I've always preferred pasta and those proper Italian pizzas to any other food....well...Greek food is a close second but Italian is my passion.
In 2012 Jamie's Italian was opened in The Royal Arcade in Norwich. This is a beautiful location, and although in the main city centre, in the perfect location amongst all of the shops, is down a back street so you can avoid seeing the hustle and bustle of busy shoppers and city workers.
I was recently contacted to visit Jamie's Italian Norwich, which was rather exciting as I hadn't yet managed to visit! Which is quite shameful given how long it has been open.
My mum had a week off work so we planned a girly lunch, along with a mini shopping spree because it would be rude not to!
When it comes to parking there are lots of options in Norwich, however if visiting Jamie's Italian I would recommend parking in either the Castle Mall car park or at The Forum. These are both cheaper options and the Castle Mall car park is pretty much guaranteed to have spaces.
Before visiting I assumed that the restaurant was only small and was only on the ground floor. That was until we went in and were lead up some stairs to a beautiful room perfectly laid out with a variety of tables and chairs to suit any number of guests.
We were seated near the window, which was lovely as we do like to people watch and the light was perfect for a lunch date.
I'm always quite big on customer service and I think how you are greeted when you enter a restaurant is just as important as the quality of the food.
The staff could not be faulted at all. If only I was on the ball enough to have got their names!
As we entered we were greeted by a female member of staff who walked us upstairs to our table. Not only did she make us feel welcome but she took her time to talk to us as she walked us to our table and as we sat she explained that this was the first day of their new menu. This wasn't something I, or the PR, had planned and was quite by chance. She explained that the staff had all had a taster of the new menu the previous night and that they were all really excited about it.
Our waitor then came over and told us of the specials and what I particularly liked about this was that he didn't just list them, he went into detail about how each dish was cooked and again, he was passionate about it. You could tell that it was genuine passion too, and at the end of the meal I had a really lovely conversation with this gentleman (I really wish I had got his name!) as he talked to me about the menu, how the menus are different depending on which restaurant you visit, and also about how this is the first time that the menu in the restaurant has worked alongside the release of one of Jamie's recipe books.
So, should we get down to what we ordered?
For drinks, although tempted to order a glass of wine, we instead ordered the homemade lemonade. We had a regular homemade lemonade and also a special pink lemonade. My mum preferred the pink lemonade and I went for the regular lemonade which was...hardly surprising but still....very strong. I find this perfect with an Italian meal because I feel like it cleanses the palette and also reminds me of Limoncello...which is never a bad thing hey?!
Starters:ITALIAN NACHOS Crispy fried ravioli stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta & Bella Lodi, served with spicy Sicilian tomato sauce
SPICY MEATBALL BRUSCHETTA Free-range pork & fennel meatballs in a fiery ‘nduja tomato sauce with lemony rocket & Parmesan
BAKED CRESPELLE Spinach, Westcombe ricotta & basil baked in gluten-free buckwheat pancakes with smoked mozzarella, sweet buttery leeks, Sicilian tomato sauce & Parmesan
PENNE CARBONARA Crispy chunks of smoked pancetta, sweet buttery leeks, lemon & a traditional carbonara sauce
TIRAMISU The classic Italian dessert topped with chocolate shavings & orange zest
I have a bit of a thing for Nachos. If they are on a menu then I have to have them...so give me the option of an Italian version and BOOM! I'm in heaven. The Italian Nachos were honestly, incredible. Crispy on the outside with a soft cheesy filling, these were a great alternative to the 'crisp style' nachos you are served elsewhere. The chilli dip was also a perfect accompaniment.
WARM SOUR CHERRY FRANGIPANE Whipped mascarpone, crushed
amaretti & fresh mint tips
I think what we both liked most about our meals was that, alongside being fresh and full of flavour, we didn't feel uncomfortably full and bloated like you can do after a meal with carbs! Let's face it, when you are then going shopping and potentially trying on quite fitted tops and dresses the last thing you want is to be bloated!
My mum ordered the Carbonara and was impressed at being able to order a smaller portion, especially when it arrived and was an impressive size any!
The chilli fries were a nice alternative to normal fries, although a little tip, try and mix them up a bit as we found a lot of the chilli coating had dropped to the bottom of the pot it was served in.
We couldn't fault our visit at all, and plan to visit again one evening so we can also try out the cocktails.
If you are ever in Norwich I highly recommend giving Jamie's Italian a visit...you won't be disappointed.
(It's also right near Joules so, perfect hey?!)