Jamie Oliver’s passport may be British, but it was a passion for Italy that made his name in the first place. Appropriately, Jamie’s Italian represents the pukka boy everyone fell in love with in populist restaurant form: youthful, streetwise and slightly madcap, but impressively committed to modern regional cooking. That’s not to say it’s always perfect – some readers recommend it for ‘refuelling’ purposes only – but at its best this chain whips the competition with quality ingredients, ace cocktails, an all-Italian wine list and a procession of neat new ideas. Where else will you find Italian ‘nachos’, truffled turkey milanese or Mike the Woodman’s mushroom fritti alongside classic linguine vongole, burrata salad and Amalfi lemon curd slice? The no-bookings policy remains an issue, so be prepared to queue.
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