Since opening its doors in 2014 the Italian restaurant of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has become a staple of the Adelaide dining scene. This week Adelaide Food Central was invited to try out the new Super Lunch Deal. A selection of some of Jamie’s, classic favourites. One course for 4 $20, Two courses for $25 and Three courses for $35. A glass of wine can be added to each deal for only $5. With such incredible value the only real decision is what to have. We sampled all the offerings for each course to give you a hand.
Entrée is a choice of Truffle Tagliatelle, Caprese Salad, Tomato Bruschetta or Fritto Misto.
Lovers of truffle (like me) can’t go past the amazing Truffle Tagliatelle pasta that is topped with shaved black truffle and smells so magnificent. I thought the truffle would be the main talking point but when eating the dish, it was the texture of the pasta that was most satisfying. The silky sauce swaddles the strands of pasta that are a smidge over al dente and the bite is delicious. Dried herbs and cheese make up the simple sauce and it needs nothing more.
Is there anything more quintessential summer, or Italian that a Caprese Salad. Soft, high quality buffalo mozzarella cheese, yellow and red assorted tomatoes, a good grind of course cracked pepper and olive oil. A hint of sundried tomato pesto weaves its way through the salad bringing a deep richness to what is otherwise very refreshing.
The Tomato Bruschetta is a bit of an upside-down version with 4 huge balls of buffalo mozzarella underneath perfectly roasted cherry tomatoes, their blistered skin reveling luscious fresh flesh. The same sundried tomato pesto from the Caprese Salad butters the toast again bringing a layered dimension of tomato. Overall it is the creamy mouthfeel of the mozzarella offset by the crunchy toast that pleases the most along with the divine paring of basil and tomato.
I love the presentation of the Fritto Misto, golden seafood piled around a bowl of garlic & lemon aioli, looking like it wants to dive in there as much as I do. A little zing of cayenne pepper, the seafood responds so well to the sauce. Lightly battered and fried then perfectly salted the piece of fish, prawns and squid have a delicate texture and taste incredibly good.
Main Course can be selected from a Classic Super Food Salad, Gennarro’s Chicken Club or 2 pastas; the Lemony Courgette Linguine and Gennaro’s Tagliatelle Bolognese.
The Classic Super Food Salad is a very impressive, multi-dimensional salad based around mixed grains and pulses, including lentils, chickpeas and quinoa. Strands of shaved fennel and mint and pomegranate seeds add a fresh touch. Half a grilled avocado and some broccolini stalks top the salad crowned with ricotta and a blob of harissa dressing that brings a warm, smokiness to mix through the grains.
Jamie pays tribute to his mentor with his Gennaro’s Chicken Club. A white burger bun topped with sesame seed, sandwiches succulent chargrilled chicken thighs, paired with rocket, fresh tomato and mortadella. A few pickles including those delicious pickled whole chillis from the meat and vegetarian planks. Finished with a garlicky and spicy ‘nudja mayo’ which brings the burger together.
I would normally overlook anything with zucchini as I would rate it as my least favourite vegetable, so imagine my surprise when the Lemony Courgette Linguine ended up being my preferred dish of the whole menu! The zucchini has been cut into fine stings and it disguises well with the pasta strands. The lemony taste is subtler than expected, the garlic coming to the forefront of the palate. Nothing more than scattered herbs, predominantly mint, a sprinkling of parmesan and (say it just like Jamie does) a good glug of olive oil.
I tend to steer clear of Bolognese when eating out as it’s such a staple at home. But now I am blown away by Gennaro’s Tagliatelle Bolognese; which is profoundly different from any Bolognese I have had before. Normally the mincemeat is in a rich, tomato sauce but here the meat is the star with very little tomato base but more of a gravy. Normally I think this would detract from the dish but the beef and pork is so flavourful, meaty and rich I am glad that nothing distracts from this. The addition of pangrattato gives a unique crunch that is so satisfying, and I am happy to have challenged everything I know about a Bolognese based on this experience.
A choice of 3 desserts are given; Orange Blossom Polenta Cake, Epic Chocolate Brownie and a Selection of Sorbet & Gelato. The cake and brownie are worlds apart one soft, light and citrusy and the other rich, heavy and chocolaty. They are both wonderful so really is a decision between how full you are and how heavy a dessert you can handle.
The Orange Blossom Polenta Cake oozes fragrant orange flavour and is light and fluffy. It needs nothing but mint leaves and a little whipped cream to finish but the garnish of pomegranate seeds and perfectly segmented oranges are aesthetically pleasing. Despite being delicate, the citrus flavour is bold and uplifting.
The rich, dense Epic Chocolate Brownie is served warm and gooey. The yin to the polenta cakes yang. Covered by a rich, silky chocolate sauce and the famed caramelized popcorn that is devilishly sweet. As if that wasn’t seductive enough a scoop of salted caramel ice cream adding another layer of decadence.
For those who simply do not have room for dessert you can indulge in the Selection of Sorbet & Gelato. Today’s selections were strawberry, lemon, chocolate, salted caramel, vanilla bean. They were all delicious but there was a green scoop that had us perplexed. There was a sweetness and a little tang, not lime, definitely not pistachio, we were perplexed. Turns out the mysterious gelato was toffee apple. All sorbets and gelatos are locally sourced and the flavours change regularly.
I love how eating at Jamie’s Italian demonstrates the philosophy’s and cocking principals of the Naked Chef we grew to love so many years ago. Simple, rustic and inspired by great produce, the journey though todays lunch was an immersion of great flavours and textures. Paired with exceptional service and value what else is there to say – its Lovely Jubbly.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 2 King William St, Adelaide