It has become an annual event to go see a Christmas show. This year, it was Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. A slightly dark take on the classic fairytale with amazing dancers and sets.
After our festive show, it was time to fill our tummies. As we were in Angel, there were quite a few choices. The consensus was to go for Italian food and what better place to head to, than Jamie’s Italian.
Jamie’s Italian is in the fairly new, recently renovated Angel Building. As it was Christmas time, everything was looking very festive contributed also by the fairy lights and soft lighting. The bar area is separated from the restaurant by the deli shop. We were seated in one of the curved booth areas on the upper level.
The big festive feast began with a range of antipasti plates. Smoked mozzarella features heavily on the menu if you are looking for vegetarian dishes. Sliced chestnut mushrooms on the thin crispy bread was the baked dish. It was topped with smoked mozzarella and fresh thyme. The mushrooms were not overcooked and the bread was crispy.
The Pumpkin and Smoked Mozzarella Nachos were not what we were expecting. Instead of tortilla chips, these were crispy fried ravioli. Once we had accepted that the nachos were in fact filled pasta pillows, they were enjoyable. It was served with a spicy arrabbiatta sauce. One thing that was a bit strange about these nachos was that there were a few chunks of amaretti biscuits randomly on the plate. We came to the conclusion that they were not supposed to be there and that they had accidently come from one of the dessert dishes in the kitchen.
The last starter dish was Stuffed Risotto Balls. This time the filling was porcini with smoked mozzarella. The risotto balls were big, crispy and tasted good.
The food was cooked and served in a range of terracotta dishes and rustic plates. Small silver pots contained the chips and the breads. The Funky Chips went down a treat. They were chunky, crispy, skin on and were sprinkled with parsley and slivers of garlic.
The Italian bread selection had been stacked into the pot in an orderly fashion. The bread was fresh from the artisan bakery. All the breads were great and included rosemary foccacia, sourdough, tortano, crispy “music” bread and ciabatta. It was served with the classic combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The Famous Polenta Chips were pieces of polenta that had been fried. They were sprinkled with rosemary salt and parmesan. They tasted okay but I enjoyed the funky chips more.
After lots of chatter, we felt that it was time for the next course. The Pasta alla Norma was spaghetti with aubergine, chilli, basil and oregano. This was a classic Sicilian pasta with the rich tomato sauce bringing all the flavours together.
The Honeycomb Cannelloni 3 Ways was an interesting dish. The cannelloni were cut into small tubes and baked. The 3 ways, meant that the fillings were either aubergine and sun-dried tomato, pumpkin, or ricotta and spinach. It was a bit of a chance on which flavour of cannelloni you would get. Although all of the fillings were tasty, my personal preference was the aubergine and sun-dried tomato one.
The best risotto that I have ever had has to be this one here at Jamie’s Italian. The Wild Truffle Risotto was made with finely minced black truffle. Even though the risotto had butter and parmesan, it was so light yet creamy. It was not claggy and stodgy like risottos that I have had at other places.
Dessert time meant more indulgence. Sharing desserts is always fun and makes it more interesting. What could be better than Tiramisu?! The answer is Tiramisu made with orange mascarpone. The coffee trifle, creamy orange mascarpone and chocolate were a match made in heaven.
Even though the Sour Cherry Bakewell was described as being made with tart berries, I was happy that it was still fairly sweet. The slice had a delicious almond filling. The clementine rippled sour cream went really well with the cherry and almondy cake.
The classic Warm Brownie was given a nice twist by being made with raspberry and amaretto. The brownie was rich and chocolaty and it had to be had with the vanilla ice cream.
The staff were friendly and gave service with a smile. The service was slightly slow at times, like when we asked for extra drinks or cutlery.
Jamie’s Italian gave us a great food and a good atmosphere for our early Christmas celebrations. Even though the restaurant was very busy, it wasn’t overly noisy like it can be when there are lots of people. The big size and different levels of the dining area may have contributed to this.
There is a nice display of big trays of coloured pasta at the entrance of the restaurant. The deli shop has a good range of foodie gifts that you could treat yourself to or give as presents.
Jamie’s Italian, North Retail, Angel Building, 403 St John Street, Islington, London, EC1V 4ABRating: