It was a pleasure visiting Jamie’s Italian at Vivocity just over a month ago. While the famed chef’s restaurant has been in the scene for a few years now, it is still one of the places that I will think of if craving for some comforting, Italian fare. In an attempt to introduce some of its specialty produce to diners, the restaurant also recently did a two-day gourmet food pop up. And as much as it was a little bazaar to purchase exotic ingredients, it was also partly educational in showcasing part of the work that goes into each dish. Lunch thereafter was one well-appreciated, with just that little awe to how each ingredient could be tastefully used for best possible flavour, and effect.
For the many times I’ve been at the restaurant, the Cured Meat Plank ($16.50++ per person) is one item that will always leave an impression – It could be very well the novel idea of picking things off a platter to savour as though a mini-feast was laid before your very eyes. In this edition, the meat plank has all meats sliced to order ensuring maximum freshness and flavour. Items that stood out for me were the San Daniele Prosciutto and the Bocconcini. The prosciutto was sweet savoury with a good balance of fatty streaks within; the Bocconcini mozzarella always a simple pleasure as I am always guilty for more cheese. And yes, the plank did come with a scattering of my favourite Mammoth green olives, though more could always be appreciated. The only item that did not sit well with me was the Crunchy Salad made up of carrot, heritage beetroot, white radish butternut squash and celeriac. The dressing was weak, and the flavour was distinctly raw and grassy.
I was certainly very pleased when the next dish of Tagliatelle Bolognese ($14.50++) arrived. Apart from the vivid colour play, the aromatic fragrance emerging from the sauce was certainly mouthwatering. The Bolognese, made from good ground beef, pork, red wine and butter, is served atop a very, very decent serving of al-dente tagliatelle infused with pangrattato, herbs, garlic, parmesan and olive oil. Toss it all before tucking in and I’m certain you’ll leave satisfied in its flavour – just as I had.
The Wild Mushroom & Smoked Mozzarella Risotto ($26.50++) that arrived next was a decent portion but my inclination against creamy dishes simply meant that the tagliatelle served earlier was the winner for me. In this risotto rendition, acquerello rice is first cooked with porcini mushroom stock to deeply infuse the earthy mushroom flavours. The dish is then completed with parmesan, parsley, pan-fried mixed forest, oyster and swiss brown mushroom. The first two bites were heavenly, but its heaviness quickly settles in reminding me of comfort food that would be perfect for a stormy, rainy day. Somehow, I’m glad I had the tagliatelle to break the meal up into a dance of flavours on the palate amidst the dreary clouds.
Pizzas are new on the menu at Jamie’s Italian Vivocity, and I must say that it was an impressive start. The special which I had was made with prosciutto, rocket and ricotta cheese. The base tomato sauce was made with cooked tomatoes pushed through a sieve and not blended, therefore retaining a degree of wholesome textures. What caught my attention, however, was the crusty and satisfying pizza base. Its dough is made fresh daily from the premium Italian bread flour, yeast and water before it is shaped through stretch – a key step in allowing the dough to retain its crisp texture and after its oven adventure. I look forward to trying more pizzas from the restaurant!
Molten Chocolate Praline Pudding ($12.50++)
For the sampling of dishes I tried, my favourites have to go to the Tagliatelle Bolognese and the now impressive Pizzas. And of course, if a good risotto sits well with your tastebuds, you might want to give the one at Jamie’s a try. Couple these thoughts with a family and group friendly environment, and Jamie’s Italian is one spot that will have a little niche for some time to come.
Thank you Jamie’s Italian for the invitation.
1 Harbourfront Walk
Reservation: 6733 5500