Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jamie’s Italian, Sydney

All right, this one is about Jamie’s Italian. One work day which was going pretty crazy and I stepped out to meet another colleague of mine, whom I was meeting after many months. Being a Tuesday, I was vegetarian and as we walked from Kent to Clarence to George to Pitt, we were walking aimlessly until I saw this shop which I had crossed a few times before.

I had wondered what was so special, because it didn’t have a board outside and that there was always so much of a rush to get in. From the outside, it looked more like a small wine bar. Now on this day again, pardon my ignorance, but I had no clue. I stepped in and then waited in the waiting area, where for the first time; I saw a bit more of the restaurant. The waiting area had the bottle of wines and loads of dry pasta’s. A long elongated corridor with seats on both sides. The interiors were a bit rustic and modern at the same time. A very cozy touch. It was here after seating I realized the connection with the famous Jamie Oliver.

As we were seated, the beautiful lady waiter came over and introduced herself and presented the menu. It was then when I looked at the menu, that I realized it was Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. The Menu had a number of items, and to be honest, I was scanning for the vegetarian options.  It was confusing and yet interesting. The bruschetta, pasta’s and risotto’s and the mains. Well, I was quite tempted to break my vow for vegetarianism and order the chicken. Nonetheless, I thought it might be a good change. In the vegetarian mains, I was recommended by my colleague for either the risotto with truffles, or the ravioli with spring pea and mint or the cannoleni. Now at this stage, I am clueless and I just decide to go for the ravioli. My colleague orders the risotto with the truffle.

For entrée, we order the Baked Mushroom. The waitress recommended the daily special which was the bruschetta spinach, and pumpkin.

The entrée were served first. The bruschetta was fresh and refreshing. It was topped with white creamy thing which I suspect would have been ricotta cheese but not sure. Over it was the spinach and pumpkin and pine nuts. Lovely. It was quite different from the regular brushetta’s. It had fresh flavor of soft cheese and the pumpkin pieces made it a bit sweet.

Next came the baked mushrooms. Now this one is unbelievable and amazing. Served on a small earthen ware with mushrooms and topped with smoked buffalo cheese.  The taste was just awesome and highly recommended.  Just baked and molten cheese and mushrooms.

My main course dish was the spring pea and mint ravioli. A green colored dish with peas, and a bit of leafy stuff on the top. There were broad and green beans and ravioli stuffed with potatoes. On this entire greenish dish, we had white ricotta cheese. The base of the dish was a green relish, which has a very minty flavor. The dish to me was quite simple and flavorsome.  The beans were fresh and crunchy. The ravioli and the slight base of mint and leaves was very good. To me I liked it as it was new, but would I have it again? May be not. Why? Well the dish didn’t have anything bad in it, it’s just that I would probably try something new.  This one was nice but not out of the world Id say.

The other dish which my colleague had ordered for himself and I tried it was the risotto with the truffles.   

The risotto which is basically rice along with butter, parmesan and truffles looked pretty ok. But then one spoonful and it was heavenly. Very flavor some and buttery. The wild truffles. Well to be honest I didn’t know what truffles were until I was told that truffles are one of the most expensive things to eat and they are found as abnormalities in the roots of pine trees. This dish to me was amazing and out of the world. Id die to go back and have that wild truffle risotto again to be honest.

All in all very flavorsome and great food. The service is great as well. Prices well you can always order the mains as a mains or as an entrée as well where the serving size is smaller. The pasta’s and risotto’s are about $12 -$20 as a smaller portion of serving whereas if you order it as a main course it would range from $18-$28.

A meal for two would cost $40-$80.

Quick Update: I visited again today for the second time. Ordered the mushrooms and the truffle rissotto. The assessment still holds true and I am a stronger and bigger fan of Jamie's. Another colleague who came with me ordered the squid ink seafood pasta and it was quite unique.  Well, he liked the dish and when I asked him if he'd come again, the answer was most definitely yes.

Would I go there again? For sure.
Would I recommend it? Mostly definitely.

Monday - Sunday
11:30am - Late

Jamie's Italian
107 Pitt Street
Sydney, NSW

PHONE NUMBER +61 2 8240 9000

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Baia The Italian

All right, this one is about Baia The Italian. Another Friday evening, and a lot of me time. A few schooners by myself, and then walk down to Darling Harbor.  Great weather, and a bit tipsy, the world looks beautiful. Just me time with myself alone. Anyways, IMAX has a show at 8:30 for the movie 300: The rise of an empire. Now I had 1.5 hours to kill and a Friday mood to party. I decide to go up to Baia The Italian.
The restaurant is right on the cockle bay wharf, overlooking the harbor, with great impeccable views. Just amazing to get a seat outside and take the view as the sun sets down. As I arrive, there is quite a line of people standing outside to view the menu and to decide if they wish to go in or not. As I walk in and the lady at the reception indicates the available seats. I decide to settle into the comfortable longe seats on a small table inside from where you get a good view of the harbor.
Looking at the menu, I quickly see the appetizers, a whole selection of wine and cheese. Especially the cheese platter and all the different types of cheese had me like the character from the chipmunks, who used to get hypnotized when he heard or smelt cheese.

Anyways, I quickly look at my options. No Beef and Pork. No worries, lot of vegetarian options available. But I aint eating vegetarian. There are pizza’s as well and boy they do look delicious when they serve at a nearby table.  Pastas as well, but again, I am looking for chicken and not too many options to be honest. If you like fish, there are a number of fish dishes- the pastas, pizza’s and just the grilled barramundi’s and salmon.

I settle for the main course with Chicken. It’s the free range chicken supreme served with capsicum and eggplant caponata. Now I have been used to some modern Australian fine dining and I was probably thinking about this to be another version of the grilled chicken with some mash, cheese, and asparagus. So when I ordered this, I didn’t see any of the regular description and wondered what the capsicum and eggplant would be like.  Well, as I continued with my peroni’s and the beautiful view of the habor, it took about 20-25 minutes for the main course to be served. As it was served, well it looked beautiful. It was the chicken breast with a small symbolic bone jutting out. Served on a white plate, with this bright red base which looks very colorful and gooey. One dig into the breast with the  knife and I can tell you, it was so soft and juicy and yet cooked. Now might sound difficult, but I have probably never had a chicken breast cooked to such perfection. Crispy skinned outside and very soft inside. The base consisted of eggplants, tomato base and basil along with olives. The taste of the base was good, and Id say a bit different. Not too conventional, but yes it was nice. A new taste for me as well. So the main course does get a thumbs up from me.

Once finished, I asked for the desert menu and ordered the tiramisu with chocolate and berries. I requested the waiter that I need to be out in the next 10 minutes as the movie is about to begin and boy the service was fast and receptive. The tiramisu, was heaven. Just unbelievably awesome. I loved it. The tiramisu, topped with chocolate powder and a pattern of chocolate sauce and berries. I think this really made it my heart soar and make me feel that the meal had hit the spot.

All in all a great dinner with myself. 

The main course $30-40. The starters range from $10-25. Pizza’s and pasta’s are in the range of $25-$30. Overall meal for one can be about $ 50.

Well, being on the harbor, claiming to be fine dine, has good service, well dressed staff and all. The prices are a bit high and the food to be honest is just about ok- I mean its not too wow or out of the world Id say. I got a feel it might be a bit touristy. 

114 Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour 2000

(02) 9283 3434 

Baia The Italian on Urbanspoon