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Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

This week I’ve noticed a hint of spring in the air. The evenings are much lighter, the trees are starting to get blousy with blossom and everything just feels a bit hopeful. With a spring in my step, I met my friend Bob for lunch at Jamie’s Italian Manchester. He’s moved away, so we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, so we were ready for a proper catch up.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

We arrived at Jamie’s Italian Manchester, a huge grade II listed building on King Street in the city centre. Inside it’s imposing and grand, with dark wood and marble everywhere. It’s a beauty.

We were shown to our table and we checked out the Super Lunch menu. Since I was last in the menu has had an update to keep pace with the changing seasons. The super lunch menu is a hearty mixture of winter warmers and vibrant spring flavours. It’s keenly priced at £12.95 for two courses, or three courses for £14.95. It is available 12-6pm from Monday-Friday.

To start I plumped for the Tomato Bruschetta made with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, buffalo ricotta, basil and extra virgin olive oil. I’m a sucker for ricotta, so this was a deliciously light start to the meal. My only tiny quibble was that the tomatoes still had some fresh from the fridge chill to them, I’d prefer them closer to room temperature, but that’s me being very fussy.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob opted for the Fritto Misto, crispy fried sustainable fish & squid tossed in fennel-spiced flour with garlic and lemon aioli. This was a hit, the aioli was perfectly garlicky and the delicate fish well cooked. There wasn’t quite enough squid for his liking, but the plentiful helping of chunky fish made up for that. This is a dish he would order again.

Moving on to the mains, there were only two veggie options and only one I was able to eat, so that’s what I had, the Classic Super Food Salad, a combination of avocado, roasted beetroot, mixed pulses & grains, sprouting broccoli, pomegranate and spicy seeds with harissa dressing & cottage cheese. To say it was delicious is an understatement, every fork full was bursting with flavour, I couldn’t fault it and despite my initial hesitation over ordering this, I would do again in a heartbeat.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob plumped for the Italian Steak and Fries, marinated skirt steak, flash grilled & served with garlic butter, aged Parmesan, slaw and fries. This had a £3 supplement. The skirt steak was heavily topped with garlic butter with one side seared on the grill, Bob thought it was a good steak, though not the best he’d had. However, the skinny fries were perfect, crispy without being overcooked and a good portion size. I snaffled a few and they were good.

I was stuffed after my salad, but we were determined to do the new menu justice, so pudding was ordered. Choosing the light option, I ordered the Blood Orange Sorbet, which was topped with fresh mint and lime zest. It’s not listed as suitable for vegetarians on the Super Lunch Menu, but I checked and it definitely is. The sorbet was so good, it was just about perfect and the flavours in the citrusy sorbet were enhanced by the mint and lime, and it was only 72 calories too.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob still had some room, so he ordered the Epic Chocolate Brownie with chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and caramelised popcorn. It looked spectacular, he kindly let me try a corner. I’m not usually a fan of brownies, but it had a lovely crispy top and it was a very, very good brownie. I loved the ice cream, but the popcorn was the winner for me. It was a fine end to our lunch.

We had both had a cocktail, soft drinks, a three course lunch and coffee and our lunch time treat came in at a few pence over £56. We both felt it was really good value for what we’d had. I’ve had lunch at Jamie’s Italian Manchester with friends a few times now, and never been disappointed and always impressed with the value and service. 

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

You can find out more about Jamie’s Italian Manchester and the Super Lunch Menu on the website.

We were invited guests of Jamie’s Italian Manchester. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian

This week I was keen for a bit of culture and had plans to visit an exhibition in Manchester, it seemed rude not to stop for a bite to eat while I was there, so I headed to Jamie’s Italian on King Street to check out their new Super Lunch Menu.

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The menu is very nicely priced at £12.95 for two courses, or three courses for £14.95. It is available 12-6pm from Monday-Friday and seemed to be incredibly popular when I visited. The menu is short but I felt there was enough to choose from and I’m a slightly fussy veggie.

I opted to start with “Jamie’s Spring Ribbolita”, a chunky soup with spring greens, cannellini beans, chilli, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, finished with Bella Lodi (black parmesan) and served with homemade focaccia. The soup was delicious, really chunky, riddled with fresh veg and beans and well seasoned, it’s rare I don’t have to add any seasoning to my soup and it was perfect, I couldn’t fault it.

Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian

My dining companion chose the Frito Misto – crispy fried sustainable fish and squid tossed in fennel-spiced flour with garlic and lemon aioli. It looked good and was a decent sized starter portion. Although I felt that the aioli lacked the garlicky punch I was expecting and my squid loving friend couldn’t find any squid, we think the table next to us which were having a double portion of the same probably had our share.

Moving swiftly onto the mains I chose the Spaghetti Primavera made with fresh pasta, wild garlic pesto, green beans, peas, sweet basil and Bella Lodi. I was impressed with this simple but delicious dish, I loved the wild garlic pesto, a seasonal treat I can’t resist, the primavera has got summer written all over it. Beautifully presented and full of seasonal veg, it was perfectly seasoned and almost plate-lickingly good. 

Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian

My diet concious chum plumped for the Super Food Salad, Avocado and roasted beetroot with fennel, quinoa, black rice, curly kale, sprouting broccoli, fresh herbs, pomegranate, toasted seeds, spicy harissa and cottage cheese. This salad looked good, but I’m not a great lover of quinoa, the avocado with the harissa was inspired and my companion really enjoyed it. It’s a great salad for ladies (and indeed gents) who lunch. 

I’d selected my lunch based on what I fancied and my friend chose something more slimming. On a pause between courses I hopped onto the website and discovered that my rich and delicious dish of carby pasta was 676 calories, and the healthy salad was 725 calories. It was clearly time for cake!

Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian

Pud arrived and between us we shared custody of a dainty bowl of strawberries and frozen yoghurt (fresh strawberries soaked in elderflower and lemon, served with baby basil, frozen yoghurt and poppy seed crisps) and an orange blossom polenta cake, served with whipped crème fraîche, fresh orange and pomegranate.

For me the stand out was the orange blossom polenta cake, it was impossibly light and delicately citrus, set off beautifully by the whipped crème fraîche. The strawberries and frozen yoghurt was small but just enough if you want something a little bit sweet at the end of your meal. I’m not a great fan of strawberries, but I enjoyed the little pud.

At just £14.95 for the Super Lunch Menu I can say it’s excellent value and the food was so good I’m planning a return visit again soon. For me Jamie’s Italian in Manchester is a great daytime venue.  It was busy and almost all of the tables were full, so they’re obviously doing something right. 

The Super Lunch menu runs from Monday – Friday, 12pm – 6pm.

Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian

We were invited guests of Jamie’s Italian, Manchester. Nevertheless all images and opinions are our own.

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Jamie’s Italian Manchester – Review

One of the worst things about coming home from holiday is returning to the old routine and having nothing in particular to look forward to. Thankfully as we sped (at no more than 70mph) down the motorway towards home, we knew we’d soon have a meal at Jamie’s Italian in Manchester to look forward to.

We arrived at Jamie’s and we were quickly shown to our table. Jamie’s Italian is in the old Midland Bank building on King Street. It’s an impressive and beautiful building, built in the 1930’s, they’ve retained as many original features as is practical, and it’s a real treat for lovers of architecture.

We ordered some drinks while we perused the menu. I went for an Aperol Spritz and my husband opted for a Bellini Spritz, and both were refreshing after a bus journey on a warm summer evening. To drink with our meal we ordered a bottle of Jamie’s Italian Rosso Sicilian Red, it is delivered to the restaurant in Tetra Pak cartons and decanted when required. It’s a very acceptable, medium red which went well with our food and was very quaffable.

We argued over what to choose from the fairly extensive menu (with surprisingly few veggie options), but to start we plumped for the Italian Nachos to share and I had the grilled asparagus bruschetta, while himself had the crispy king prawns.

The Italian Nachos were interesting, made with pasta instead of tortillas they had a similar texture but somehow missed the spot. They came with the usual accompaniments, they were piled high and when we dived in half of them fell on the floor, we really wanted to love them, but we merely liked them.

Jamie's Italian Manchester

My bruschetta was delicious, the asparagus was beautifully grilled, bursting with flavour and served on top of creamy mozzarella, for me it needed a good twist of pepper, but it was otherwise perfect. Himself was visually wowed by the crispy king prawns; the prawns were plump and juicy and served with a piquant tomato, basil and garlic sauce. The prawns were wrapped in crispy angel-hair pasta and this is where the dish fell down, it was visually impressive, but it made it difficult and fiddly to eat, especially for a lad who doesn’t like to fiddle, he just likes to eat and enjoy his food.

