I remember the very first time I visited Jamie's Italian in Nottingham. A restaurant I had seen a lot in my year of living in London, always packed and fully booked, I was delighted to find out we actually had our very own Jamie's in the heart of the Lace Market, one of Nottingham's most famous and historically beautiful areas. I remember expecting the menu to be extremely expensive and went along with a friend as a 'treat'.
Much to my surprise, the prices of everything from the starters, mains and desserts down to the expansive drinks menu were actually all super reasonable, and I ended up indulging in the most flavourful and tasty meal I had ever had in Nottingham. Since then, Jamie's Italian has been my restaurant of choice whenever I am in Nottingham, a restaurant I have been to with my partner, with friends, a restaurant that has become a must whenever I am near.
Last Saturday my partner and I were invited along to Jamie's Italian and we were lucky enough that it was an absolutely beautiful hot summers day with the sun shining bright; meaning for the first time in my two years of visiting Jamie's, I finally got to experience the 'Secret Garden'! Every time I have eaten at Jamie's Italian I have been so intrigued by the garden, but it's always been on days where the weather hasn't been great (typical England), so sitting inside the cosy and homely decorated restaurant was the better option.
As soon as we arrived and we were asked if we'd like to sit outside, I jumped at the chance - and what a fab choice that was. The garden is just as beautiful as the interior of the restaurant. It really felt like you could be sat in your own back garden, a garden filled with beautiful flowers, it didn't feel overdone or as though it had been created with a restaurant in mind; it felt like it had been created with 'home' in mind.
Our waitress for the evening was super lovely and quickly came over to see if we were ready to order drinks and if we had decided on food. Every time I have been to Jamie's Italian I have been so impressed with the staff, who are always incredibly polite, cheerful and very welcoming. Service with a smile is always a bonus when eating out, and that's always an absolute given at Jamie's Italian.
We decided to go for some cooling, refreshing drinks to match the hot weather. My partner had a Strawberry Lemonade, whilst I opted for a Berry Blast. The Strawberry Lemonade was delicious (obviously, I had to give it a try); very unusual for a lemonade but it has a lovely sweet twist and tasted of fresh strawberries. Berry Blast is officially my new drink-addiction, I don't think I have ever tasted anything so good! Strawberry and passion fruit puree, shaken up with lemon, sugar syrup and cranberry juice topped with a fresh raspberry, it made for a super refreshing and tasty non-alcoholic cocktail.
We ordered our food, including starters, main and dessert, and as I have a Gold Club Card we were asked if we'd like to try the June taster. For those of you new to Jamie's Italian, the Gold Club is basically one of the best things ever invented for foodies. A loyalty card, each month Gold Club members get to try a different taster as well as getting a 'treat'. You can have the taster on as many visits as you make to Jamie's during that month, but the treat is a one-off thing. For June the taster was a Tomato, Ricotta & Basil Bruschetta. Absolutely delicious, both me and my partner really enjoyed our taster which was swiftly brought out to us, a very tasty way to start our meal. If you are new to Jamie's Italian or a regular visitor like me, I really, really recommend signing up for the Gold Club; it is absolutely free and has lots of benefits besides the monthly tasters and treats! You can find out more and sign up here.
For our starters we decided to share the Artisan Breads and World's Best Olives on Ice. I have the Artisan Breads to start every single time I go to Jamie's Italian; it's a great starter for sharing and has a delicious selection of breads including freshly baked focaccia, ciabatta, seeded cracker bread, sourdough and grissini, served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with a side of sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade. This was my first time trying the World's Best Olives, and I would definitely have them again; huge, fresh, beautifully ripe green olives served with crispy music bread as well as it's own black olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade.
For my main I decided to go with the same main I'd had during my last visit, because the flavour and taste stuck with me so much I knew I had to have it again! Italian Steak Frites is a scrumptious meal of flash-grilled prime beef steak, cooked rare to medium, served with Italian-spiced skinny fries and crunchy vegetable slaw and chillies. The crunchy slaw is so, so good; made with a lot of kale, it is creamy and crunchy, the perfect refreshing touch for the fries which are perfectly spiced. The cut of steak this time round was different to when I first had the Italian Steak Frites on my last visit, and although perfectly cooked and delicious - I think I prefer the old cut of meat they used to use for this dish.
Like me my partner is a creature of habit and decided to go for the same dish he always has at Jamie's Italian, The Ultimate Burger. Like most blokes he's a typical burger addict and he always has a burger when we're eating out if there's one on the menu. Made with juicy prime British beef topped with mortadella, balsamic onions, tomato, provolone, pickles and chillies, with a side of chips. It looked amazing when it came out!
To finish off our meal we both opted for the Epic Brownie for dessert. I've had the Epic Brownie before and honestly, it turns me into a kid at Christmas; a warm fudgy brownie with vanilla ice cream and caramelised popcorn, it is delish! The brownie itself is perfect; soft, gooey, the perfect mix of fudge and chocolate, with delicious vanilla ice cream that tastes of real and fresh vanilla, with the contrast of the crunchy caramelised popcorn. Definitely one heck of an epic brownie!
Everything from drinks and Gold Club taster, to our starter, main and dessert was as always, absolutely delicious. Flavourful, beautifully presented and perfectly cooked food that leaves you satisfied from first to last bite. Getting to spend the evening in the Secret Garden was such a delight, and it's definitely made me want to head back for another visit as soon as possible to experience the Secret Garden again! I'm already dreaming of another Berry Blast....
*We were kindly invited along to Jamie's Italian and provided
with a discount on our final bill. All views are my own - Disclaimer.