When planning a weekend getaway to the big smoke, I mostly get excited about organising the dining itinerary. It’s only a short one-hour drive away, but Brisbane’s culinary standards sure are of an international quality. Recently on a romantic escape with my partner, we stayed at the fabulous NEXT Hotel (review to follow as this place was totally next level – see what I did there?). Centrally located on Queen Street Mall, all I can say is hello David Jones! After an early check in on Saturday, we strolled down the mall and after taking a sharp left (with a quick detour through Louis Vuitton, naturally) we stepped into a little, or should I say large, slice of London with an Italian flavour. Hello heaven, aka Jamie’s Italian.
We were greeted by a delightful British host who was able to seat us for lunch right there and then. It was Saturday at 1pm and we were surprised and totally thrilled to get in. The first thing you notice about Jamie’s Italian is that all the staff are literally little Jamies, both in male and female form. True Brits, plaid shirts, and cheeky grins, we instantly knew this was going to be a blast.
The fabulous decor will take your breath away – suddenly you feel like you can’t possibly be in Brisbane. We were lucky enough to be positioned at a bar-like cooking station surrounded by hanging meats, cheeses, cooking tools and garlic. I don’t know about you, but I love sitting at a spot like this; I really feel a part of all the action.
Our divine English hostess helped us with the drinks menu (all Italian selections of course), and we settled for a Rosé and Messina beer.
Next was the lunch menu and we literally could have ordered everything. From crispy gnocchi bits, to cured meats, to Jamie’s famous polenta chips, we were both torn and excited for what was about to delight us. We opted for the fried three-cheese gnocchi with fiery arrabbiata dip, the beef carpaccio ‘my way’, crispy arancini and the crispy squid. Ok, so we may have over ordered, but you would too if you saw the menu (no judging)! The dishes came out and I was so incredibly over-excited that snapping the goods for this review totally slipped my mind and it was all gone before I could even blink. Darn!
After recomposing myself, I whipped out my camera in hot preparation to capture what heaven on a plate would be delivered next. Again, don’t judge, it was all just too incredible. And it’s Jamie – you just have to!
My partner opted for Jamie’s Italian burger, which had a chargrilled beef patty (the best he’s ever had) with melted fontina cheese in a brioche bun (oh, yes!), fried onion rings and grilled mortadella. The god of all burgers, really!
And little ol’ Italian me couldn’t look past the lamb and ricotta tortellini with braised Aussie lamb, creamy ricotta, lemon, mint and crunchy, herby bread crumby goodness – it was simply everything.
Lunch wouldn’t be complete without attempting to feel good about yourself by ordering a rocket and radicchio salad and then completely overruling that attempt by ordering the posh chips with truffle oil and parmesan.
What I haven’t mentioned yet is that this pricing is absolutely and mind-blowingly affordable. Jamie, I really liked you before, now I totally love you. Feeling completely overindulged and winning at life, we rolled on out of there for a big full-bellied nap in our lush king-sized bed.