Jamie's Italian never disappoints, and although it's been around for quite a while now, I wanted to share with you my most recent visit to the Cheltenham restaurant because it was so good.
Sometimes, a plate of pasta can fix a world of problems. And sharing a chocolate brownie with your best friend – well, it can't be beat.
A refurbished court house, the upper area of the restaurant has all the original furniture, and Bethan and I were seated in the snug jury box. We were enclosed and seated side by side, it felt very cosy albeit a little strange, but it was fantastic. A visit is highly recommended even if it's just for the aesthetic – it would make a great place for a first date.
It has become quite the norm for me to order 'nibbles', or starters, when I go out to eat. I guess when I was a student I couldn't afford to order whatever I wanted on the menu, but now I have that luxury and it just makes the whole experience so much nicer. I have become obsessed with olives in the past year and I knew we had to get some to snack on before our main meal.
And of course polenta chips. Have you tried these? They are out-of-this-world delicious. Crispy, buttery fried cubes of polenta sprinkled with parmesan, salt and rosemary. I could eat bowl after bowl of these things.
Not long after we finished our yummy starters our mains arrived. Bethan ordered the prawn linguini and I had the penne pomodoro. I was feeling a bit plain that day as I hadn't been very well so wanted to ease back into foods. This was so delicious! Although simple, the tomato sauce was full of flavour and the pasta cooked to al dente perfection. I loved the presentation of a spoon filled with herby breadcrumbs, and although a little more cheese would have been nice, I was satisfied with my dish.
We were pretty stuffed but couldn't resist pudding. Bethan swore by the chocolate brownie (she had in fact been to the very same restaurant the weekend before) and it certainly didn't disappoint. Served with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream (drool), chocolate sauce and amaretti popcorn it was one of the best desserts I have had in a restaurant in a long time. The brownie actually tasted familiar, and then I realised it's because it must be the same recipe as the one I use at home – seeing as it's a Jamie recipe. Trust me when I say his are the best brownies in the world.
As with most other restaurants on the high street at the moment, Jamie's had a Christmas card advertising their menu for the festive season. I've already committed to the work Christmas party elsewhere but I can't help but want to go somewhere with a group of friends too. Is that something people do? If so, Jamie's is a high contender... Those polenta chips, oh my.
Me and my best friend don't live in the same town anymore, and although we're not too far away from each other, meeting up after a few weeks, or even months, is one of life's great pleasures. We always pick up from where we left off, and both buzzing to fill each other in with the news of our lives brings such a thrill. After our meal I had the pleasure of meeting Bethan's new boyfriend, but that's a story for another day.