“Homicide is 0.8% of deaths. Diet-related disease is over 60%. But no one fucking talks about it.”-Jamie Oliver on why the obesity epidemic isn’t going to stop.
Extra mile- 6.5
Budget – Medium
*Scores are out of 10
Jamie’s Italian: Overall rating – 31.5/50 on a medium budget
Jamie Oliver is loud, proud and on a mission to improve the state of health worldwide. He happens to be one of my favourite chef crushes (next to Heston Blumenthal, and of course Pete Evans), and he just so happens to have a restaurant here in Sydney.
I have been holding off on this restaurant for some time now, as most of the reviews have been less than ideal. Many of my clients are foodies (clearly like attracts like), and the general consensus has been that it was ‘a little disappointing’. However, our time had come, so off we tracked on a wet, cold Tuesday night to get dinner. Being a Tuesday, and given that we were on Nana o’clock time again, I thought that it would be no trouble getting into the restaurant. How wrong. We arrived at 6 o’clock and there was already a hefty line outside.
We were told that we would have to wait for 40 mins to get a table, which we were happy to do, so settled in for a pre-dinner class of vino.
If you have hungry gremlins, and you are starting to eat yourself from the inside out, then I would suggest heading elsewhere.
Jamie is renowned for doing simple food that’s packing a punch. He is the haphazard, rogue chef who loves his ‘pinch of salt’ and ‘dash of oil’. That was what I was expecting on the menu – simple dishes with great flavours.
I ordered the main sized Cockle Pasta (Spaghetti Vongole), and MC ordered an entree sized Wild Rabbit Tagliolini followed by Game Meatball for main. I do not normally eat pasta, especially at night as I tend to have a reaction to it, but I was determined to give it a try. We also ordered a side of coleslaw, which as an aside, is a regular feature on our home menu (thanks to Jamie’s 15 minute meals).
I am glad that I went in there not expecting much, because if I had I would’ve been bitterly disappointed. The pasta was dry and non-eventful, and the coleslaw was bland (I think I even declared that my version of his Coleslaw crushed his). I walked out of the restaurant feeling a bit flat, almost like when a really good friend has let you down. However, despite my emotional reaction, it won’t stand in the way of my celebrity crush, and I will continue to support his quest for worldwide health reforms and education; I just won’t eat at his restaurant J
I have to say I do absolutely love that image and quote from Jamie above. He is so passionate about people cooking and eating real food and I completely relate to it.
In saying that, I’m not entirely convinced that everyone should be smashing pasta willy nilly. However, there can be a time and place, and for me that was this night.
As with NN, I don’t tend to eat too much of it these days, and I do notice when I do- I’ll usually feel a little bloated afterward. So I used this as an experiment in just that- to see if in eating it for this blog I would feel a bit crappy afterward.
And I did. Not terribly mind, but not 100%.
However, this might not have been entirely the pasta’s fault, as you can see from NN’s description above, the food just wasn’t that overwhelming. Sure, it was nice, but it just wasn’t anything great.
Of course, I was completely enticed in by the wild rabbit and the game meatball. Wild meats are something I’ll get if possible, but again they left me underwhelmed.
Still, as NN said, Jamie’s drive, determination and passion to educate people about good food choices and teaching people how to cook quickly at home are remarkable, and I cannot wait to meet him one day to chew his ear off about it…
For us, this was a pass, but dissatisfaction due to the regard in which we hold Jamie. However, if you would like to see the vast menu choice, click here to view in another window and see the vast selection for yourself.
MC & NN
Great post Mike! Disappointing but as you say, Jsmie’s mission is worth supporting!
Yep a bit of a let down, but the man still has my respect and admiration- he is on a mission, one that I support fully!
I have been a couple of times here and a few more in the UK. I have to say Sydney was a disappointment compared to London, service, food choices (different menu) and atmosphere were definitely lacking. I think it ‘should’ improve on this basis
Interesting to hear. Pretty hard to keep good consistency from so far away I suppose, but still- this is his brand suffering, you’d think getting it right, regardless of the place, would be paramount.
Cheers for sharing!
Hey mate. Interesting article. Not too sure if to love it or hate it. Lots of stuff going on there. lets look at Jamie Oliver himself. Yes he does own loads of restaurants, earn loads of money, and is well established as a top chef. However, the thing that you must also realise is that he also leads the campaign for better school dinners across the country, and gave numerous under privileged kids the chance to prove themselves, too themselves, through doing a job that is and always will be far harder than ours will ever be. This is the type of food education we should all be embracing, and maybe not knocking, and certainly not competing against. Your slaw maybe better than his but I don’t feel that you are qualified enough to say this. For anyone reading this I am a highly qualified and experienced chef, with years of experience working in top hotels and restaurants, for top chefs in London. I am also a Damm fine personal trainer with nearly 15 years experience, and the owner of my own successful training studio. My point here is that I understand going out for a mediocre meal when expecting the best. Bit annoying but part of the eating out experience I’m afraid. In my experience, both as a chef and a personal trainer, the majority of people who have health issues due to nutrition are basically uneducated in BASIC food education. I have the privilege of seeing this from many sides of the fence. I would rather see the majority of the population that need to address their nutritional needs not to worry about the so called ‘bad reaction’ that pasta can give them, or how bad the cold slaw was at a restaurant owned by a well renowned and inspirational chef. I’m certain that there are worse reaction from ‘tv dinners’ that are chucked in the microwave and served in the plastic wrappers in front of the tele in their thousands every day!
Mike, as great personal trainers, we have the ability to educate and inspire. However, we have to draw the line in the sand and exercise our greatest ability which is to stick to what we know and to refer to other experts when necessary. Remember that relative knowledge is powerful. but some Knowledge can be dangerous.
Cheers for the well thought out message, and I agree completely. I absolutely love Jamie’s passion, focus and determination to help educate people in the basics of nutrition and cooking. For me this was the overriding result, and always would have been regardless of the meal I ate.
I can only imagine what it’s like to work in a business restaurant like that, let alone try to keep it up to your own standards from miles away. And regardless of the individual diner’s thoughts, I think his passion and message gets through, so I hope I can at least help to spread that in some small way.