Food – Birmingham: Jamie’s Italian. It’s worth a visit – if only for the excellent pizza.

Jamie's Italian
Jamie’s Italian, Bullring, Birmingham.

Jamie’s Italian, as most will be well aware are situated around the country in most large cities. I’ve eaten in several, and because we were staying fairly close to this one decided to give it a go.

On other visits, it’s always been a fairly safe bet eating in these establishments, perhaps not always five-star cuisine, but better than your average high street diner.

The decor is fairly standard design for Jamie’s, pretty utilitarian and warehouse styling is the look, however, it works and that’s all that matters.

On arrival we were asked to take a seat at the bar, having not bothered to book in advance. It wasn’t full so we only had to wait ten minutes or so to be seated. Our waitress was extremely friendly, and it was obvious fairly early on that this wasn’t a place where you could get away with taking it easy. The waiting staff are on the go – continually!

Unfortunately, upon being seated we were not advised of dishes which were unavailable – so our orders for a salmon dish and two pizzas were rapidly rejected. Apparently, the salmon had sold out, and the pizza oven was broken.

Imagine our anger, therefore, when halfway through our replacement dishes we saw pizza orders being delivered to other tables, including one who had been seated before us! Rather than make a fuss, we waited until finished when we queried this with our waitress, who had already checked with the chef at the time of originally ordering whether pizzas were available. only to be told no.

The dishes we had were very nice indeed. The mushroom caramelle – Fontal & porcini-stuffed pasta parcels in a creamy mushroom sauce, topped with fresh lemon zest were light and fresh and dressed in a deliciously creamy, earthy sauce, rather than drowning in ‘gloop’, which is all too often the case.

My free-range pork Milanese – a pork loin coated in herby Parmesan breadcrumbs, topped with a fried free-range egg, cheesy fonduta, rocket & Parmesan, was exceptional. The pork was well cooked but not overdone and still managed to retain its own flavour. The addition of the crispy coating gave it not only a new texture but also a flavour combination. It was a well-balanced dish overall.

Be aware though, that many of the main meal items do not have any accompaniments, so that’s why you have a selection of fries etc on the menu.

On leaving I had a quiet word with the duty manager, who was, perhaps quite rightly surprised to learn that their pizza oven was faulty as no one had told her. She took my email and promised to make contact. Within 24hrs I had received not only a full apology and explanation as to what had taken place, and a promise to ensure that communication between departments is improved, but also an invitation to return for pizza on the house by way of an apology.

This is the difference between an ordinary restaurant and one which takes customer service to the next level – the one that truly does care about its clientele.

And, as for those pizzas – outstanding, truly perfect. In fact, I’ve eaten worse in Italy, and that says a lot about this restaurant. A crispy thin dough, slightly charred with some ‘leoparding’ around the edges. My carbonara version – one word – Bellisimo!

Did my experience put me off, far from it, in fact, the manner in which it was handled will ensure my return. Well done everyone.

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