Thursday, March 1, 2012

The upside of misfortune.....

We had been planning to visit the new Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant, Jamie’s Italian, that has just opened in the Sydney CBD. It was our last day in this wonderful city and after a bit of online orientation, we found ourselves at the door in good time for early lunch. There is no option to book so first in, best dressed! Joe turned to me and asked me if I was sure it had been a good idea to wear white.
It was 11.45am when we arrived and the place was buzzing. Initially I thought there was a line up but it turned out to be a bit of congestion probably due to the fact that you want (need) to take the space in as you get to the service desk! The restaurant is deep and appears skinny but this is due to the two-floor layout. The décor is an industrial mix of forged steel and concrete but softened by multi coloured steel chairs, fresh food hanging from preparation bars, food produce on display and of course, ubiquitous cookbooks and Jamie branded merchandise.
The maître d’ checked us out as we requested our table for four, acknowledged we had children with us, pulled out a drawer under the counter and began hunting through. Inside were red viewfinders. She handed one to L and explained that inside was the kid’s menu. Now my kids are a bit more of the ‘electronic’ generation so they were bamboozled with this device but Joe and I thought it was hysterical. After a bit of instruction L checked out his options. Then for fun, we all checked out his options. Well done Mr Oliver, having kids has certainly sparked your imagination and understanding of children’s behavior in restaurants.

We were led upstairs and sat adjacent a counter laden with prosciutto, salami, garlic, chilli and tomatoes all hanging from an overhead counter. In this area alone there was capacity for around 30 diners. Walking around revealed the restaurant could probably take at least 150!

Our waiter was amazing, young, Italian, stylish and full of verve for the menu. He told us he tries the specials in the morning and congratulated us on our choices. Joe asked for a wine recommendation and wasn’t disappointed. We shared an entrée of buffalo ricotta and roasted pumpkin bruschetta. Awesome! The breads sat in a little tin lined with brown paper that featured an illustration of Jamie’s Vespa. Sweet. The meals were delivered on and in rustic white plates and bowls. The linen napkins were blue and white and branded ‘Jamie’s Italian’. Nice touch and I found myself lusting after a set. But the food….oh the food, I almost licked my plate. Ricotta ravioli with lemon and mint. Magnificent!

As we sat back in our chairs, self-congratulating our cleverness at visiting this exceptional restaurant, the waiter started to clear the table. As he picked up L’s plate that had been spaghetti bolognaise, a few stray strands of left-over pasta flew from the plate right into my lap. After Joe’s comment earlier that day, he drew and audible gasp. The waiter was motionless, holding his breath staring at my white top now speckled with orange sauce, waiting for my reaction. What did I do? I laughed out loud, picked off the bits of past and thanked him for his deposit. After all, he didn’t do it on purpose and it’s only bolognaise sauce, nothing a little bit of washing powder isn’t going to fix. But the best bit. When I returned from the ‘ladies’ (which is beautiful, by the way) there was a little ‘Jamie’ bag on my chair. Inside was set of napkins. I looked across the room to our waiter who held his finger to lips as I mouthed ‘thank you so much’.

Now if only I could restrain myself like that at the ‘self-service supermarket checkouts’!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, so jealous! It looks & sounds awesome! I might have checked it out but the Sydney trips have fallen through - someone else got the nod. And right after I saw that the HP exhibition has been extended too! Ah well.....