Jamie’s Italian is renowned in the emirate for having one of the most authentic Italian menus to offer outside of, well, Italy! Festival City was Jamie Oliver’s first international opening and it nestles perfectly among the designer stores and eateries in the area. The restaurant continues to be a huge success with expats and locals alike but it’s not a new concept to seasoned foodie types here in the UAE. Jamie first conceived of the idea while brainstorming back home in blighty, opening restaurants in London, Liverpool, Bath and all over the UK. But, the one we love, and what stands out the most, is the popular Jamie’s Italian, Brighton.
Jamie Oliver’s first thought for Brighton was to recreate what the Italians hold most dear – traditional, rustic dishes that have been tried, tested and loved with a slight twist! He wasted no time snapping up renowned Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo to help train and grow their staff force. Gennaro has become a great mentor for Jamie’s young chefs. As a boy, he grew up in a tiny fishing village on the Amalfi coast, learned how simple, fresh ingredients, prepared and cooked with love and passion became great dishes. These great dishes are now what tickle your taste buds, not only in Brighton but, in each and every Jamie’s Italian restaurant throughout the world.
Set back from the beautiful and historic Lanes in Brighton, Jamie’s Italian is the perfect spot for lunch or dinner after a hard day’s shopping and sightseeing or checking out their famous pebble beach. The venue is ideal for whether you want a quick informal snack or plush sit-down dinner. Jamie himself is a huge fan of the culture filled location and wastes no time gushing about it.
“Brighton’s a diverse city with a cool and vibrant culture – plus loads of proper seaside tradition. We wanted to tap into all of it so we’ve picked a site that’s perfect – right in the middle of the action, between the Lanes and the seafront.” Jamie said. “Wonderful fresh fish and fabulous daily specials cooked in our wood burning oven as well as a roof top courtyard are a few things that make Brighton a unique addition to the Jamie’s Italian restaurant family.”
A chain restaurant often has connotations of something cheap and bland; but Brighton is about a million miles away from that. Fresh pasta is made every day, jamons and cheeses hang over the antipasti kitchen and the restaurant has a palpable buzz; with Jamie’s presence felt from the J insignia on the waiting staff’s ties to the turn of phrase on the menu.
The menu boasts an extensive variety of fresh traditional meals, which are served on quirky wooden boards and in clay pots creating a rustic, gastronomical feel. Food can be accompanied by a multitude of wines, all personally selected and extremely versatile. They pride themselves on serving the wines by the glass or in 500ml pichets, so customers can mix and match to suit each course.
Jamie’s Italian has succeeded in delivering affordable, delicious Italian food with a twist, and has redesigned and rewritten the concept of the chain restaurant with their own rules, and made it different, exuberant and family-orientated. We therefore crown Jamie’s Italian Brighton as our Best International restaurant. So, next time you’re back in the United Kingdom make sure you check it out!
INFO: 11 Black Lion Street, Brighton Bn1 1nd., 01273 915 480, www.jamieoliver.com/italian/brighton