Sunday 7 December 2014

Jamie's Italian, Piccadilly, Denman Street, central London

A multi-storey, mega-restaurant, this branch of Jamie's Italian tries to bring an edgy east-end feel to the touristy and more salubrious west end.  With brick walls, distressed wooden furniture, exposed vents, wooden floors and metallic tables, Jamie's Italian has the well-honed hallmarks of a Shoreditch eatery. But the clientele is more Highgate than Hoxton. In crisp white shirts, the young waiting staff are cooler-than-thou, but seem a little world weary.  On the menu, the bread basket (£3.95), which contains rosemary focaccia, ciabatta, seeded crackerbread, sourdough and grissini sticks and comes with an addictive olive tapenade, is tempting and tasty. But you might only get a mouthful of each variety. Among the main courses, the sausage pappardelle (£11.95) is pleasant and satisfying, but nothing special.  The prawn linguine (£13.50) gets better reviews, while the beef burger (£13.95 with chips)  contains a large and filling slab of meat topped with smoked mozzarella. The side dishes are nicely-done, but modest for the price tags. The rocket salad with parmesan (£3.55) is delicious, but sparse, while the market vegetables may just be a plate of finely-sliced courgette doused in garlic. For desert, the chocolate brownie (£5.45) is best avoided. Although the brownie is warm, soft and sweet, it may be served with a jarring frozen yoghurt and topped with sickly caramelised popcorn. To drink, the Crystal beer - a cool, flavoursome lager - is excellent. 7/10

The chocolate brownie clashes with the frozen yoghurt and the caramelised popcorn

The buzzing bar on the ground floor