Moving on to the mains; being veggie I opted for the honeycomb cannelloni trio which was aubergine and sun-dried tomato, pumpkin, ricotta and spinach cannelloni with the usual tomato and béchamel sauces. It was an enjoyable dish. The pasta was excellent, just the right thickness and cooked perfectly. I loved the pumpkin and the ricotta and spinach cannelloni, both were well made and very tasty. The aubergine and sun-dried tomato I liked a bit less, it was the blandest flavour of the three. I would have it again, but it did feel a bit too much of a wintery dish for a summer evening.

Jamie's Italian Manchester

Husband went for the signature porcetta which was British pork belly with fennel crackling and chestnut mushrooms. He also ordered sides of “funky chips” and courgette fritti. He loved the porcetta, which you could’ve cut with a spoon, the crispy crackling brought a cheeky smile to his face and he clearly enjoyed every mouthful.

He kindly (he had no choice) shared his sides with me, we proclaimed the courgette fritti a wild success, though the deep fried pickles the courgettes were served with were actually red hot chillies, which rendered them pretty inedible, but I’d happily eat a number of plates of the courgette. The “funky chips” were a bit of a let down, the chips themselves were crispy, and served with garlic and parsley, I thought these would be off the hook, but they needed a really good dose of seasoning and we ended up leaving half of them.

On to dessert, which we barely had room for, so we shared a generous portion of tiramisu. The Jamie’s Italian version is slightly non-standard, given it’s been sexed up with some orange flavours. I love tiramisu, it is my all time favourite pud. I loved this version, light and creamy, it didn’t have the massive coffee hit of other tiramisu, but I enjoyed the citrusy summery flavours of the orange. It was a hit!

Jamie's Italian Manchester

As a vegetarian I did feel the menu was a bit lacking, with only two mains to choose from I think in this day and age that’s really quite poor, especially in an Italian restaurant.

All in all it was a bit of a mixed evening. The service was spot on, informal and informative. The food was good, sometimes great; occasionally a bit disappointing, especially given the pedigree of the restaurant. I liked the relaxed vibe and it’s the kind of place I’d happily come back to with a group of friends on a night out. Good, but not quite great.

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Jamie’s Italian Manchester. We paid for our drinks and service, but the food was complimentary. This, as you can see, has not swayed my opinions.

Save With Jamie

This week saw the launch of Jamie Oliver’s new series Save with Jamie. It received a mixed reception but we #BlogGirls were inspired to share a few of our tips for thrifty kitchen habits. Here are a few of mine:

Batch cook and freeze
Simple really. If I’m making a pasta sauce for example I often double up and freeze some for a lazy day. This is also really useful if you find bargains and don’t fancy eating them straight away.

Pad out meals
Having a toddler in the house who does love his veg we tend not to worry too much about sneaking extra goodness in him, but if I’m making a spaghetti bolognaise or other mince based dish I often finely grate a couple of carrots into the mince as it’s cooking. This bulks it out a little bit and adds extra goodness. For the same reason I often add some lentils into dishes, the red lentils dissolve into nothing if cooked for long enough but add that extra bit of protein and stretch a budget bag of mince a little bit further.

Whoopsies!
I’m a sucker for the whoopsie shelf in the supermarket. I always have a rummage and often find brilliant bargains which we either eat now or sling in the freezer for another day. I once found a decent sized beef brisket in Co-op for £1.75 which I turned into a delicious pot roast which fed six. I’ve found sea bass fillets for pence too. It’s well worth a rummage and can spark the beginnings of some interesting and unusual meals.

Grow your own
I know not everyone has either the space or green fingers to do this. We do try and grow some veg every year with varying success, the weather has been against us recently. However if you can I really recommend having some hardy herbs. We have a rosemary and a bay tree in a pot by the back door and thyme and chives in the garden. They all require zero maintenance apart from slinging a bit of water over them if they’re dry. We picked up ours incredibly cheaply and we’ve had a few years of free flavourings from them.

Forage
You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to have a forage. At this time of year the hedgerows, lanes and patches of scrubland are heaving with brambles covered in fat juicy blackberries. It’s a great thing to do with kids and you can stock up your freezer with berry-loveliness for the long winter months ahead. Likewise lots of parks and woodlands have some fruit trees which you can sneak a few fruits from. Just always be sure of what you’re picking and don’t strip the trees or bushes, leave some for others and for the birds.

So that’s how we keep kitchen costs down. I’d love to read your tips so do link up with us!