Monday, 30 May 2011

Jamie's Italian - Gunwharf Quays

Sunday 29th of May - Jamie's Italian is now open for business.  Their advertised official opening is today (Monday 30th), so I did not expect it to be as busy as it was!   Who am I kidding!!!  In a world where everyone is super obsessed with celebrities and its owners’ celebrity chef status, you can expect the restaurant to be constantly packed. I'm sure it will be the biggest grossing restaurant at GWQ - especially with 300 covers indoors and 100 outdoors. 

On arrival I was given a pager and told there would be a 30 minute wait unfortunately, (so it looks like queues here will be a common theme), so I headed over to the bar area for a drink and to peruse the menu.  The restaurant only takes bookings for large groups of 6 or more.  

 Menu choices include Italian classics (like spaghetti bolognese, antipasti and such) and Italian-inspired dishes.  The smaller plates/starters looked far more interesting than the mains, with dishes such as stuffed courgette flowers, crispy polenta chips and crispy rice balls stuffed with smoked buffalo mozzarella and porcini mushrooms.

Risotto Milanese £11.95 promised creamy saffron & parmesan risotto with herby roasted bone marrow & lemon & parsley gremolata.  I found it was very one dimensional and I can't recall tasting the flavours of the gremolata (which is lemon zest, garlic, parsley). Risottos barely cover an inch in depth, so you don't get that much for your money.  This was my feedback to the waiter - a slightly larger portion please.   I think I made a poor choice on this occasion.

Unfortunately some of the prices are hard to chew, and although I would like to return again and perhaps next time order several smaller dishes under the nibbles/antipasti menu instead of a main course (as also encouraged to do by the waiter), for my choices would come to just shy of £20 excluding drinks, dessert and any tipping - wowee.  So potentially best part of £40 for 1 person.  I think I would need an advance on my wages!

I think the majority of the public will love this place going on the popularity of all the other branches.  The service is slow, so don't think you can pop in for a quick lunch.  You will need to take your time, so go with good friends.

Would love to get other peoples thoughts on the place.
Risotto Milanese

Truffle Risotto

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Southsea Castle's new tea rooms

Opened on May 14th, I was chomping at the bit to visit the new tea rooms, equally to visit the castle as I have never managed to do so before (terrible I know).

They have made this place into something truely special in my view.  It had a feel similar to Aspects Gallery tea rooms, but in a greater setting.  With the sun shining it was a perfect day to visit.  I only stayed for a cup of tea on this occasion, but having looked at some of the food coming out, I will be back to eat soon.  They have a few outdoor tables and benches, so weather permitting you can sit and eat/drink there also.  The inside space has very clean lines (love that expression LOL) and is bright with its modern feel and touches. 

The cafe is run by Yellow Kite who are a catering company set up as the social enterprise component of the healthy Pompey project.  There mission is to improve the health of the people of Portsmouth, by introducing healthier options.

I had a cup of tea which was fairly priced at £1, and a pot at £1.50

The menu comprises of a few breakfast dishes, lunch is 12 to 2.30pm and includes soups, salad, mezze, and a childrens menu,  and all dishes are priced between £2.50 to £6 (for the mezze).  Afternoon tea is served between 2.30 to 4.15pm, and a selection of cakes are available throughout the day.  There is a small selection of alcaholic beverages too :-)

There has been talk of turning the hot walls in Old Portsmouth into an art space and cafe, if so, then this is what I imagine it will look like as it housed in a similar space.

Truly a great addition to the now expanding Southsea tea room scene!

Open daily 10-4.30pm May to October, excluding Mondays. 

Nara Sushi

Having a Yo Sushi at GWQ is fine and well, but sometimes it is nice to give the independent restaurants our support, plus there is the need to pay a minimum of £2.80 to park at GWQ!

I went for a spot of lunch Saturday afternoon to Nara Sushi.  There were only 6 other customers in there, but it still created a nice environment.  The waitress was very knowledgeable and helpful.

The concept is the same as Yo, with a conveyor belt and brightly coloured dishes all individually priced.  I am no expert on Sushi, but the food in this place was very good compared to my previous sushi adventures.  The rice had a consistency and texture so creamy it melted in the mouth, like no other sushi rice has done before.  I ordered a Tuna Set, Chicken Gyoza, Salmon Roe Nigiri (this was beautiful), to name a few.  Even the wasabi was prepared beautifully, and not too harsh on the palette like it can be. 

What a cute place!  They have 2 belts, so lets hope they fill them with lots of adventure seeking locals.  I will be back for sure!

Top tip: They have a BYO policy too!