I love Jamie Oliver and I really want to like Jamie’s Italian, but the VivoCity outlet didn’t really wow me. Then they opened a new outlet at the Forum in Orchard and I thought I would give it another try. And yes, just like at Vivo, if you didn’t make a reservation, you still have to wait a good 45 minutes for a table. At least at the Forum you can either order a drink and sit at a tight corner with other diners who too didn’t make reservations, or you can pop up to Toys R Us and check out the amazing array of toys from Minions to Star Wars whilst waiting. The restaurant will sms you when your table’s ready, which is nice.
The Forum outlet has a different menu so at least there’s some new elements, although we can safely say most of the original items are intact bar the ones that are probably unpopular such as the Apple Slaw (which we tried at Vivo and it was not very good). Their tables for two are still rather small too and yet they love to serve in big plates or planks. Good thing though is that the Forum outlet is bright and cheery, with a very homely feel.
We ordered 4 dishes and the waiter wisely advised that he will serve the appetisers first instead of all-at-once or else “there won’t be much space”… And he was right: we had the Cured Meats Plank ($16.50 per pax) and that alone took almost one third of the table when it arrived! The savoury meat cuts, accompanied by pickles, mini buffalo mozzarella and slaw, was a good choice to kick off the meal.
We also had the Crispy Squid ($12.50 small) which luckily was a small and didn’t take up much space. Served with garlic mayo, chopped chili and lemon, the calamari was alright but would have been better if it was crispier and less chewy.
For mains, we had the Lamb Chops Scottadito ($44) which was served on a large heavy plank along with red onion salad, toasted nuts, mint leaves, lemony yoghurt and polenta chips. The lamb chops looked good at first glance but the meat was rather dry and not well marinated. Even with the condiments or dipping it into the yoghurt didn’t improve its bland taste.
I had the Lamp Chop Lollipops at VivoCity and even that was half decent. The Lollipops are unfortunately not on the Forum menu but the Scottadito certainly wasn’t worth $44. The only saving grace was the polenta chips fried with rosemary and parmesan that accompanied it.
Actually the real saving grace of the evening was this Wild Mushroom & Smoked Mozzarella Risotto ($27) which was so flavourful that every mouthful was a joy. Easily one of the best Risottos I ever eaten.
To wash down all the items, we tried the Evviva L’Italia ($12, 330ml / $17, 500ml) that was exclusively crafted for Jamie’s Italian by Archipelago Brewery. It was light, flowery and refreshing, but frankly, doesn’t taste like a real beer. It was served in tall beer glasses that showed off its golden hue but surprisingly doesn’t have a logo or the beer’s name etched on the side. Not very becoming for a specially brewed exclusive beer, me thot. (And a huge Instagram loss…)
The bill came up to almost $158 for two persons and it would have been worth it if all the items tasted as good as they looked. Unfortunately, Jamie’s Italian still doesn’t wow me completely unlike Jamie’s 30-minute meals on TV. Pros are that service and ambience are good. Maybe I will give it one more chance but not for a good long while…