I’m no food critic. I love good food, but I couldn’t tell you which ingredients and flavours I’m tasting, can’t identify what it is that makes this dish different to that dish, and despite my best attempts to describe what’s going on in my mouth, you probably won’t be able to imagine how the food tastes.
I mean, if you asked me what I thought of my meal at Jamie’s last week, I’d tell you the food at Jamie’s was really yummy.
I mean, look at it.
Okay. You’re probably thinking this review is going to be a little bit shit. And if I was reviewing the food I suppose you have a point.
Thankfully I’m not going to review the food. Instead let me (hopefully less clumsily) describe the venue, the atmosphere, the waiting staff – the vibe of the place.
After all, I’m pretty easily pleased when it comes to food (vegetarian item on the menu that’s not a goat cheese tart? I’ll take it!). It’s the vibe of a place that determines whether I rave about it and take friends there or whether it makes the ‘been there, done that’ list.
Jamie’s falls into the first category. This was the third time I’ve been, but a first for lunch. It feels very different to a Friday night dinner. More open, inviting.
In the light of day you can admire the full beauty of the building that you’re in. Sun streams in through large windows, mustard-coloured lounges sit between between wooden floors and incredibly high ceilings, and timber panelled walls are embellished with specials scrawled onto blackboards. It’s charming, spacious, interesting. What you would expect for a revamped old bank building.
And, of course, there are the beautifully grand lights that hang from the ceiling. I really like them, even if they do remind me of a Medusa / Ood hybrid.
It was lucky we booked, as even for a Tuesday lunch most dining tables were taken. We were shown to our tables, and obviously spent too much time gas bagging* as we were asked by a few waiters if we were ready to order. Usually this annoys me (how hard is it to communicate?) but the staff at Jamie’s were just so darn chirpy, you couldn’t get annoyed.
We were mainly looked after by Morgan, who was friendly, relaxed and engaging. He seemed genuinely happy to be at work and there’s no better advertisement for a place than happy staff.
We ordered a range of nibbles – we’re big fans of platters and food that you can ‘pick at’ in my family. It came out dish by dish. Fairly quickly, though long enough for my mum and sister to get annoyed with my ‘notouchingthefoodyetIwanttotakeaphoto’ rule.
There was mild panic about a potential DIY element after a waitress brought out two tins of tomatoes, but our veggie plank soon appeared on top. It was a cute novelty, in keeping with Jamie Oliver’s signature rustic, thrown together look.
Only criticism I have is that the tables are quite close together. My mum liked them and compared them with tables in France (cue reminiscent tangent about our Euro trip in 2013). Although the high ceilings open the space up, it didn’t prevent me from making unintentional, awkward eye contact with the guy sitting diagonally opposite me one too many times. #notacreepIswear
Conveniently, the table next door had left by the time dessert came around, but tbh my eyes were locked onto the pav and chocolate cheesecake. Yum.
All in all, Jamie’s achieves what it sets out to do – bridge the gap between fancy and casual by serving delicious eats at affordable prices.
I would definitely recommend checking it out. Even if only for the delicious polenta chips 😉
*PS. Just so we’re clear… by gas bagging I mean chattering away, not the definition that I found on urban dictionary when googling whether to spell gas bagging as one word or two. Awkward. Don’t do that in a restaurant. Ever.