Hungry, tired, jet lagged and a little travel weary having just landed into London from Dubai we decided to grab a bite to eat early on in the evening. We had nothing special in mind, just wandering around Covent Garden in the hope we would be enticed by a) the look of the restaurant, b) the menu and c) the price. As it happened we stumbled upon Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden which we were delighted to find ticked all 3 boxes.
Located on Upper St.Martin’s Lane and Slingsby Place, in Covent Garden, the restaurant has a super corner position with some outside tables on the traffic free courtyard side. It really does look inviting and was already quite busy which always seems to be a good sign.
The menu is displayed outside together with the daily specials board, we found some great choices, obviously Italian cuisine is what this place is all about.
We entered and knowing it was already pretty busy, we thought there might be a wait, however, to our surprise we were immediately taken downstairs only to discover a huge basement kitchen (all on show to the diner, very encouraging) and another spacious restaurant level. Not at all pokey which was a huge relief.
Our table was quite small, the seating consisted of a leather bench along the wall and a chair to the side. It was fine, more kitchen furniture than dining room would be a fair description.
Jamie’s menu offers a good choice of starters, including his famous planks. All good fresh food with tasty oils and dressings. The pastas are made by hand on site fresh each day. Unfortunately for us, our travel tums could only face one course, but looking around at the other tables we could see that the planks are indeed very popular. They come in a variety of different choices including, chargrilled vegetables, cured meats, cheeses, pickles and lovely crunchy salads. All of which are accompanied with the usual excellent olive oils and fresh herbs.
The mains consist of lots of delicious sounding pasta dishes, including the old favourites, lasagne, penne, bolognese and spaghetti dishes. There are some wonderful risotto’s, vongole, linguine and then the usual restaurant staples such as lamb, chicken, turkey, beef-burger, selection of steak dishes, a fish of the day, fresh salads and some really good vegetarian options.
We opted for ‘him’ – beefburger and fries and ‘me’ – the baked shetland salmon. The kitchen provided our mains in no time at all. The presentation was excellent. His burger came towering on the presentation board looking like the leaning tower of Pisa, the usual gherkin, mozzarella, bacon and leaves. My salmon was served with a generous helping of salad leaves coated with a superbly tasting lemony Westombe Dairy ricotta dressing, accompanied by roasted vegetables, carrots and beets. The salmon was perfectly cooked with crispy skin and a generous amount of coarse salt and pepper.
We opted for still water, a large bottle was served and a glass each of the house wine, ‘him’ red, ‘me’ the white. No complaints there either.
The staff are very attentive (not overly so), but you feel confident that they have been trained well. Full compliments to Jamie’s team for ensuring this confidence shines through from the waiting staff to the customer.
So, we didn’t take coffee or desert and the bill came when requested. The bill was not at all painful! Taking into consideration this is one of the most visited areas of central London, also, a very well known Chef’s restaurant we were more than happy to pay the £40 bill and leave a nice tip for the staff.
In summary, Jamie’s Italian delivered everything you would want from a popular central London restaurant without charging over the top prices. Its a shame we didn’t sample the Dubai one also, but we will on our next visit there!
Even the washrooms were excellent!
Hotels close by
♦ Covent Garden Area is less than 5 minutes from the restaurant
♦ Bloomsbury is only a ten minute walk away
♦ St Giles Hotel is a great cheap option if you want to stay in a prime area.
Ian and Janice contribute to various websites about their travels and experiences.
♦ Their claim to fame is producing the very first internet travel site in the UK.
♦ Since those heady days of internet pioneering, they spend their time being on a permanent “gap year” with an ever growing love affair with the culture of the Middle East and Far East.
♦ Loves: Bangkok for its food; Hong Kong for its vibrancy; London for its interest factor; the Spanish; Marbella in winter; Formula 1 and fishing (only Ian).