[New Delhi] Jamie Oliver is one of the leading and most well-known chefs in the world, and his chain of restaurants has become an example in serving delicious food made with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.
Jamie’s Italian at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi is his first restaurant in the country.
It serves an appetizing array of Italian delicacies, along with classic favourites in the form of pastas and pizzas.
Jamie’s Italian is part of a worldwide chain of restaurants that started in 2008 when the celebrity chef collaborated with his mentor Gennaro Contaldo.
The restaurant strongly believes in serving authentic Italian cuisine with dishes that are an amalgamation of learnings that both the chefs have had over decades.
One of the highpoints about Jamie’s Italian anywhere in the world, including this branch, is the importance that is given to fresh, local, and seasonal produce.
Jamie Oliver has championed the need to eat well and eat healthy and this mantra can be seen throughout the menu in the restaurant which further uses different flavours to accentuate the taste of the dishes.
I had previously been to Jamie’s Pizzeria, which was located at a different location, and found it to be cosy yet a little claustrophobic because of its small size.
Jamie’s Italian though was a much bigger property and with space divided into two halves, there was ample space to move around. The interiors were a mixture of industrial, pub, and café like seating that was both relaxing and comfortable.
There was a sense of casualness to the entire décor as large chalkboards with menu items listed on them adorn the walls.
The little lamps that shone a spotlight on the food when placed on the table was a nice little addition that can prove to be romantic at times.
The lighting though was a little low, especially when one walks into the inside seating area, but that did help to create the right mood for a wonderful meal.
Jamie’s Italian, as the name suggests, is all about authentic Italian cuisine. The menu comprises of a wide selection that ranges from antipasti to pastas and signature pizzas to traditional Italian main courses.
As is usually the case when visiting a restaurant for the first time, I like to experiment with the recommended dishes.
Keeping up with this tradition, I first tried Jamie’s Epic Plank (Rs. 465, SGD$9.50) which consisted of really spicy chicken wings along with equally spicy – in fact, a little too much for me – tiger prawns.
However, in terms of taste, both were delicious and went well with the rest of the plank that had olives, a rainbow slaw, and a really creamy cheese fonduta.
The “Famous Prawn Linguini” (Rs. 665, SGD$ 14.00) was toned down for me in terms of its spiciness, but still lacked the garlicky prawn flavour that it had promised.
The fish broth and the saffron too were lost somewhere with only the lemon rocket flavour and smell being quite dominant. I enjoyed this dish, but hope that the other flavours can also be accentuated the next time I try it.
The highlight of the meal though was Gennaro’s Famous Porchetta (Rs.750, SGD$ 15.50) that came with a colourful mixture of beautifully roasted vegetable.
The slow cooked pork belly roulade was faultlessly cooked and the only request to the restaurant is to give a more generous helping of the absolutely divine red wine jus that is drizzled over the plate.
While there is a lot more to choose from on the menu, if you are looking for a slightly cheesy and unique pizza, then the hand stretched Julietta (Rs. 525, SGD$ 11.00) with its buffalo mozzarella and aged parmesan will surely satisfy your craving.
Eating at Jamie’s Italian, I found the food to have a delightful piquancy to it, something that was diverse, but it can also take some getting used to for the average Indian palate.
While the food is of the uttermost importance, it is the ambiance that adds to the charm of having a meal at Jamie’s Italian.
Their open kitchen was a delight as it allowed me to watch the chefs and cooks at work, almost like a ballet or a play being staged especially for me. I highly recommend taking a seat on the inside of the restaurant where the smell of the food and the opportunity to watch it being prepared is exceptional.
The service at Jamie’s Italian is textbook and the staff members are as eager to explain the dishes as they are to recommend them. They were quick to take my preference of food being less spicy into account and alerted the ordered dish accordingly.
Situated inside a popular mall in South Delhi, Jamie’s Italian makes for the perfect break from retail therapy. It is encouraged to savour the time spent at the restaurant, and enjoy the meal in a relaxed unhurried fashion.
Even though Jamie Oliver is known across the world, often when celebrity chefs open restaurants in foreign countries their food gets lost somewhere in translation.
That is not the case with Jamie’s Italian as the menu is as authentic as it can get, keeping in mind local sensitives.
The fact, that instead of trying to please the customers by Indianizing the menu, the restaurant challenges them with new and bold flavours and encourages its patrons to experiment with classic regional dishes, makes Jamie’s Italian a must, especially when you are looking for a well-rounded Italian culinary experience.
Jamie’ Italian New Delhi
Ambience Mall No. 2 Nelson Mandela Marg, 3rd Floor, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, Delhi 110070
Tel: 011 4087 0032
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 11:00pm Daily
* Written by DFD’s India Correspondent @tickereatstheworld. Raghav is a travel and food writer who enjoys the thrill of discovering new places and writing about them. When he is not working, he can be found driving around his two kids from one birthday party to another.