I recently found out about Jamie’s Gold Club: a free membership card for Jamie’s Italian which offers little goodies and tasters each month. I’m never one to argue with free food, so I signed up. This, of course, necessitated a trip to Jamie’s Italian: something of a treat for me, but since a couple of family member’s were driving over four hours with me to help me move into my new house, we all agreed it would be a lovely way to relax after a long and stressful day.
Jamie’s Italian, York, is hidden away in a little courtyard, off the main square. At the door, we were greeted by stands of wood and terracotta – tableware with a very Jamie Oliver flare – for sale, along with a large selection of his recipe books. We lead upstairs to our reserved table by the window. The interior is beautiful: 1950s industrial with a splash of the domestic (and some slightly odd wallpaper in the corridor outside the toilets).
On arriving at our table, our waiter scanned my gold card to discover what treats lay in wait for our meal. This month’s taster was a little mug of primavera risotto. It was only a couple of forks full: certainly no more than a taster, but it was rich, and creamy, with sweet peas and broad beans.
As well as this, I had a choice of either a free Sangria Latina for each at our table, or £10 off our meal. Both offers were generous and we decided to treat ourselves to the cocktails. The drinks were like watermelon gratinas: glasses piles with crushed ice. Sweet, summery watermelon was complimented by a wedge of lime, squeezed in amongst the ice.
The menu, though not extensive, looked delicious. Only a small range of dishes offered vegetarian options but a note in the corner informed us that we could ask our waiter for a dedicated vegetarian/vegan menu. It didn’t come to this, however; the options in front of us were enough to tempt. Rather than commit to a single dish, I combined a starter from the specials board: bruschetta with sticky figs, ricotta and crispy bacon, with the primavera side salad. I was a little disappointed to see only 2, small dried figs on my platter when it arrived but overall the dish was delicious. The toasted bruschetta was still soft in the middle. A bite of this, topped with soft rich and creamy ricotta, studded with crispy bacon was heaven. I did find the amount of cheese a bit overwhelming: too much rich saltiness. I could happily have shared the plate as a starter. But this rich, decadent dish complimented the very light green salad. Though I ordered the primavera salad, first time round I was prevented with a rocket salad. This wasn’t an issue since, on seeing it, one of my companions immediately offered (oh so kindly) to eat it for me. Second attempt, I’m still not sure I was given a primavera: I saw plenty of courgette, and none of the asparagus promised. I didn’t make a fuss however; the salad, whatever it was, tasted lovely.
My companions had a superfood salad: a big plate of delicious mixed veg and beans, served beautifully, with an entire avocado; and a squid and mussel spaghetti. I tried a little of the seafood dish. It was slightly spicy and very fishy: a beautiful combination of flavours.
To finish, we shared a bowl of ice cream. We had a combination of salted caramel and vanilla, topped with thick, rich butterscotch sauce and a very fine sprinkling of honeycomb. The ice cream was soft, rich and delicious. The salted caramel was not as rich and sweet as the name would suggest but the vanilla was perfect: everything you wish for from classic, good quality ice cream.
Despite a hiccup or two, we all came away feeling deeply full and satisfied. The evening was a success and the gold card will certainly tempt me back for future treats.