Last week we were invited along to Jamie’s Italian at the Bullring to review the new Super Lunch Menu. I took Taylor and went along with my friend, Lisa, and her nine-month old son. I’m a massive fan of Jamie Oliver’s with pretty much every recipe book he’s ever published lining my kitchen shelf. I’m also a fan of his restaurants and have visited Jamie’s Italian Birmingham once before, but it was years ago when it first opened. So I was looking forward to returning.
The restaurant is situated in St Martin’s Square, so is the perfect place for a lunch break mid shopping. It’s light and airy with industrial style lighting, seating and tables and quirky nods throughout to Birmingham’s industrial past. It’s open plan with a large bar area, an open kitchen and large glass frontage looking towards Selfridges. On our visit it was pretty busy and there was a welcoming, buzzy atmosphere.
Once sat down at our table, the waitress brought over our menus along with a retro 3D film viewer which had the kids’ menu options in 3D – a pretty cool gimmick for older kids but unfortunately it was a little lost on ours (although it did keep Taylor entertained for all of two minutes – every little helps!) We ordered some non-alcoholic cocktails which were lovely and refreshing on such a hot day.
The kids’ menu
I was really impressed by the options on the kids’ menu. The lack of choice for kids is usually one of my biggest bugbears of eating out with Taylor, but there really is a great range of healthy and fun options for kids here. We chose Jamie’s Proper Picnic Box and the Organic Mini Spaghetti Meatballs (actually, they were out of those but we were offered spaghetti bolognese instead). The Picnic Box included a chicken wrap, rainbow vegetable crisps, seedless grapes, cherry tomatoes and a piece of seasonal fruit. The kids meals come in two sizes – little kids for £6.50 and big kids for £6.95, and are served with a fresh ‘Shake Me’ salad and a drink of choice.
Taylor seemed to love her spaghetti bolognese, although it was too big for her to finish! It was great to have bits of salad and fruit for the kids to continue to pick at – I find that they always get bored quite quickly, so at least it kept them entertained for a short while!
Jamie’s Super Lunch Deal
Jamie’s Super Lunch Deal includes two courses for £10.95 or three courses for £12.95 and is served Monday to Friday 12-6pm. There’s a great range of options on the menu from Pate Bruschetta to Truffle Tagliatelle to start, Superfood Salad and Margherita Pizza for main, and desserts including Blackberry Bakewell, Tiramisu Pavlova, and Epic Brownie. Italian in style, with Jamie’s classic punchy flavours, you will definitely be able to find something to your taste on here!
I opted for the Red Pepper Soup and Lisa chose the Fritto Misto (that’s crispy fried fish and squid to you and me) to start. The soup really was delicious and was served with home-made focaccia which was the perfect size for dipping. It comes with a large spoonful of organic yoghurt on top which made it really creamy, just the way I like it.
Lisa’s starter was just as tasty served with a slice of lemon and garlic and lemon aioli. The starters were the perfect size and didn’t fill us up too much in advance of our mains – something that always worries me about having a starter!
It took quite a bit of time for the waiting staff to clear our table of the starters and even longer for our mains to arrive. As we opted to have the kids’ meals brought out with our starters it got a a little frustrating as they were starting to get pretty restless, as kids do! I saw some other tables with crayons so asked our waitress if we could have some, which kept Taylor entertained for a little longer (phew!)
The main courses
For the main course I ordered Gennaro’s Tagliatelle Bolognese and Lisa opted for Italian Steak and Fries (there’s a £3 supplement for the steak). When the mains did finally arrive, we were more than ready to tuck in. My slow-cooked pork and beef bolognese was really tasty and had a lovely rich flavour – quite different from my go-to bolognese recipe (Jamie’s Ministry of Food!) Lisa was a little disappointed with her steak which she found pretty tough unfortunately. The steak came with a side of skinny fries and horseradish and rocket salad, but she said she was craving something green! And I could see what she meant looking at her plate…but then who are we to question how the Italians serve their steak?? We did feel however that I’d made the better choice!
After the mains we were again waiting for quite a long time for our waitress to clear the table. In the end we called her over because we were keen to order some ice-cream for the kids. After we ordered them we were unfortunately left waiting another forty minutes for them to arrive – it did feel like the restaurant was very understaffed for the amount of diners they had that day, which was a shame.
When our desserts did arrive all of the ice-cream was pretty much completely melted, so they had obviously been plated up and sitting underneath the counter for some time. Rather than offer us some fresh ice-cream the waitress just apologised that our ice-cream was melted and dashed off…
Both Lisa and I had the chocolate brownie and salted caramel ice cream. The brownie really was delicious and the ice cream (although completely melted) was also really tasty and complimented the brownie perfectly. If a chocolate gooey hit is your thing, then this is the dessert for you. Luckily the kids didn’t seem to mind either about their ice-cream being more like pouring cream – the messier the better for them! Thankfully we had a large stash of wet wipes to hand!
Our overall of experience of Jamie’s Italian on this visit was mixed. Unfortunately on this occasion the service was really slow – I know that the restaurant was busy, but we felt that we got forgotten about more than once. However, Jamie’s Super Lunch Deal is really good value for the three courses and the food on the whole was lovely. I also really like what they’ve done with the kids menu and the added touches like the 3D film viewer to try and make the experience more family friendly.
With young kids the waiting times between our courses were less than ideal, but if you fancy a leisurely lunch with friends where you can take your time and sip cocktails whilst you wait for your food, then you’re probably in the right place.
Have you visited Jamie’s Italian recently?
Disclosure: We were invited along to Jamie’s Italian in return for an honest review of the Super Lunch Menu