were actually really nice with a little bit of a kick that was not too over powering. Their only criticism was that it was a tiny starter and certainly not worth it cost wise. Gemma had the crab and avocado bruschetta. Which she felt was more like a green apple bruschetta!! All she could taste was the apple - it was way too much and there was just a sprinkle of crab! For the cost of £6, she was hoping for a bit more meat! The avocado was just a splodge of guacamole on the end of the plate and really a let down from the way it sounded on the menu.
Mike, however was pleased with his crispi arancini.
The mains did not impress that much either. Mike enjoyed his wild rabbit, which Gemma chose too and found a little over powering on herbs for her taste. The meat was cooked lovely and although the bigger pieces were dry in the middle, she believed this to be the type of meat and not the preparation by the chef. On a side note it would have been a lot easier to eat with a spoon and not the knife and fork as provided.
Dean was very enamoured with his main course of risotto which he would order again if he ever returned. Clair decided on a vegetarian dish, as the other dishes on the menu really did not resound with her this time. She ordered the honeycomb callaloni, which was ok but she didn't really feel it would be something she would order if she ever visited again.
Pete and Dave both had the burger for mains. Pete asked for it plain, but it still arrived with some lettuce on it, which was disappointing. The burger itself was a little dry and unfortunately a bit over done... The mortadella was a great addition though and saved it slightly from being completely bland The choice of style of chips was nice and he opted for the funky chips over the posh style chips. Which were ok. Nothing to write home about though. Dave felt the burger, whilst trumped as being made of steak chuck, just tasted burnt and was very dry ( a disappointment when a small diet coke was £3!) The Funky Chips were just well cooked home made chips, with garlic and herbs, and quite greasy! Very tasty though.
We were all hoping desserts would save this restaurant where it was lacking for so many. Dave was very disappointed with the size of his chocolate brownie, which was billed as "Ultimate". Gemma felt
the dessert menu was again so restrictive with every dish containing alcohol (either lemon or coffee - both of which is not to her taste) and only left the option of ice cream. She enjoyed a selection of salted caramel, honeycomb and berry crumble, which were very tasty.
Unfortunately they did not have any honeycomb to sprinkle on top as requested and opted for the popcorn, which she felt had too much toffee o it, even if did perk up the meal.
Pete and Dean too had the ice cream and agreed with Gemmas sentiments.
Clair and Mike had the fruit crumble for dessert. Clair loves a good crumble, but felt that this one was just fruit with a granola bar on it! It needed a bit of biscuit to give it a sweeter less oaty taste. Mike however, enjoyed the dish.
Service was fairly quick and friendly when serving the meals, but we did have to wait a fair while to receive our bill at the end.
Marks out of 10.......................................................... 7 (Mike Dixon)