Emma Johnson tries to hang on to that holiday feeling with a visit to Jamie’s Italian
NOTHING kills the buzz of a sunshine break like landing back in Blighty to find it raining sideways. That, and the thought of all that dirty washing is certain to send serotonin levels crashing through the floor.
So imagine my delight when I returned from nine nights in Ibiza to find the sun cracking the flags back here.
It certainly made adjusting to daylight hours easier and, in an effort to stave off the post-holiday blues for another 24 hours, my husband and I headed into Liverpool for a late lunch.
As everyone knows, when the sun shines in England you have to eat outside and, while the city is still not exactly replete with pavement cafes, the eateries of Liverpool One have definitely improved our al fresco dining options.
Jamie Oliver has done this better than most. Not only does Jamie’s Italian on Paradise Street have an extensive terrace but the windows pull right back, opening the entire venue up, so even when you are eating inside, you are outside.
Liverpool is one of 33 Jamie’s Italians around the country (there are another four abroad Dubai, Sydney, Dublin and Perth) and opened in 2010 to much fanfare. I first visited shortly afterwards and was very impressed by the range of dishes – whether you want a quick bite or the full a la carte works, you are catered for – and the impeccable service.
So I was keen to find out if things are just as “pukka” two years on.
On the Thursday afternoon we visited there were a few diners scattered around, mainly shoppers. But by the time we left, the restaurant was bustling with the after-work crowd and those eager to start the weekend early.
We were shown to a well located indoor/outdoor table by a very polite smiley waitress: so far so good. To start I was tempted by the antipasti planks –which come in meat, vegetable and fish options (£6.85-£7.50) – but in the end my husband and I agreed to share two starters. the crispy stuffed risotto balls (£4.94) and the baked chestnut mushrooms (£5.25). We also ordered the bread and bruschetta Italian bread selection (£3.75) – we were hungry!
To drink, we shared a 500ml carafe (a carafe, how retro!) of the house white, an unoaked chardonnay (£12). The waitress recommended we try it on our last visit and I remembered it as being excellent.
Shortly after the drinks arrived, our waitress returned to inform us there would be a delay on the mushrooms as, alarmingly, an oven was not working.
I was impressed with the honesty but slightly concerned when, after almost 25 minutes, nothing had appeared, not even the bread. Just seconds later, it all arrived accompanied by more apologies.