jamies-italian-hong-kong-interiorI remember the hype when Jamie’s Italian first opened whilst I was at university in Bath. There were queues out the door for the first few months, but you were able to order a drink while you waited and the wait never seemed too long. It quickly became a favourite amongst my group of friends as somewhere simple, yet reliable and affordable for us students. When Jamie’s Italian opened in Hong Kong a few years ago, I was therefore excited to try it.

This excitement was quickly dashed when I tried to go for dinner with a friend and was told it would be a two hour wait for a table, during which time we had to stand in a queue and couldn’t even order a sip of water. Can you imagine how hangry that would make me? So, obviously, we went somewhere else, my interest moved on to the next new restaurant opening and I didn’t get around to trying Jamie’s Italian. Until I was recently invited to sample Jamie’s Christmas menu.

There are three festive menus offered at Jamie’s Italian from 1-31 December – a festive lunch menu, a festive dinner menu and a festive sharing menu. We tried the latter, which is priced at $368 per person.

jamies-italian-hong-kong-christmas-dinner-prawn-cocktailThe menu begins with a retro prawn cocktail consisting of sustainable prawns with smashed avocado and bloody mustard mayonnaise, topped with a grilled tiger prawn. I’m never that crazy about prawn cocktail, but this one was actually really pleasant, with a nice tangy flavour that complemented the creamy avocado.

jamies-italian-hong-kong-christmas-dinner-anitpasti-plankI was very happy when the antipasti plank was placed right in front of me! The plank was laden with a selection of Italian cold cuts, mini buffalo mozzarella, pecorino with chilli jam, porcini arancini with a melted cheese dip and, my personal favourite, Italian nachos with arrabbiata sauce – which basically meant deep-fried cheese ravioli! Knowing we were only part way through the feast, I had to stop myself from eating the entire bowl of these little pockets of deliciousness!

jamies-italian-hong-kong-christmas-dinner-roast-turkeyThere are three main courses included in the festive sharing menu, starting with a rather impressive free-range, organic roasted turkey, which is presented and carved at the table. Even the white meat was perfectly juicy and full of flavour, served with more sides than you have room for on your plate – glazed carrots, sweet potato fries with bacon, shredded Brussels sprouts, sweet potato mash, bacon and walnut stuffing and rich turkey gravy. I was impressed by all except for the sweet potato mash, which lacked flavour and had an unpleasant texture.

jamies-italian-hong-kong-christmas-dinner-fish-in-a-bagI actually would have been happy with just the turkey and sides, but of course there were still two mains to go. The fish in a bag consisted of sustainable sea trout with mixed pulses and grains, roasted pumpkin and salsa verde. This was a lovely Mediterranean style dish that ticked all the boxes.

jamies-italian-hong-kong-christmas-dinner-ossobucoI was most excited about the ossobuco alla Milanese, yet found this to be the most disappointing dish of the night, as neither the slow-cooked veal shank nor the sweet potato mash had any flavour at all. After quickly realising this, I pushed it aside and opted for another slice of turkey instead!

jamies-italian-hong-kong-christmas-dinner-dessert-plank

Again, I was in prime position for the assorted dessert plank! This included slices of pannetone drizzled with hot chocolate sauce, indulgent Christmas sorbet (salted caramel, vanilla and chocolate ice cream with amarena cherries, caramelised orange and chocolate sauce) and, the absolute star of the show, festive dark chocolate tart. The latter was decadently rich and dreamy, topped with crunchy hazelnuts.

Despite a couple of inconsistencies, my overall impression of Jamie’s Italian was pretty good, although I’d like to go back to sample more of the standard menu. In the meantime, if you’re looking for an affordable Christmas menu with ample food for a group of friends or colleagues, Jamie’s Italian is certainly a decent option. There is also a drinks package starting at $198 per person. Merry feasting!

Jamie’s Italian

2/F Soundwill Plaza II – Midtown
1 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

 Tel: +852 3958 2222

www.jamieoliver.com/italian/hongkong/restaurants/causeway-bay

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