After a really enjoyable visit to Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden, London not so long ago, Stuart and I were really looking forward to the branch in the Bullring in Birmingham opening as it is only twenty minutes down the road from us. Therefore, we jumped at the chance when Emma from the Bullring invited us to have a meal there.
Jamie Italian in Birmingham is the biggest of his restaurants so far, with 270 seats. It is set right in the heart of the Bullring opposite St. Martin’s church and has been designed with Birmingham’s Industrial heritage in mind. We arrived on a cold Monday evening at 7.20pm and were greeted by friendly and efficient staff who took us straight to our table, which had the most amazing view of the restaurant interior and the church. The restaurant has high ceilings with exposed pipes and metal, with the most incredible chandeliers I have ever seen.
The atmosphere was buzzing when we were seated but due to the high ceilings the noise did not overwhelm. We browsed the winter menu and as we struggled to decide on a bottle of wine to accompany the meal, the waiter recommended Primivito Di Salento, Cantine Lugi Scritti, a fruity red wine from Puglia. It was so lovely; Stuart and I shared a bottle and had another glass of it to go with our puddings.
To start, we shared a selection of top Italian breads which included focccacia that is baked twice daily on the premises. I can make foccacia ok but mine will never in a million years be as good as the ones I have tried at Jamie Oliver’s restaurants especially this one. It was light and packed with flavour from the rosemary. The olive oil and the balsamic vinegar that was served with the bread were gorgeous too!
After the bread, we each had a bruschetta. Mine had grilled and marinated mushrooms with lemon, thyme and garlic and Stuart’s had oven dried tomatoes, with basil, garlic and creamy ricotta on top. I really enjoyed the mushroom bruschetta but thought that the portion was a bit to large. One piece of bread with the mushrooms on would have been enough for me. Stuart disagreed with this and ate every last bit of his and loved how the basil and the garlic really gave a kick to the tomatoes and creamy ricotta.
For our mains, I had rabbit ragu pappadelle which was rabbit cooked in a broth and served with pappardelle pasta. It was unusual as it had a thin broth like sauce unlike most other pasta sauces. It was light but with the pasta, it was filling and comforting at the same time. Stuart had the grilled Angus sirloin steak, which was cooked to perfection and declared amazing by Stuart. We shared posh chips with truffle oil and parmesan and crunchy salad to go with our mains. The chips were ok, but the best was the salad. It fresh, vibrant and an excellent contrast to both our main dishes.
My favourite course was the pudding as I had the best chocolate, raspberry and amaretto brownie I have ever tasted. It was amazing. I cannot think of words to describe it. It was that good; I think everyone should get down there and try it for themselves. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Stuart had some vanilla ice cream with butterscotch sauce which he deemed excellent as it was creamy, rich and full of vanilla bean seeds.
Overall, we had a fantastic time at Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring. The food was excellent, the atmosphere was buzzing but not on your face and the staff are charming. I am actually looking forward to Christmas shopping at the weekend now as I can go there for something to eat afterwards.
Jamie’s Italian is part of a new scheme that the Bullring is hoping to complete next year. It is called Spiceal Street and it is hoped that in 2011, three new restaurants, similar in style and class as Jamie’s Italian will open in St Martins Square. If you would like more information about the scheme, please see the website here.
Note to readers: Stuart and I dined at Jamie’s Italian as guests of the Bullring. Many thanks to Emma for setting it up