It’s not every day that you are offered the opportunity to spend an evening with a well renowned chef, we were delighted to be invited to attend an evening at Jamie’s Italian, in the heart of Manchester city centre, to celebrate the launch of his new book: ‘Jamie cooks Italy’.
When we arrived, the atmosphere was buzzing and we were greeted with glasses of fruity Italian prosecco. The staff were very friendly and helpful and there was definitely an air of excitement around the place. For anyone who isn’t familiar with this restaurant, it occupies a magnificent grade II listed building dubbed the ‘King of King Street’. The ground floor and mezzanine of this old bank, have retained many of the original features and fittings, making it the perfect spot for a really unique dining experience, whether that’s a casual lunch or an evening out.
Not long after we arrived, Jamie addressed us all and it was almost as if we got a two for one offer when we found out that Jamie’s BFF, Gennaro Contaldo was also in attendance and talking us through the authentic Italian menu that we were to sample. Jamie and Gennaro explained the new cook book to us including where the inspiration was drawn from, thrown in with a few funny anecdotes about their experiences in Italy. Jamie then offered everyone the opportunity to have their pictures taken with him ‘let me take a selfie’ and not long after, we made our way to the table.
We were about to be completely spoilt with a stunning five course taster menu…
As we were seated, the famous antipasti was served as a platter, packed with Italian prosciutto, Tuscan fennel salami, schiacciata picante & mortadella with pate crostini, and the most creamy baby buffalo mozzarella we’ve ever tasted! We polished the platter off in no time and next up was sausage and red wine risotto. I think this was our favourite out of the five dishes. The pork and fennel sausage, combined with the Barolo red wine and gently flavoured thyme really was a taste sensation. We were worried that this might sit heavy on our stomachs before we had enjoyed the other courses, but it was deliciously light for a risotto.
Sea Bream Acqua Pazza was the third dish of the evening. Personally, I don’t eat fish or seafood, so I skipped this course, however, the hubby devoured his and described the fish a decadent ‘melt in the mouth’ moment. The crispy, dry sauvignon blanc was the perfect accompaniment to the dish.
We were definitely starting to feel rather full by now when out came Jamie’s Steak Tagliata. This was flash-cooked steak cut into strips and served with slow-roasted tomatoes and the most delicious, crispy polenta chips, that were seasoned to perfection. Personally, I really don’t like polenta, so I wasn’t looking forward to the chips, but after giving them a try, I was blown away. So far as to say that I would return just to have a bowl of them!
The fifth and final course was the delectable dessert plank which was packed with luscious lemon and ricotta cheesecake, a classic tiramisu dome, a chocolate brownie with salted caramel popcorn, honeycomb semifreddo and a divine Eton mess. Don’t ask us how, but we managed to devour the lot- it would have been criminal not to! It wouldn’t have been right not to have a cheeky shot of lemoncello to finish off in true Italian style! Saluti!!!
All in all, we had a thoroughly delightful experience, it was amazing to meet Jamie and Gennaro, the service was impeccable and the food really was excellent! If you are in the city, it’s certainly worth stopping by!