City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Jamie's Italian Edinburgh


Average Rating:
4
Restaurant Photos
Photo of the Edinburgh restaurant
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
New Town, Edinburgh
Serving times: 
Mon–Sat noon–11pm, Sun noon–10.30pm.
Telephone: 
(0131) 202 5452
Restaurant Established: 
12

The Naked Chef touches down in the heart of Edinburgh's consumer district.


The Reviews

4

Brand Jamie Arrives in Edinburgh.

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 5:49pm

Brand Jamie has crash-landed into Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, and the results are most definitely pukka. Master Oliver has come a long way in the past fourteen years, from his early cheeky chappie persona as The Naked Chef to his ubiquitous current presence when scarcely a day goes by without him exhorting us to “pimp” up our ingredients or insisting that it’s possible to make an edible lamb tagine in fifteen minutes.

So it was with some trepidation that I paid a visit to his first venture into Scotland’s capital, on the back of a successful few years in Glasgow. Thankfully, the evening was a great success, with the odd reservation.

With entrances on both George Street and Rose Street, Jamie’s Edinburgh Italian job consists of two large dining rooms, one slightly more plusher with a delicatessen section and bar area and the other more of a canteen setting with open kitchens. On this particular Thursday, both rooms were packed to capacity. Jamie’s name precedes him, and booking seems more than advisable.

While the service is impeccably friendly and polite, sometimes the staff are slightly more informal in the owner’s “Bish-bash-bosh” style than may be required or desired. While our first waiter was certainly enthusiastic, his unwavering eye contact and menu preaching did have a slightly messianic quality.

The bulk of the menu is split into sections such as Antipasti, Pasta, Mains, Sides, etc, though many of the pasta and risotto dishes are served in different portion sizes, should the diner wish to make either a starter or main course of them. The Antipasti section offers a veritable delight of Italian delicacies, mostly around the £4 mark, but we decide to try one of the “planks”.

These are platters based around either vegetable, meat or fish options and offer a taster selection of antipasti. The meat “plank” comes with a decent selection of Italian meats such as prosciutto and mortadella, plus mozzarella and pecorino cheese with chilli jam as well as olives, capers and accompanying salad. At just £6.95, this would make an excellent repast in itself with a beer or glass of wine.

I also try one of the pasta dishes as starter, black angel spaghetti with scallops, chilli, anchovies and parsley. It makes for a strange dish in appearance, the black squid ink spaghetti in a mound with pale slices of scallop on the side, but it is utterly delicious. The scallop slivers melt in the mouth, while the accompanying chilli broth gives a pleasing after-wallop. Excellent, and bodes well for the pasta side of this menu.

My co-diners’ mains are split between the lamb stew, which is hearty and sturdy if somewhat unadventurous, as well as wild rabbit tagliolini in which Thumper has been cooked in a slow ragu served with mascarpone and lemon. The flavours are outstanding, but a slight dryness to the pasta has set in.

I am near overwhelmed by my Italian mixed grill, which is basically a plateful of protein and perfect for the carnivore in your life. An array of beef and lamb chops, skewers, sausages with accompanying rabbit and guinea fowl and the odd kidney, it comes with a red pepper sauce and caper berries. It is a whole lot of meat and, while very well cooked, I could have done with some kind of side dish to balance it. Mains prices vary from £10-£20.

Desserts are a bit disappointing, and I think the staff might know it as there is none of the fanfare which accompanied our earlier dishes on table arrival. Poached winter fruits arrive cold and hard, while the tiramisu could be out of a packet. My chocolate and vin santo pot is perfectly nice, but would also have been pretty hard to mess up.

A slightly mixed bag from young Master Oliver, then, but the quality of the food which hit the mark combined with generally excellent service and a terrific buzz in the dining rooms make this a destination restaurant worthy of Edinburgh city centre.