For many Brits living in Doha, the name Jamie’s Italian may be a familiar restaurant franchise known for its super fresh, honest and tasty ingredients. Now, the world famous foodie favourite has opened its first venue in Doha Festival City mall. FACT’s Craig Ferriman went along to indulge in all the Italian goodness…
Jamie’s Italian promises to give diners an opportunity to devour some authentic Italian salads, grills, pizzas, pasta and desserts. It’s a rustic Italian casual dining concept from the British Chef Jamie Oliver who trained under the Italian chef, Gennaro Contaldo. The menu is simple and classic, celebrating fresh, sustainable and impeccably sourced ingredients. The restaurant serves fresh pasta made on site, every single day, hand-stretched pizzas, homely main courses and indulgent desserts, that the whole family can enjoy.
The thing I really liked about Jamie’s Italian was how cosy and relaxed it felt. I also liked the way that it didn’t feel like I was in a mall. Whether that was down to good sound proofing, the design or its location, I’m still trying to fathom but the bottom line is that it works. The design follows the specifications set out for all of Jamie’s restaurants and the tables all feel neatly nestled away in corners rather than everybody being on top of each other. It’s an Italian restaurant in the traditional sense and that is firmly reflected in the menu. Antipastis include the beautifully crispy squid which was made further tasty with the chilli, garlic, parsley and mayo dipping sauce. Core ingredients at this restaurant are also run past Jamie’s headquarters in London so you can feel assured that the food you’re eating has been rigorously sourced. A case in point was the burrata cheese, which had to be just right, and it was perfect parts creamy and chewy.
Pasta has become a global food item. How many of us cook it at home on a regular basis? If you go out to eat it, it has to be a bit different and extra special. The dishes at Jamie’s Italian are really personalised recipes that stay true to core Italian values. Carbonara is carbonara you might think but have you ever had it with meatballs before? I hadn’t and when I tried it here, I was mesmerised. The meatballs were not excessively large, but good quality, juicy meat that lay gorgeously on the spaghetti in a nottoo thick carbonara sauce with a little lemon, parsley and some black pepper! D.R.O.O.L.I.N.G
The risotto was delicious and the lamb chops were a surprising treat. The trick was that they were grilled under a brick to get a slightly smoked texture in homage to a tradition used by Italian labourers as a means to keep their food hot. The result was divine. Pizzas were imaginative in their toppings. I tried two – the truffle shuffle which was rather filling as you’d imagine and the funghi misti. The medium crust had roasted mushrooms with a porcini sauce and a little mozzarella. After encountering endless disappointing pizzas elsewhere, these were both very satisfying. Desserts were true to Italian standards too but get the ubiquitous Jamie’s treatment. His cheesecake is strong but not too filling but the number one for me is Jamie’s take on the classic tiramisu. A unique take on an old favourite which called for some fork fights at the table (you might not want to share this one!). And that sums up the place. It’s a one-of-a-kind dining take on an age-old theme and judging by what we ate, it’s well worth a visit. It won’t dissapoint!
GO: VISIT JAMIE’S ITALIAN AT DOHA FESTIVAL CITY. CALL 4455 4812 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION.