‘Where are they?’ I said, which was probably the eighth time in the last ten minutes.
I have previously tried making reservations for Jamie’s Italian twice, once with a group of 10 people, the second time with eight. The first time I was told that the earliest they could seat us for dinner was 9.00 pm, the second time 10.30 pm. So this time, with only a group of five girls, I was determined that we show up after work at 5.00 pm on the dot before the dinnertime crowd begin to line up.
Unfortunately I hadn’t really counted on Sydney’s transport, being ever so reliable, and people were running late. An attempt to grab a table and wait for them was unsuccessful, as they said they needed all persons present before we could be seated. A little annoying, as I watched groups of hungry people walk by us inside the restaurant, but understandable as people are oft to cancel last minute and so forth. We had the option of grabbing a drink and snack at the downstairs bar while we waited, but we headed back out onto the street as some didn’t know where the restaurant was.
Eventually the rest of the girls arrived and we hurried inside, to be seated at a round table upstairs overlooking the lower ground bar area. The restuarant has an incredibly high ceiling, so the volume of people’s conversations is doubled, and it can make talking and listening a little difficult. Dinner at peak hour probably isn’t the best time to bring a significant other for an intimate meal and D&M.
Our waitress informed us of the day’s specials, with a lavish description that almost had me salivating as I listened. She was also incredibly helpful with some of the unknown words on the menu. Once she left us to our own devices, there was a fair bit of debate going on between us five girls as to what to order. We had in our presence The Selective Vegetarian who would eat seafood, but also a full vegetarian who couldn’t eat seafood full stop. We therefore decided to go with a selection of pure vegetarian dishes and one seafood dish, and everyone was happy with this consensus.
While we waited for the dishes, the waitress placed two cans of chopped tomatoes in the middle of our table with stern instructions not to open them and eat the contents. We stared at them curiously until our first course arrived very quickly and we understood why.
The Beautiful Bruschetta For 2 ($18) was topped with a delicious combination of peas and mint, grilled asparagus, smashed broad beans, smoky mozzarella, spinach, mint and chilli. It was the perfect way to start the meal.
The rest of our dishes then all arrived together and things got very confusing on our small table as I demanded each dish be rotated to my end for photographing.
The Crispy Stuffed Risotto Balls ($9.50) were stuffed with smoked mozzarella and porcini arancini. A little plain by themselves, but quite nice with the tomato dipping sauce. The arancini balls were piping hot inside.
The Prawn Linguine ($26.50) was al dente pasta tossed with garlicky Spencer Gulf prawn meat, tomatoes, rocket, fennel, and just enough chilli to leave a warm sensation over your lips. It reminded me of a pasta dish I had in one of Haberfield’s more authentic Italian restaurants, so having somewhere in the city the standard of the real Little Italy is pretty good in my honest opinion.
The Italian Nachos ($7) were unfortunately the major let down for the night. I’m not quite sure where the ‘four cheeses’ in the ravioli went, but the ravioli was essentially empty pasta puff squares which we dipped into a rather mild ‘spicy arrabiata sauce’. I’m not really sure what Jamie was trying to do here, but in this case I do think nachos are best left to those that know them best – that is, not the Italians.
The Polenta Chips ($8.50) redeemed the meal, and crispy fried with rosemary and Parmesan and steaming gently when we pulled them apart, they were quite divine.
And the last part of our main meal was very pleasant indeed.
The Truffle Tagliatelle ($24.90) had a little less truffle than I would have liked, but the aroma of the dish was divine. There were two girls at our table who had never encountered (or smelled) truffle in their lives and found it a very heady, irresistible scent. I’m glad they were easily converted – I’m still working on my parents. The pasta had been tossed with Parmesan, nutmeg, truffle oil and a lot of butter – the dish was almost swimming in it. As delicious as it was with its buttery, slippery goodness, it was a very heavy dish which left us feeling mildly queasy afterwards.
BUT we haven’t even seen the dessert menu yet! We debated as to whether we could deal with two desserts, but after some persuasion I managed to convince them to share one, having kept track of the number of dishes we had ordered. We settled happily for the Italian Ice Cream Bombe ($8.50), which was Panettone, Vin Santo, candied fruit, ricotta and ice cream served with hot chocolate sauce.
I will admit that I was a little let down by the appearance. Every time I have had an ice cream bombe at a restaurant, it has always been a whole ‘bombe’, being a little dome, rather than a slice like this. Despite the disappointment over the appearance, we made haste in pouring the hot chocolate sauce in a glorious dribble over the slab.
The bombe was sweet, but not overly, and after a couple of mouthfuls each, we were all very satisfied and ready to heave our sated selves from the premises. The bill came up to just over $20 each, which was quite a bargain considering we were all considerably stuffed. As we left just before 8.00 pm, we passed the long line outside the door.
A very pleasant meal, and good quality pasta if you can’t make the trek to Haberfield. Noise level is quite loud so I wouldn’t recommend it for an intimate meal, but it’s a great place for a catch up and bite with good friends. And most importantly – make sure you arrive EARLY!!
107 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8240 9000