Review of Jamie’s Italian Burger
Price: £10.95 for the burger, £3.25 for the Funky Chips.
What they say:
Prime British chuck & flank steak with smoked mozzarella, mortadella, sticky balsamic onions, tomato, pickles & chillies.
We ventured to Jamie’s Italian restaurant on Friday lunchtime and had pre-booked seats for midday. For the sake of this review I had already planned to have the burger.
This was not my first time eating at one of Mr. Oliver’s eating establishments having previously enjoyed lunch at the stunning Fifteen in Watergate Bay. So with that name-drop out the way let us progress…
Jamie’s Italian occupies the old courthouse in the heart of Cheltenham and is truly a remarkable building with dining set over two floors. Our table was upstairs in the old courtroom and our seats were raised above the other diners as we were seated in the ‘Jury’ section.
In the middle of the courtroom there is a large ‘station’ which has a wide variety of cured meats hanging from it along with ‘Jamie Antipasti Planks’ (available to purchase) and a lovely little bread station with different types of loafs waiting to be carved.
All of this really adds to the experience and the unique environment made me eager to sample what was on offer. Before though, I had to take a trip down into the cellar which had previously been the holding cells for prisoners.
It was quite an eerie feeling to be down there and you did wonder what these walls had witnessed in the past. But this wasn’t a negative and again made you really appreciate the effort that had gone into restoring/updating this building.
So with a bottle of Birra Moretti premium lager now back at the table I looked over the menu to decide what I should have to pre-empt my burger.
I went with the Crispy Squid which was described as fried squid with garlicky mayo, lemon & chilli.
When it arrived it looked the perfect size for an appetizer and I immediately noticed the fresh chilli.
I added some of the lemon juice over the squid and went in for the kill. The squid tasted amazing and was perfectly cooked. It had a fresh, salty taste from the rock salt and the tempura style batter was beautifully crispy.
The red chilli was a welcome addition, it was hot but definitely not too overbearing and gave me a nice warm glow in my mouth. The fresh parsley gave the dish a new dimension to the palate. And the mayo… what’s this? Me trying the mayo? Well I thought only a heathen wouldn’t try it so what the hell…
The mayo had a very strong garlic flavour which hits you at first but then soon mellows. It tasted good with the squid but my preference was to eat it without.
Can all of the court now please stand for the burger?
This burger was stacked, in fact I now wish I had a tape measure on me as it stood tall and had a bamboo skewer through it to keep it in place. I didn’t actually take any further shots before I had cut the burger in half as another diner had noted me taking multiple pictures and probably thought this was odd.
I was impressed with how it looked and used the special knife provided to cut it in half. I found the burger to be moist but not greasy and it had a proper, meaty burger texture to it.
You could definitely tell it had good quality meat and I loved the slight char the chef had given it. The mortadella was a nice little touch and complimented the burger nicely.
Due to the size of the stack I found it quite difficult holding it all together but really enjoyed the mixture of lettuce leaves, pickles and chillis – they had a tangy little kick to them and enhanced the overall texture. I thought the fried onions were a little lost amongst everything else which was a slight disappointment.
The final ingredient was the small amount of smoked mozzarella – this was subtle but brought everything nicely together.
I did notice that the final taste in my mouth was that of (what I think were) black onion and poppy seeds on the toasted bun.
The bun did start to disintegrate as I came to the conclusion of my burger but this did not detract away from the overall enjoyment. It did seem rather ‘top heavy’ as well.
I had the Funky Chips with the burger. These were light and fluffy with a strong-ish taste of garlic as they were served with fried garlic slithers and fresh chopped parsley – a classic combination!
I would have liked some sort of relish or dipping sauce with these as combined with the burger it was quite dry and I found myself requiring more sips of the Birra Moretti lager.
The server was lovely and I would definitely recommend coming here if you haven’t been already. I didn’t really notice what the downstairs dining room was like.
If you want an intimate meal or you are self-conscious of other people watching you eating then this place may not be for you but I would say Jamie’s Italian in Cheltenham is a delightful and unique dining experience. They must also get through a ton of garlic!
I would definitely go back! Would I have the burger again? I am not sure I would. That is not a reflection on the burger, more the other tempting dishes on offer.