Readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of Jamie’s Italian and, in fact, was lucky enough to meet Gennaro Contaldo for a pasta masterclass a couple of years ago.
The Husband, sadly, remains unimpressed with my cooking prowess so taking him out to lunch to try Jamie’s new Super Lunch Menu at their invitation was not too difficult.
What I really like about Jamie’s Italian restaurants is that there is no ‘chain’ feel and you can watch your food being prepared so you know it’s fresh.
There is always an interesting selection of specials which seem to experiment with tastes and textures in a way that always seems far more creative to me than just relying on popular combinations.
Pasta is freshly made on site and the general vibe of the restaurant is always relaxed but buzzing with a huge bar area and a cocktail menu. Gennaro, it transpires, has now turned his hand to Mojitos.
|Jamie’s Italian Cardiff|
The new Super Lunch Menu distils all this into a bargain £11.95 for two courses and £13.95 for three courses. It’s more than a taster menu but a little less than the large portions which leave you stuffed and unproductive on your return to the office.
The Super Lunch Menu is available from Monday to Friday from 12 pm to 6 pm.
I’m more of a main and dessert girl so the Husband ‘volunteered’ to share a starter with me. Tempted both by the simplicity of the Tomato Bruschetta (slow roasted cherry tomatoes, whipped ricotta, basil & virgin olive oil) and the warmth of the Pea & Mint Soup (blitzed up pea & mint soup with a dollop of organic yoghurt, lemon zest and freshly baked focaccia), we settled on Silky Pate Bruschetta (Italian chicken-liver pate, pancetta, vin santo & Parmesan).
|Our starter – Silky Pate Bruschetta|
This was almost too pretty to eat. The bruschetta had just the right level of crunch, whilst the pate melted in the mouth. The portion size was generous too.
The Husband chose ‘Nduja Rigatoni for his main course. This was freshly made pasta with a spicy tomato and Cobble Lane ‘nduja sauce with sprouting broccoli and cherry tomatoes, with aged Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.
|‘Nduja Rigatoni Main Course|
Nduja is a Calabrian sausage traditionally made from pork trimmings. Today it is made with pork fat, spices, herbs and spicy Calabrian peppers which give a chilli type heat and a particular red colour.
The Husband found the dish to be extremely tasty with the Nduja sauce adding a gentle but not overpowering heat.
I chose Gennaro’s Chicken Club, brioche stuffed with chargrilled, marinated free-range chicken, crispy pancetta, spicy ‘nduja mayo, fontal cheese, tomato & rocket. Now I won’t fib, I was hoping for some fries with it but it was a very generous portion and it didn’t really need these.
Again, the ‘nduja mayo added a very gentle spicy heat to the dish.
|Gennaro’s Chicken Club|
Then it was time to share a dessert and although I was tempted by Jamie’s Favourite Lemon Polenta Cake with ‘summer berry rippled creme fraiche and lemon zest’, the Husband hinted largely about the Tiramisu, classic coffee flavoured sponge with Marscarpone and chocolate.
This was lovely, generously sized, soaked through with a good strong coffee and a lovely citrus tang from the orange zest sprinkled on top with the chocolate.
We thought the price of the Super Lunch Menu was excellent value with fresh, tasty food just a little bit different from the usual lunchtime fare. There are also clearly marked vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten free menu options to choose from.
Whilst it was a bit of a luxury to be child free, with Whitsun week approaching, Jamie’s Italian have a good kids’ menu with not a fishfinger or baked bean in sight. I’m not sure what Ieuan would make of that but I think he could be persuaded to try the Baby Organic Beef Burger. Caitlin has always loved her pasta so Organic Mini Spaghetti & Meatballs will keep her happy.
*We tried the Super Lunch Menu as guests of Jamie’s Italian. All opinions are our own.