Did we mention we were treated to lunch at Jamie Oliver's the other week? Not actually Jamie Oliver's house of course, sadly, but the brand new branch of his restaurant in Manchester city centre.
Now of course the only green stuff being handed over the counter, is spinach in the most delicious chard and greens dish ever, but more about that later. We were seated right by the pasta making machines for Little D's delectation unfortunately Little D had found other amusement by way of pushing his feet against the table so his highchair flew across the floor with speed reserved only for figure skaters than the like. Note to Jamie - you really do need to get that marble floor sorted before someone comes a cropper. It kept him quiet anyway until the menu arrived and with it came a little twist all the children's dishes are displayed on an 80's viewmaster so you can see before you eat, hours of entertainment for young and old.
Meanwhile we chose from a more normal but quite beautifully designed menu. First up we shared the Worlds Best Olives on Ice (£3.75), A Selection of Italian Breads (£3.75) and a Seasonal Meat Antipasti Plank ( £6.85). Beautifully presented they tasted as good as they looked with a great selection of meats including Tuscan Fennel Salami, Pistachio Mortadella, San Daniele Proscuitto and Schiaccita Piccante. The olives were disappointing, I love olives but I found these a little too bland for my taste buds.
To follow we both had quite a nice Angus Sirlion steak (£16.85) with posh chips (£3.25 ), funky chips (£3.25) and the most amazing chard (£3.35) side dish. So fresh with a hint of chilli and garlic it stole the show and was the most memorable dish of the whole meal. No mean feat.
The sweets menu came and we were swayed by a delicious Peach and Almond tart (£4.95 ) and Italian Ice Cream Bomb (£4.95 ) which wasn't to our taste due to the inclusion of coffee in the chocolate sauce. Meanwhile Little D had a bowl of ice cream (£4.50) with seasonal fruits (rhubarb - yum).
In conclusion Jamie's Italian was good with some flashes of real brilliance but it was not outstanding. It is a shame that more use couldn't have been made of the excellent produce we have in the region, it doesn't deliver anything really that different to what it is on offer in the city already. That being said the food was good and restaurant is beautiful, it would be the ideal venue for a special meal; particularly as the cocktail menu is varied and extremely impressive.
We received our meal free of charge in exchange for a review.