- 27 Jun 2016 9:00 AM
Oliver couldn’t have selected a better location in this part of Europe for his first restaurant: Szentháromság utca is in the heart of the busy Castle District, only a few steps from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Oliver is very enthusiastic about it too: “This must be one of the most beautiful places to open a restaurant.”
Even apart from the prestigious location, the restaurant speaks for itself: Jamie’s Italian is spacious and bright, thanks to the grandiose window front. The interior is noble and well-designed to the last detail: red leather seats, wooden planking, modern tile patterns. The bar is decorated with hams, chili chains and garlic, and from the street terrace you can see the nearby attractions.
Oliver’s name appears everywhere too: a neon sign outside, over the bar, on the menu cards and even on the toilet bowls! The interior design straightaway communicates two things to us: A) You will find contemporary Italian dishes on the plates. B) The restaurant experience is highly defined through the brand value.
Oliver found a worthy partner for his introduction in the Hungarian market in local gastro-entrepreneur Zoltán Roy Zsidai. In addition to being in the same business they have some other things in common: their love for hip design, quality ingredients and excellent service. “I felt from the first moment that our enterprise groups have the right chemistry,” Zsidai says of their relationship. “It was like having found my spiritual brother in London.”
The co-operation was not always easy, despite the spiritual brotherhood: Oliver has strict standards. New restaurant employees have to undergo intensive training and some of them even travel to Great Britain to do so. Finding suppliers in Italy and Hungary took 10 months, since not everyone is able to fulfil the high standards of the chain.
Oliver, who has made several public comments about being an animal rights activist, pays attention that the products he buys are not only of the right quality but also come from ethical and sustainable production.
Best of Italian cuisine
He has dishes from all the regions of Italy on the menu: it can be pasta, pizza or steak. Oliver relies mainly on tried and proven recipes, such as Spaghetti Carbonara, Bruschetta, Pizza Margherita or Tagliatelle Bolognese, which are prepared to an expert standard and arranged attractively but don’t promise a lot of surprises.
Be careful with the “Turbo Penne Arrabbiata”: Oliver likes really hot dishes. The star chef admitted in one interview that he is really passionate about chili, so it’s not a surprise that this dish is especially spicy.
We can’t say a bad thing about the pizza in Jamie’s Italian: they are not too cluttered and the topping is only made up of selected ingredients, the base is paper-thin and crispy, and the whole thing is served on a rustic wooden plate. With the selection of poultry, meat, fish and vegetarian dishes offered, Oliver makes sure that all the diners will be happy.
The international players score in the field of desserts: the Amalfi lemon meringue cheesecake, the brownies, the chocolate pudding with salty caramel and the frozen yoghurt are everything that the regional dessert kitchen has to offer.
Jamie’s Italian is probably the hippest place to have a meal with your friends or family or to enjoy a drink after work – the really quality interior makes sure of that. However, the myth of the “affordable” high-gloss restaurant is quickly broken with a single look at the price list, since among the Budapest conditions this establishment is in the rather elevated price range.
However, the arrival of the kitchen messiah shows there is hope: if a legend such as Oliver invests in Hungary, this can be regarded as recognition for the whole domestic gastronomy scene.
You should try this: the Linguine with fried shrimps in a garlic-fennel-saffron sauce. The rainbow salad is also a must – a coleslaw, with an unusual and colourful taste such as the facets of the rainbow. You should try it with the appetiser plate.
11 Szentháromság utca, District I
Open daily noon-11pm
Reservations at (+36-1) 800 9212
Appetisers: HUF 640 to 2980
Main dishes: HUF 1880 to 6980
Garnishes and salads: HUF 740 to 1940
Desserts: HUF 1380 to 1460
Source: The Budapest Times
Republished with permission