I’m not a massive chain restaurant kind of person anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a Pizza Express or a meal at Cote from time to time, they just aren’t a frequent occurrence. It’s not snobbery, I’m just fortunate enough to live somewhere that there’s an ever changing and evolving landscape, of independent, and in some cases, innovative, places to eat- this is what excites me and where I mostly choose to spend my money and/or time.
I’ve been to Jamie’s Italian in Brighton a few times (pre blog) and enjoyed it, so when I got an email from their lovely PR lady inviting me to review*, I was keen to go back and see how it fared against the now, considerable amounts of competition in the city.
I used to be a Pizza Express girl through and through (I worked there for 8 years), if I was eating pizza it was their pizza. However, 2014 saw me be dragged through a transformational process, thanks to my pizza aficionado pal Fran. We’re currently undergoing a mega pizza challenge, we’ll have tried 9 or 10 Brighton & Hove pizzerias by the end of it and I can’t wait to share the results with you! We’d heard whispers that Jamie’s had started selling pizza, so when I was presented with this menu, I snapped a photo and tweeted it Fran, telling her I was taking ‘one for the team’.
This was my Mum’s, our verdict; she loved it and I thought it was ok, not even close to the best I’ve tried but passable, especially given the price. I loved the crispy garlic, chilli and parsley, but a garnish does not a dish make. I should imagine the squid had been frozen, so was never going to be amazing, but it was very chewy. My Mum kept feeding me half eaten pieces whilst exclaiming ‘this one isn’t chewy’, bless her.
This garlic bread was fantastic. No hint of flaccidness or an underdone underside. Lots of leoparding (a technical term) and its interior managed to be both chewy and airy inside. It wasn’t overly garlicky, which I was grateful for, cos much as I love it, it does not agree with me at all. The sides were ricotta and some sort of pesto like dip with sundried tomatoes in. Not sure on the price as I think it was on the specials board, but whatever it was it would’ve been a worthy investment.
The meat was standard antipasti style, I devoured it all in record time, some layered on the garlic bread and pesto. Nothing out of the ordinary but certainly not to be sniffed at. The cheese was a nutty tasting pecorino which was topped with a blob of neon chilli jam, which I enjoyed, but thought it was a bit out of place. I loved the fennel slaw, and the buffalo mozzarella. I think for the price, it was really very good.
This was a starter size portion (my Mum has way more self control than me) but I had a couple of mouthfuls and it was surprisingly good. The sauce in particular was silky and well seasoned, the chunks of tomato had warmed through but had kept their form and texture. The prawns were a little rubbery for my liking, but nothing catastrophic. A good solid pasta dish, in my opinion.
The pizza, aaaah the pizza. I was a big fan, in fact as I’d go as far as to say that it’s a strong contender when compared to some of the crimes against two of the finest food groups (fat and carbs), recently. So excited was I by the nailing of so many of our criteria, I immediately made a photo montage and sent it to Fran, telling her to add it to ‘the list’.
Two types of spiced pork, a competitive base, chilli and lots of (but not too much) tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes= happy Rosie. I can’t wait to go back and get Fran’s opinion, and see if it’s consistent.
Spotless, no unpleasant smells, beautifully designed and that is a cool toilet. All very clean- big tick.
One of my least favourite aspects of being invited to review, is that it can tend to put everyone on edge a bit (I know, first world problems right), but there was not a bit of that. Our waitress, Emily, definitely deserves a special mention. She was a seriously cool customer, I liked her immediately and so did my Mum. She took care of everything, effortlessly ticking all the boxes: good eye contact, had a laugh and a joke, but not in a forced way and was attentive and friendly without being obsequious. So big up Emily, I hope they’re not making you share your tips!
It was the week before my Mum’s Birthday so I met her in town to do a spot of shopping and then went on to Jamie’s. I almost didn’t take her there and went to an old faithful like Chilli Pickle or 64 degrees so I could pretty much guarantee her a good Birthday meal, but the gamble paid off and the old dear and I have a fab evening all round.
Would I go back with my own money? It’s already pencilled in my diary for a few weeks time as part of the final leg of my aforementioned pizza challenge, I can’t say I’m going to end up as a regular (too many other places to try) but it definitely did the job.
Have you been to Jamie’s Italian? Where is your favourite place to eat pizza in Brighton? Please do comment below or tweet me x