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Jamie's Italian
New Review
Jamie's Italian
Assembly Rooms,
54 George Street (entrance Rose St),
Edinburgh,
Midlothian,
EH2 2LR
Forget independent eateries 'Jamie's' is all about feeding the masses. With 250 covers and 96 staff, the Edinburgh branch has landed with a big fat thud! I am a fan and I like the Glasgow restaurant and so was eager to secure a table for the 'soft' Edinburgh opening.
 

The Dowager and I started with beautiful bruschetta (£8.95) which was stunningly good. Crispy baked thin bread with pea & mint ripple, grilled asparagus, smashed broad beans, smoky mozzarella, spinach, mint & chilli. The aromatic summery flavours were divine especially the spearmint with the peas and hot chilli. Crispy squid (£5.75) and courgette fritto (£6.50) were both declared good  but heavy on the garlic by Simone and Nina. Mr Bite liked his meat antipasti plank (£6.85), superb presentation and a good mix of flavours and textures. Paul tucked into the world's best olives on ice (£3.75) which are actually just good but 'hifalutin' is a recurring theme at Jamie's. Get used to it.
 

We had a very long wait  for our main courses. On arrival they were pretty much enjoyed by all. Whole sea bream (£15.95) for me was tasty but choc full of bones. I can handle this, others may not like it. The flavour mix of olives, garlic, wine, capers, parsley & sweet baby plum tomatoes was excellent, a side of steamed tenderstem broccoli (£3.25) with lemon, garlic and olive oil equally so, whilst posh chips (£3.25) with truffle oil & Parmesan were nothing short of 'When Harry met Sally'. The Dowager equally praised the flavours of mint, chilli & sticky balsamic in her British lamb breast (£12.75). Mr Bite and Paul enjoyed spaghetti vongole (£13.35) and wild rabbit taglioni (£10.95) respectively.
 

All good so far but Nina thought her sausage papperdelle (£10.95) was too 'al dente' We mentioned this to the waitress who replied “yes we serve it al dente". We explained we were familiar with the concept of 'al dente'but this was 30-45 seconds short. Blank look. The staff are very friendly in an obviously regimented and scripted manner. They had no decision making power to address any of our wee gripes. Annoying, as this would happen immediately in many of Edinburgh's independent eateries.

 

Only Mr Bite was tempted by dessert. Unfortunately, his first two choices had both sold out  and so he was offered Tiramisu which “I am sure you will really love" came the sales pitch. He didn't. It was sloppily presented and pedestrian.
 

Jamie's is housed in the 18th Century Supper Rooms of the historic Assembly Rooms; jaw-droppingly beautiful with the high corniced ceilings. A marble-topped island bar replete with hams tempts for a lunchtime nibble and tipple. We favoured the decor above the more industrial look of the Glasgow restaurant.
 

Despite the obvious teething problems, we all agreed that we would return, probably regularly. Jamie's is sure to be a success and  if there aren't queues down Rose Street “ mangio il cappello".

 

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