There's lots to like about Jamie's Italian. It's a large restaurant yet manages a really cosy atmosphere. The decoration is a feast to the eye too, simple yet appealing, with lots of wood and food items as well as cooking utensils on display.
As we sat down, the kids were given an activity bag which was a real bag of surprises. Not your usual colouring in/wordsearch with a couple of rubbish crayons that break as soon as you look at them. No, this was a pack that kept the 4 children entertained while waiting for and during the meal. A Chinese fortune teller with a food theme (that actually is still being played with, because this week the girls had a Chinese fortune teller phase, the timing couldn't have been better) came out top for sure.
The menu had so much to choose from, and it's so much more than one would expect from an Italian restaurant. With one family member who doesn't eat cheese, we more often than not opt against Italian food, but this was not an issue here at all. The kids menu is great too, and it was really useful that it can be checked out online because a few in our party were running late and it sped up the ordering process.
kids' menu was refreshingly different with simple but good food and a tub of vegetables to go with it. Yes, there was some humming and hoing, what with this being different to the food they are used to, but one of the four got really upset when one of her carrot slices disappeared into the mouth of another, because it was the longest and thinnest strip out of the pot. It was so refreshing to see that kids didn't get a deep fried carbs meal but a grilled, balanced meal with more vegetables than I've ever seen on a kids menu.
Best of all, the kids meal was actually free, because kids eat free with an adult meal. Wowser. That makes such a difference. The adults had a wide range of different foods and my goodness, it was tasty. Just the right portion too, i.e. enough to leave space for a pudding, but not too little to leave one hungy if pudding is not required.
We spent much longer than expected, which is rare with the kids, usually after about an hour we are keen to leave and give the relevant restaurant a break, but not so here. The kids were having great fun playing together (!) with the activity bag items, and we never felt the urge to leave.
I asked my two a few questions about the experience, they were a bit tired when answering so it's slightly monosyllabic.
- What does Jamie's Italian smell like? Can't remember. Like honey!
- What did you do until your food arrived? Played games, talked. We played with the play bag, there was stuff you can make and colour in.
- What was your first thought about your meal when the waiter brought it to you? - Oh no, there's salad with it! Mummy's garlic bread looked and tasted extremely yummy and it was freshly baked bread.
- What did you eat and how was it? Chicken lollipops and it was good. I liked the way the carrots were cut.
- What do you think your meal was made out of ? Chicken, salad, vegetables, potatoes.
- Did you finish your whole plate? Almost. I didn't eat my salad. I didn't eat my potatoes (i.e. one didn't eat the salad, one didn't eat the potatoes)
- What was the best thing about your meal? The yoghurt dip, the potatoes
- What did your parents have? I don't know. A pasta dish? (yeah, kind of)
- Do you think eating vegetables is very important? Yes (said with a frown)
- Where do you think Italian food comes from? Italy
- What was the best thing about Jamie's Italian? Eating with my cousin. And my whole family. I liked the toilets because you could easily flush them (this may make you laugh but honestly, most toilets are really rather hard to flush for a small 5 year old, and these ones, well, wow. She could flush them herself, and it looked like a cool flush too. Not having to ask for help from mum is huge)
- Would you like to come back in the future? Yes/maybe