Ladies who lunch is one of my favourite kind of dining experiences. There’s nothing quite like catching up with friends while fueling up on delicious dishes ready for my favourite kind of cardio – shopping. Newcastle is a brilliant location for this as the cobbled streets fuse together a selection of high street stores and an array of eateries. This week while Christmas shopping in the toon, my sister and I visited Jamie’s Italian, in Monument Mall, to sample its Quick and Easy lunch menu.
I was surprised to find this eatery is very spacious, with a choice of tables located outside, upstairs and downstairs. We decided on the latter, where we had the option of a table with views of Grey Street, or a booth in a more intimate area of the restaurant. Since it was pouring it down outside we decided on a cosy booth overlooking a large wood-fire pizza oven. Before glancing at the menu I couldn’t help but take is my surroundings, – wooden walls, mismatched tiles and industrial lightings – it’s clear the decor here is inspired by the rustic dishes on the menu.
With a vast selection of menus to choose from we went with the Quick and Easy menu, which runs Monday to Friday from 12pm and 6pm, as with important shopping time ticking away, it’s exactly what we needed. The dishes here are made from fresh, carefully sourced and seasonal ingredients, and it’s nice to see they have a variety of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and healthy options available too.
After drooling over the menu, for starters I went for the crispy fish and smashed avo followed by lemony courgette linguine while my sister chose the pappa al pomodoro soup followed by the sizzling steak. While we waited we ordered two homemade lemonades too, which were incredibly zesty and sharp.
When our starters arrived we dove straight in. My plate was filled with lightly battered pieces of fish with a side of mashed avocado. The fish itself was cooked to perfection, coated in a delicious crispy layer. The mashed avocado was creamy with a hint of heat, and was the perfect condiment for dunking the fish. My sister’s soup tasted just like red peppers and I loved the fact that it came topped with huge chunks of bread.
I could smell my main before it was even set down in front of me – it was a mouth-watering scent of fresh lemon with a hint of garlic. My dish was filled with pan-fried lemony courgette tossed through fresh linguine with mint and it was absolutely divine. The pasta was cooked perfectly and each and every bite was infused with flavours. The pasta was topped with a sprinkling of parmesan, which was ideal finishing touch. Although it was a lavish portion of pasta, I found it to be light and filling without feeling overly full. The steak was tender and juicy, and came with a selection of garlic cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, aubergine and a huge handful of fries. My sister actually said it was one of the best steaks she’d had.
The Quick and Easy menu offers two courses from £11.95 and you can add a dessert for only £3, and after seeing what sweet treats were on offer we couldn’t resist ordering one. I went for the molten chocolate praline pudding and my sis went for the epic chocolate brownie.
OMG the desserts were unreal, perfect for those who have a sweet tooth. My favourite part was cutting into my pudding, which oozed with gooey praline and chocolate sauce. The combination of the light and fluffy pudding, with the warm sauce and cool vanilla gelato was a taste sensation. Seriously my mouth is watering just thinking about it again. The best kind of desserts are the ones you don’t regret, and I could have ate this all over again. My sister was practically licking her plate clean after her dessert, but I mean it did look pretty amazing. A huge slab of brownie topped with caramelised popcorn and rich chocolate sauce, served with a scoop of salted caramel gelato.
From the food to the amazing service from our waitress Beth, the whole experience was a pleasant one. I can’t fault anything. If you’re looking to indulge on super tasty food in gorgeous surroundings for a very affordable price, then I would highly recommend Jamie’s Italian. Plus, it’s in the city centre, so it’s the perfect location if you’re shopping! There were a few couples that came in wanting booths, but couldn’t because they were reserved, so if you are popping in for a bite to eat I would recommend booking a table beforehand.
Have you been to Jamie’s Italian before? Is there a dish here you love? What’s your favourite restaurant in Newcastle?
Sarah Jayne x
The meal was c/o Jamie’s Italian