Review: Jamie’s Italian at Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre
Published 17 August 2014
Jamie’s Italian, in my opinion, is one of those places that have successfully combined tasty dishes but with a quality consistency that comes with being part of a chain. It is hard to do both – you get a lot of one-off restaurants serving great food, and a lot of chain restaurants serving mediocre food.
I went last weekend to the Stratford Westfield branch of Jamie’s Italian, having been invited a few weeks back. You wouldn’t purposely make a trip out to Jamie’s Italian at Stratford if you didn’t live in the area – it isn’t at the level of a destination restaurant yet. But when I do go to Westfield, it is probably one of my top three places I would consider.
The location is perfect for either alfresco dining or people watching, as it faces the Four Dials plaza, one of the main thoroughfares at Westfield Stratford.
The menu is the same across all the Jamie’s Italian branches, but they also have a few daily specials on the blackboard, which is worth checking out. On the day, the fish special was sustainable whole baked lemon sole with a nutty seed crust finished with butter and zesty orange sauce. Quite a long name, but it was fresh & tasty, with a finger licking sauce:
I jumped the gun there to the mains with the lemon sole daily special, as we did had starters to begin with:
Crab and Avocado Bruschetta
Sourdough, fresh crab & avocado with apple, chilli, mint & lemon
Tomato & mozzarella risotto balls with arrabbiata sauce
Both starters were good, and generously sized. I felt that the arancinis were really flavourful, with quite a bit of a chilli kick (don’t order if you can’t take spicy). And while the crab bruschetta was nice, I would have liked crab meat with a stronger flavour to it
The mains portions were quite substantial – we thought we would be able to get through three courses each, but after the starters & mains, we were quite stuffed! I had already described the lemon sole main special above, so the other main course we had was the Jamie’s Italian Signature Porchetta – British pork belly with herbs & garlic, fennel crackling & wild mushrooms
This was fantastic – and well worth its designation of a signature dish! The stuffing really complemented the tender and juicy pork belly. The only complaint I have is that I wish there was more pork belly, even though it was a generous portion already. It was that good!
For sides, we decided to go for Posh Chips (truffle oil & parmesan). It sounded better than it tasted – the addition of the truffle oil and greasy parmesan made the chips triply oily and thus soggy. I can see what was attempted here, to elevate the humble chip, but the oily chips just reminded me of cheap takeaway shop chips.
For the other side, we decided to go with a half portion of a pasta dish – Fresh Crab Spaghettini (With capers, chilli, fennel, parsley, anchovies & lemon). Having a pasta dish at Jamie’s Italian is a smart move, as they make all their pastas freshly on site each day. And it shows – the pasta had a good springy bite to it, something you don’t get with dried pasta. However, this dish was also slightly hit and miss – while the pasta was good, the crab sauce was too salty.
If you’re after good quality food at Stratford Westfield, Jamie’s Italian is probably one of my top choices. It offers a much more relaxed dining atmosphere than the chaotic food court, and if you get a window seat there is the bonus of being able to people watch. I’ve been to various Jamie’s Italian branches, and the food is consistently good. The service at this branch was also friendly and efficient, despite being quite full on a Saturday evening.
Don’t forget to bring your free Jamie’s Gold Card for some exclusive freebies each time you dine!
Jamie’s Italian Westfield Stratford, 158 The Street (in front of John Lewis and Four Dials). Reservations online or via phone (020 3535 8063)