Jamie's Italian - Sydney CBD

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon
Truffled risotto - done and served just right

We were fortunate to have Andy attend to us. Andy engaged us right form the beginning with a fun sense of welcome, coupled with initiative, knowledge and a natural countenance.  He sensed that we needed efficiency, like lunchtime was sandwiched between some urgent dictates -  and he dived into getting us going, with a rather thoughtful list of possible drinks, finally winding up with an encouraging
nurturing for us to try dessert.  Andy organised us like a good mate and reliable confidante, quashing any stuffiness with impeccable delivery and relaxing mood. Fresh pepper was ground in front of us with a relish that made this an inherent part of the food experience - and he knew when to leave us to our own devices. Jamie's did have background noise but it was relatively okay and we did not overly mind this.  Tables filled up quickly and the staff quietly went about their business. The ambiance was not overly dark but customers settled into a sort of cocooned shade inside. We could have a conversation, we enjoyed what we ordered and I reckon we would come back again at the next opportunity.

The truffled turkey Milanese - Turkey, rocket, omelette and garnishing -maybe more fusion than Italian?  What stood out  from the extensive menu was the good choice in salads - winter walnuts, pumpkins and smoked mozzarella nachos or simple baked mushrooms. There are also Sicilian sardine bruschettas. A combination of both Italian and Australian sourced wines set the pace at the beginning.  If you prefer beer, there are only two options - Messina or Castello.  You have access to a wider selection of cocktails priced in their mid teens.  With names like funky and posh chips, one quickly realises the Brit behind the scenes - and those wanting for authentic Italian may then begin to revolt.  There are only four fish dishes for an Australian setting.   Maybe this reflects truly cosmopolitan rather than just Italian.

A rather simple salad (foreground) to accompany the bucatini. (background)

Located at the northern end of Sydney CBD, with its potential for a variety of corporate, tourist and young demographics, Jamie's Italian is a business reality that is operating in various cities in Australia, UK and more. I reckoned if it was just known as Italian, rather than with a prefix of Jamie, there may be a different response in some expectations and perceptions. Jamie Oliver's branding can be a two edged sword, but my own experience tells me to just judge the food and not the possible hype surrounding it.
Long queues tolerated just to get a table can be resolved by avoiding rush hour.  I did find the service was happily responsive and the food came relatively quick. The energy shown by both the cooking and serving staff manifested itself in the vibes, taste and dynamics. Jamie's in Sydney occupies a rather large customer area, with two floors, an attempt at graffiti over raw brick and resulting perhaps in a decor that is both Tuscany and London.  There is a positive buzz about it and I am grateful for the generous aisles between tables.  Bookings in advance are only accepted if there are more than six diners - and if you have less than that in your group, they must all be present before they can be seated. I watched in earnest as a  young female staff gingerly concentrated on her making fresh pasta at the front waiting area - this landing lobby on the ground floor is however smallish, but the queues wait mostly outside rather than inside.  I prefer the upper floor with its height and looking all over like having a bird's eye view of the venue. There may be three separate open kitchens in addition to the bar. Echoing a large and long Paddington terrace, Jamie's in Sydney city has high ceilings that suggest of farm barns and rural perspectives.  I loved the wood colour of the tables and accompanying themes.  Breads come with the water but in a  selection of various forms and not just of one chunky type - they are more like to get our appetites going.  Despite a rather busy regime, someone does come to ask if your food is going all right and if you would like anything else. And of course, we had Andy.

Absolutely adorable and a must try - scoops of your preferred flavoured ice cream with all those enhancing crushed nuts and seeds.   The Tutti Fruitti Lemon Meringue pie was another winner - sharp enough, not overpowering but with a  healthy crusty bite.