Jamie Oliver gets a lot of stick (not least from me; I can’t often tolerate his matey, geezerish schtick) but his chain of Jamie’s Italian restaurants are, I have to confess, pretty good. I’ve eaten at a few of them, but had never been to the relatively recent one in Piccadilly Circus, which used to be a solid, old man;s pub. it’s on four floors (most of which were full on the Friday night D and I went) and the best thing is a secret roof garden, which we put ourselves on the waiting list for. We got there just before 7 and by 7.20 we were sitting under a string of light bulbs, on a little patch of space lined with colourful cushions, chairs and tables, and a bar at one end. It was warm, it was the start of spring, and we were going onwards to watch Blade Runner on the big screen at the BFI – how North London were we?!
Anyway, we were a bit pressed for time, but service, while a bit chaotic, was pretty efficient, and smiley throughout. D started with the Tuscan style chicken liver bruschetta (I’d have snapped it but it was gone in seconds, though he did let me have some, and you could taste the vin santo in it; it was smooth and rich, a bit like George Clooney). I fancied the thought of fresh crab, so i had that on bruschetta, which came with sliced fennel (which seems to be de rigeur alongside starters these days, not that I mind), lemon and avocado. It was light, airy, and tasted a bit of the sea. Which was just what i wanted.
I decided against pasta for the main; although I think it’s really good here (apparently made on site…or at least that’s what they used to say). But D went for the tagliatelle bolognese, which was a good sized portion (I had to help, obvs) and was…enamoured. He couldn’t get enough, bless him. I went for the turkey milanese, which didn’t really come as advertised. I suppose I was expecting something a bit like a chicken Kiev, as the menu had described it as ‘stuffed with prosciutto and fontal cheese, breadcrumbed and fried with a free range egg and wild truffle. The dish I got was more like a schnitzel, the turkey breast hammered lean, no ham or cheese in sight, but the fried egg was there, as was the alluring backbeat of truffle. I think I was too focused on getting away in time to make the cinema otherwise I probably would have said something, but what I got was actually really nice; light, perfectly fried, not greasy, and with the truffle taste whispering softly in the background.
An all round lovely evening, basically, and yes, we made it to the film on time. God, what a joy to see Blade Runner at the cinema; it’s stood the test of time, the soundtrack is as achingly beautiful as ever and Harrison…ah, Harrison. Loved loved loved it.