On Friday I sampled the delights of Birmingham's new Jamie's Italian near the Bullring, and MY MY was it wonderful!
If the restaurant is busy (which it invariably is) then on arrival you get a nifty little pager to let you know when there is a table ready for you. The staff were really friendly and fun, dressed in dark jeans, white shirts and ties with cowboy-esque pocket belts that actually looked pretty cool!
The decor was almost All Saints-y in it's industrial feel, but mixed with elements that would be at home in a European Deli, like dry cured meats and salamis hanging above the food prep area, and huge jars of chillies, capers and olives next to rows of crusty bread loaves.
For starters we had an English Wild Boar Salami Artisan Meat Board (basically fancy salami but v. nice and tasty), and huge iced olives with sun dried tomato and black olive tapenade and shards of crispy 'music' bread.
The mains were their pièce de résistance; I had one of their specials; the most AMAZING slow-roasted (15 hours!) pork rolled with pan gratata, pine nuts, raisins and herbs, that had been basted in a sweet wine and came in a rustic pot served with roasties and rocket. It was uber tender and delicious, perfectly dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil- by far the best pork I've ever tasted.
My companion had half a marinated grilled pheasant with crispy fried liver and sage, salad and bread sauce smeared on the chopping-board type platter it came on. It was gorgeous, but my pork just pipped it to the post!
Having the world's most ridiculous sweet tooth, I had to have their ultimate warm chocolate, raspberry and Amaretto brownie with lush vanilla ice-cream. It was more like a rich, satisfying muffin than a brownie, but it definately hit the spot!
For 2 starters, 2 mains, a beer, a glass of wine and a desert the bill was around £45 not including service charge or tip, so for the standard of the food we got and the experience as a whole I reckon it's well worth it.
On asking our waitress if Jamie comes often though, she said he hasn't visited yet! Well, he's missing out!
Check out their usual menu on their website here.