An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading

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An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading

I'm sure most people would agree that the UK restaurant scene is full to-the-brim with Italian restaurants; soemthing that has put me off from opting for Italian for a meal out in recent years. Having exhausted the likes of Bella Italia, Pizza Express and Prezzo in the past, it can feel like Italian menus seem a bit samey, and dare I say, a bit boring right? 

I'm pleased to say that visiting Jamie's Italian turned out to be a chain restaurant with a difference. Back in January, I went with my mum to review* their menu on a Saturday evening. It was a fab opportunity to get a drink and catch up with her after a long week over a nice meal.

The Italian restaurant in Reading has an enviable location, in a pretty building sitting on the river facing The Oracle shopping centre. In all honesty, the only time I'd visited a Jamie's previously was for breakfast so I was excited to try out the evening menu!

We kicked off our cosy evening in a comfy booth and we thought straight away about ordering drinks! I was really impressed with the drinks menu, particularly the selection of cocktails on offer. It took me a while and after asking our waitress for her recommendations, I choose a Peach and Apricot Collins as I've recently gotten into gin. It was refreshing and zingy, a great start to the meal, whilst mum chose the Florence Fizz.


An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading
Similarly, we were surprised by the range of starters and mains on offer. It took us a while to decide, but we eventually settled on an antipasti of crispy squid to share. Not everyone likes squid (I personally cannot understand why, I'm obsessed) but for seafood lovers this is a must! 

There were chillies scattered across, providing the perfect amount of kick of flavour, with a gorgeous alioli on the side to offset the heat. The batter was a perfect consistency as well - sometimes restaurants like to pile on the batter which can make the squid taste a bit rubbery. We were impressed so far.

We really liked the fact that the mains went beyond the standard pasta and pizza options: They also have steaks, mixed grills and healthier salads on offer too. However, for a person like myself who flits between lots of potential dishes and often struggles to make a decision, this was a nightmare.

With the help of the probably exasperated waitress, I went for one of their specials on offer: grilled Viennese Chicken on a bed of smoky lentils and mixed beans, finished with a dollop of natural yoghurt. I'd never seen an option like this in an Italian restaurant before so I was happy to try something a bit different!


An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading
My mum is probably a bigger seafood fan than I am, and therefore found it tough to decide on a main, but she went for the Mixed Seafood Platter which was another special on offer that evening. I would say there was a lot less on the plate with mum's dish, and she wasnt left feeling that full afterwards, although she said the selection of fish was good, and it looked undeniably pretty.


An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading
On the other hand, I was feeling full and was incredibly happy with my main. The chicken was juicy, the lentils and beans full of flavour, and the sour cream was a great compliment to the smoky flavour of the dish. Although neither of us picked pasta, we noticed that the recipes were quite different to the typical pasta dishes you'd find, such as carbonara and spaghetti bolognese. I would recommend trying some of these pasta options if you want to try something a little out of the comfort zone!

After a needed rest between dishes, we were ready to scour the dessert menu. I adore sweet things and I often look forward most to pudding at the end of a meal! Being honest, I felt a little disappointed by the considerably fewer dessert options compared with the rest of the menu. 


An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading
An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading
I mean, if there's a Chocolate Brownie on offer I'm more than happy to choose it, but I was hoping that there'd be more exciting choices for those with a sweet tooth! Of course, to get a real feel for the dessert options, me and mum had half of each (oink oink). We quite liked the waitress' recommendations, we were reaching a point where we simply trusted her. Per her suggestion, we also picked the Torta di Nada, which is a blueberry & olive oil cake with whipped cream, honey & orange zest, apparently Jamie's favourite from the menu.

I can confirm we really liked both: the cake was light and tangy from the orange zest but really enjoyable, and was the perfect antidote to the wonderful indulgence of the chocolatey brownie. It finished off the meal well, it's just a shame the Torta di Nada was the only truly different dessert on offer amongst the usual panna cotta, cheesecake and tiramisu of the Italian chain world.


An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading
On the whole, I had a really lovely evening with mum at Jamie's Italian. The staff were polite, friendly and incredibly helpful all night and the speed of service was perfect. I would say that if Jamie is aiming to properly differentiate between his chain and other competitors, he should push the boat out with his menu choices, as the starters, mains and drinks were all great. All that's needed is some extra-special desserts for greedy people like myself!

I hope you enjoyed reading this review. Have you been to Jamie's Italian before? What did you think of his take on Italian? Let me know below!

*This is a sponsored post. I was invited to review the Jamie's Italian restaurant in exchange for a review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

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An Evening at Jamie's Italian, Reading

 


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1 comments

  1. Oh I loved reading this...I'm a huge food fan so I'm always a sucker for review posts like this.

    I've been to Jamie's in Manchester before and, like you, I was impressed by the variety of options on the menu. Personally, I can never get bored of eating Italian food but it really is refreshing to go out for a meal and see something a little bit different on the menu. The Viennese chicken you had sounded divine!

    I'm not a big seafood lover but can appreciate how tasty that calamari and seafood platter both looked. It sounds like you and your mum had a lovely evening for catching up and an equally lovely waitress to help you out! I'm super indecisive so having a waiter/waitress you can rely on to help you trawl the menu makes a huuuge impact!

    Hope you both had a great evening xx

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