This week we discovered celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has opened another branch of his famous Jamie’s Italian in our end of town at the Jumeriah Beach Hotel. Intrigue got the better of us, so we popped down post-photo shoot to carb-up and calm down.
This British-born chain, known for its zany interior, cool service and fresh free-range food, is already a firm favourite with Brit expats in its Festival City location. This latest Dubai venture follows suit with simple, yet true Italian dishes (with the Jamie Oliver twist, of course) and a couple of good glasses of vino with which to wash it down.
The starters were a highlight: we could have eaten the crispy breaded mushroom fritti with garlic dip three times over. And if you order the crab and avocado bruschetta, do not share, as you won’t be able to get enough of the lemony dressed crabmeat perched on the crispy sourdough.
Come main course, we were so over-whelmed with the delicious-sounding, packed menu that we allowed Gail, our enthusiastic waitress, to tell us exactly what to order. She told us we should devour the special of the night – oven-roasted rosemary-stuffed chicken with rosemary-salted potatoes – and that we did. As we did the healthy serving of prawn linguine – there were enough garlicky prawns to feed two.
But the dish that got the best response was the wild truffle risotto, a simple but extremely naughty dish of black truffle, butter and Parmesan cheese. Ignore your rumbling tummy and order the small plate as the super rich flavours are undeniably filling.
Naturally, temptation got the better of us and we ordered not two, but four desserts to share between, erm, four. We were quite taken with the vanilla cheesecake, but it was the creamy Panna cotta served with berries that caused spoon bashing on several occasions.
Bright furniture and comfy cushioned benches surrounded by twinkly fairy lights lure diners on to the low-lit terrace and make it every easy to while a few hours away gossiping with friends. Come winter, you’ll find us hanging out inside the exposed brick restaurant trying out the impressive cocktail menu and nibbling on the ‘famous planks’ of cured fish and Italian cheeses.
Jamie’s Italian, Jumeriah Beach Hotel, daily from noon to 12am Tel: 04 380 8890