When word first got out that the man himself, Jamie Oliver, would be opening a Jamie’s Italian South Africa, foodies and non-foodies alike could barely contain their excitement. Besides being a celebrated cookbook author, having his own television show and selling a range of kitchen- and cookware, Oliver can also proudly boast the vast popularity of his restaurant, now reaching 19 countries across the globe.
By Jana du Plessis
Situated in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, Jamie’s Italian opened late last year to welcome diners to casual Italian dining with a Jamie Oliver flair. The food is simple, fuss-free and the menu is not too long – not because it’s skimpy in it’s offerings, but rather as a result of quality over quantity. Flavours vary between rich tomato sauces, meaty mushrooms and carefully selected seafood options. And, of course, you will find classic Italian touches in cheese, hints of chilli and garlic that round off everything from pizza to pasta, bruschetta to steak.
The dessert and drinks menu continues waving the red, green and white flag. You would have to choose between a creamy panna cotta, Amalfi lemon meringue cheesecake or affogato. Not to mention the epic chocolate brownie and molten chocolate praline pudding! To drink, you cannot go wrong with an Aperol Spritz, but the Bellini, Rossini and straightforward Italian wine will definitely make the decision that much harder.
The restaurant itself is styled with drama and sophistication without being overly decorated or pretentious. Even though it has a relaxing atmosphere, it makes for an excellent choice for celebrations like a birthday or family get-together. Don’t worry about it being too loud or busy, the constant buzz is just enough to keep your spirits high without drowning out your own voice.
From what we’ve seen and heard about this cosy eatery, we certainly think that Cape Town and Durban deserve some Jamie Oliver hospitality too!