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6 May 2016

dinner at jamie's italian, canary wharf

remember that time i went to italy and then decided i'd never have italian food that good ever again, so should probably avoid all italian food until further notice, slash, when i'm in italy next? yeah. i ate those words a few weeks later on a trip out with the girls in soho, and it was then i realised that actually, that was kind of a dumb plan. with so many fab authentic restaurants in the city to choose from, perhaps my decision was made a little hasty. well, it was un-made pretty sharpish after that first feast since returning from venice, and then totally justified once again when the opportunity to check out my main man jamie's italian restaurant in canary wharf arrived in my inbox.

canary wharf: what is it? seems big and cold. not really my idea of a great dinner location, especially when all i know of the wharf is: corporate city wankers, and the fact that the dlr that stops every twelve metres so these corporate city wankers don't have to break in their expensive leather shoes by walking between stops. i know one person who works there. i've literally been to canary wharf one other time in my life, and funnily enough, it was en route to stratford city with my mum - the last time she was here, and the last time i visited a jamie's italian. talk about circle of life!

because i had been there before and had a really tasty experience (seriously, i am a massive jamie famgirl), i was really excited to get in and check out the revamped menu, and choose something new. except, after having a quick looksie online earlier that day (totally whetting my appetite - ugh!), i'd discovered that the menu didn't appear to have changed much at all... i know it's a tried and tested menu, and certainly i had no complaints from the choices offered, but i had sort of expected for there to have been some additions included over time. though, i suppose if you have kind of nailed your menu from the start, there's nowhere else to take it...

because i didn't want to eat anything i'd had the last time, i chose the crispy squid starter (£6.45) with garlic and lemon mayo, chilli, parsley and fried garlic, while my friend went with the mushroom fritti (£5.75) - king oyster and  paris brown mushrooms coated in breadcrumbs and served with garlic mayo. the starters were with us in almost no time (partially because 6:30 in the wharf isn't really "dinner time", so we were some of the only guests in there at that time), and devoured in less. the squid did exactly what it did on the tin, and was crispy and crunchy - just how i like my squid, albeit a bit hard to swallow because of their form; i like my baby octopi in rings, not whole. i did especially like the aioli dip which had an added kick to it thanks to some chilli powder sprinkled on top.

with barely a moment to refill the glasses of wine in between courses, our mains arrived. i'd chosen the squid and mussel spaghetti on a whim, and regretted asking for it the minute it was out of my mouth. as luck would have it (in this case), they were out of mussels and so i was able to sub in the dish i had actually wanted to try: the fresh crab spaghetti (£14.20). seafood is a must whenever you're near a body of water, and considering we were sat in a restaurant on an island, on an island, on another island, it was kind of... yeah. 

the dish came served with garlic, capers, chilli, fennel, anchovies, lemon and olive oil, which sort of seems a lot of flavour, but in actual fact, the combination was perfection. it was a giant plate of pasta, and i'm not sure my belly was ready for such a large meal, and certainly not so quickly after my starter, so i wasn't able to finish the main. it's a shame because it was really tasty, and i wanted to! i think it was just our luck for being some of the only customers in there, so the kitchen were able to get our meals out really quickly. normally not a problem, i was wasn't prepared enough (damn me and my late lunches!).

after that, we were definitely too-full to eat any more. the trouble there being that i was there to road test the evening meal deal (a starter, main and dessert all for £20), which meant we sort of had to. put a dessert menu in front of me and i will rarely pass, but while the amount of food included in the meal deal is incredible value for money, it's more than i would normally eat. i mean, that didn't stop me; i ordered the vin santo tiramisu (£5.45) with explicit instructions to bring it to me in no less than twenty minutes  - a break long enough to let our meals settle, while we opted for a small digestif to help the process along. foolishly, we agreed to our waiter's suggestion of sambucca (£2.65). 

i will say this: our waiter was incredibly helpful. his suggestions were spot on at every turn, and he was warm, welcoming, and happy to bend over backwards to accommodate us, but i am not a big licorice fan, and don't enjoy strong liquor at the best of times. i'm not sure why i thought this would be a good idea, but with the bottle of wine cleaned up as well as a few follow up glasses, "it seemed like a good idea at the time". well, it wasn't. and it's possibly to blame for what happened next, because when my dessert arrived, i did not enjoy it one little bit.

i picked at the cream and chocolate dessert in front of me, making sure to ask the waiter that it was definitely a tiramisu, as it was nothing like any tiramisu i'd ever had. no layers of sponge, no coffee aftertaste, none of the orange zest the description claimed, nothing but cream and what tasted like biscuit and chocolate bits. the waiter confirmed this was their fourth tiramisu recipe since he'd been there, but it was a favourite. well, it wasn't my favourite of the three dishes, and not a favourite as far as other tiramisus go, but again - you can't fault the value for money in the meal deal.

considering the main and starter alone cost more than twenty pounds, the evening meal deal is up there as far as excellent value goes. the deal is available monday to thursday after 6pm, so is perfect for a nice dinner before you head out for the night, or if you're after something delicious and filling after a long day. i would steer clear of the tiramisu though, and opt for the brownie or something salted caramelly next time.

have you been to a jamie's italian recently; what are your favourite dishes?

Jamie's Italian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*i was invited to review the meal deal complimentary, but of course, all thoughts are my own*