We were recently invited along to try out the kids menu at Jamies Italian - the family friendly italian chain belonging to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
I'd never dined in a Jamie's establishment before so I was quite intrigued, and very much looked forward to the experience.
Myself, Jon, Tyne and Noah went along for our evening meal on a busy friday evening at the Liverpool One branch - we had a few problems locating the restaurant as it wasn't on the dining terrace where I imagined but was actually on Paradise Street, however once we found the restaurant all was fine!
Our table was waiting and we were taken to it immediately - we had been given a booth which is ideal with a small child, and Tyne was handed a childrens pack to keep him entertained.
We ordered our starters which arrived within moments - we were given the option of Tyne's meal arriving with our starters but we knew he'd want to share some, so we opted for the main meals to come together.
The starters we chose were the Ultimate Garlic Bread and the Spinach and Ricotta Croquettes served with a spicy arrabbiata sauce.
Both of these dishes were mouth wateringly good - The garlic bread was so fresh and flavoursome, and the croquettes just melted in the mouth - so creamy yet the fiery kick from the arrabbiata sauce so welcome!
We could have eaten multiple plates of these but they were perfect starter sizes, leaving you wanting more...and so it was time for mains!
We browsed the Jamie's Italian Kids' Menu first and I have to say, I was immediately very impressed!
There was none of the usual chicken nuggets and chips, or fishfingers and beans to be seen - instead the choices consisted of much more healthy and appealing items such as Jamies Proper Picnic Box, Organic Salmon In A Bag, Baby organic beef burgers, Organic Mini Meatballs and Spaghetti and Secret Seven Veg Cheesy Pasta - all healthy and fresh but still fun and appealing to little ones!
I loved that none of the kids meals were served with chips but with baby potatoes instead, however I did see other nearby children eating their meals with chips instead so if your children prefer chips it's not a problem at all to swap the accompaniment which is nice to see.
Tyne chose the Happy Chicken Lollipops - freshly made organic lemony chicken fillet lollipops served with potatoes and shake me salad.
I was actually rather jealous when they arrived as they looked delicious - I did have to sneak a taste for review purposes of course and they didn't disappoint! I would have been happy to eat that meal myself - which is not something I can often say for childrens meals at many restaurants.
As for the grown ups, I ordered the Meatballs Parpadelle - I'm actually not the biggest fan of meatballs usually but I just fancied trying them on this particular night and I'm so glad I did - they were absolutely delicious! There was the perfect amount of spice, the pasta was perfectly al dente and the meat melted in the mouth - amazing.
Jon ordered a meal from the specials menu, the Salami Spaghetti - this was, again, just perfection on a plate.
The spaghetti was perfectly al dente, the freshness of the ingredients was palpable, and there was the perfect hint of spice.
For dessert, Tyne ordered the ice cream and I went for the Molten chocolate praline pudding with salted caramel ice cream.
The praline center was just beautiful, and the ice cream was the perfect accompaniment.
Jon opted for the Amalfi Lemon Meringue cheesecake - it was gone before I could taste it but he assures me that it was delicious and very more ish!
I know when reading these sorts of gushing reviews it can seem a little too good to be true, but I kid you not - we have reviewed many restaurants over the years and dine out many times per month, but we both agree that this meal was certainly one of the top 3 that we have ever eaten anywhere in the world - a pretty impressive achievement as I don't think we're the easiest people to please!
The service was attentive without being over the top, and the restaurant had a lovely family vibe to it - we both worried about taking two young children out on a friday evening to a popular restaurant but we needn't have as they couldn't have been made to feel more welcome and there were lots of other families dining there too.
We used the changing facilities to change Noah at one point and they have to be commented on - they were spotlessly clean and they had everything you might need right to hand, including nappies in a variety of sizes, nappy bags, wipes and more - well done Jamies Italian for truly thinking of everything a parent might need!
When the bill arrived, I was honestly flawed at what fantastic value for money it was - we had eaten at another family-friendly chain earlier in the week where the quality was far lesser and we had actually ordered less food, and that bill had totalled £20 more than this one!! I would have expected to pay a lot more for this meal.
I asked Tyne what he thought about his dining experience, here are just a few of his answers:
· “What did you eat and how was it?”
I had chicken lollipops and potatoes, they were really really good. I ate them all and the lollipops were fun. I don't like cucumber though.
· “What do you think your meal was made out of?”
It was chicken and potatoes and lettuce.
· “Did you finish your whole plate?” (“If no, what was left on your plate?”)
I didn't eat the cucumber coz its yacky.
· “What was the best thing about your meal?”
The lollipops are fun and tasted very nice.
· “Do you think eating vegetables is very important?”
Vegetables make you big and strong like superman!
· “Would you like to come back here in the future?”
Yes, for more lollipops and ice cream and stickers!
To sum up Tyne's experience of dining at Jamies Italian, I'll leave you with a photo of him mid-meal...I think it says it all!
To locate your nearest branch or find out more, please visit www.jamiesitalian.co.uk
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