There have been a lot of restaurant openings of late in Brisbane, which as a bit of a self-confessed foodie (i.e. I have a good appetite), has been quite exciting.
My only qualm is that many of these have been, and continue to be, American food joints, which, while I enjoy on the odd occasion, there are only so many kilo ribs, cheesy fries and deep-fried morsel one can eat in a lifetime.
So, when I heard Jamie’s Italian was finally coming to Brisbane, it was met with a feeling that was part elation, part relief - and one part hunger.
Needless to say, I was quick to try it out.
The Brisbane location is the biggest of Jamie’s Australian restaurants. The two level Rowes Arcade space can seats about 260 guests, with a bar at the entrance, and two visible kitchens (a large one on the bottom floor and a much smaller, salumi station up top) which at any one time might house 30 or so chefs.
I headed in with my partner, sitting at a small booth setting in the upstairs area, nestled up against some of Jamie’s latest cookbooks and napkin sets - which were all available for purchase should you get the urge to recreate some of the dishes at home.
For entrée, our bubbly waitress recommended we shared the cured meats plank, before both settling in for the prawn linguine.
The meat plank, balanced on a pair of tinned tomatoes, was tasty, ranging from prosciutto to wagyu bresoala, accompanied by pickled chillies and their own artisanal mortadella created especially for the restaurant.
The linguini was as you’d expect, perfectly cooked, topped with plenty of prawns and tomato, just enough garlic and a hint of fennel and chilli.
And the visit wouldn’t have been complete without a side of Jamie’s famous polenta chips; crispy fried pieces of polenta sprinkled with parmesan and rosemary. Wickedly moreish, I could imagine going back and asking for a schooner and a large bowl of these just on their own on a Friday night.
The drinks list has both imported Italian and Australian wines, Italian-inspired cocktails and a small selection of beer.
There are desserts of course (the epic brownie is as it says) as well as local food specials that our waitress tells us go back to Jamie and his team to cook up first before appearing on that day’s blackboard. Everything is well-priced too; pastas are all under $30, and most desserts around $10.
Simple, honest, and utilising premium produce, Jamie’s Italian sets the benchmark for vibrant, fuss-free Italian that tastes delicious. Happy days.
237 Edward St, the City
P 3144 3000 www.jamieoliver.com