The real horror was every one of the pasta dishes. What’s the point of the pasta being freshly made when it’s all drowning in sauce? We actually struggled to locate the pasta sheets within the lasagne, which appeared as a small raft in a vast sea of something-like-napoletana.
Too-thick ravioli also gasped its dying breath under an ocean of acidic tomato sugo. Nearby, an intense, un-bolognaisy “bolognese” choked a pile of tagliatelle. Pictures on Trip Advisor indicate that the death by drowning method was not the result of a bad night, but is standard practice. Pizza suffers the opposite fate: biscuit-like crust with no stretch or yield, and dry, tasteless toppings. A side of coleslaw was totally devoid of taste. Weirdly, the burger was the only good main: something I’d actually go back for. My younger son was totally chuffed. Dessert was arbitrary, so I won’t go into details, but just know that it all felt a bit Spur-without-the-sparklers.
We’d gone there for my daughter’s birthday supper. She’s a pathologically cheery child, so it felt crummy that her comment on leaving was, “Wow, what a let-down”. On the website promoting the chain, Jamie tells us that it’s a celebration of Italian. Sorry, but at this Jamie’s Italian, it’s more of an insult: both to Italian food and to the diners. Come on Mr Oliver. You don’t need the dosh, so why would you put your name to something that you have so little control over? I really don’t get it. We felt jolly sorry for ourselves after that dinner, but the person I feel most sorry for is Leanne, the guest-relations manager, who has to sign “Big Love“ on her replies to both good and bad online reviews for the loca franchise, to keep the big-hearted Jamie thing going. Cringe.