When the news came that Jamie Oliver is opening a restaurant in Singapore – the first Jamie’s Italian in Asia – the hype about it was overwhelming and unbelievably crazy. Jamie Oliver is a household name, and arguably one of the most famous British chefs in the world. The arrival of his restaurant in Singapore further emphasises Singapore’s position as a dining destination in Asia.
Jamie’s Italian Singapore officially opens its door at Vivo City today, and here are some of the highlights that you can expect from Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant.
As with all the Jamie’s Italian restaurants around the world, the menu is extensive, with offerings of antipasti, pasta and risotto dishes, and main courses that are hearty and rustic.
The Planks – platters of meat and fish – are a great way to start, especially if you are in a big group. The Meat Plank (S$15.50/pax) consists of cured meats, cheeses, pickles and a crunchy salad. We also sampled the Fish Plank (S$17/pax), a seafood version with an assortment of beetroot-cured salmon, roasted shellfish, smoked mackerel pate and delicious fritto misto, which tastes great with yuzu mayo.
If you are a fan of olives, you should also go for their World’s Best Olives on Ice (S$7.50). The other starter that we had was the Baked Mushrooms (S$12.50). It was decent, but nothing to write home about. The Crispy Squid (S$11.50) and Crispy Stuffed Risotto Balls (S$11.50) sound promising, and we would probably get them the next time.
At Jamie’s Italian, pastas are made fresh in-house daily, and they are naturally one of the highlights. The best part is that they come in two portions – a smaller serving which is meant to be an appetiser, and the regular size as a main course – which gives you the option of getting more dishes for sharing.
The most popular pasta on the menu is the Prawn Linguine (S$17/25) with fried garlicky prawns. But while we have not tried this, we have to give mentions to the Tagliatelle Bolognese (S$15/22) – which we had when we were in Jamie’s Italian London previously, and it is surely one dish not to be missed because this classic pasta is so satisfying.
We could not resist ordering the Wild Truffle Risotto (S$16/24.50). It was excellent, with subtle taste of the finely chopped truffle lingering on the tongue. We had this same dish at London and much to our surprise, we felt the Singapore’s version was significantly more impressive. Also good was the Jools’ Favourite Sicilian Tuna Fusilli (S$14/21), which is apparently the must-have dish for Jools (Jamie Oliver’s wife) whenever she is at the restaurant. We loved how the herby breadcrumbs added an extra texture to the flavourful pasta with slow-cooked tuna, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.
Other pastas on the menu include the Pasta Alla Norma (S$12.50/19), Penne Arrabbiata (S$12.50/19), Black Angel Spagehtti (S$16/24.50), and Sausage Pappardelle (S$16/24).
Among the main courses, you might be tempted by the Veal Flash Steak (S$32.50) and The Jamie’s Italian Wagyu Burger (S$27.50). One of the exclusive dishes for Jamie’s Italian Singapore is the Pink Snapper Acqua Pazza (S$32). While it was not out-of-the-world-good, it was a pleasantly comforting dish that you can eat on a regular basis – which is exactly what Jamie Oliver is known for.
Sweet treats such as Tutti Frutti Lemon Meringue Pie (S$11.50) and the Sour Cherry Bakewell (S$9.50) were decent, but not particularly outstanding.
But what we really loved were the Tiramisu (S$11.50) and Panna Cotta (S$9). The former – a strong and intense coffee-flavoured triffle with orange mascarpone and chocolate, and the latter – a simple and well-made dessert which is rich and creamy yet not overly sweet, exactly how a good panna cotta should be. We dare say it is one of the better renditions in town.
Jamie’s Italian takes reservations, but from what we understand, it is already fully-booked for the next few weeks. So, the only way is to try your luck for a table as walk-in guests.
While Jamie Oliver is a household name and brand, expectations are naturally developed and raised. However, one pointer that you may want to take note of prior to your visit to the inaugural Asian outlet – Jamie’s Italian is positioned to be a casual Italian restaurant, catering to the masses with fuss-free cuisine of rustic and homely pastas. Definitely not the posh fine-dining establishment that many might be expecting across all Jamie Oliver’s restaurants.
I like Jamie’s Italian and I think it blends in perfectly with Singapore’s local food scene. I would not be surprised if they were to open more branches in Singapore in the near future, and eventually in the rest of Asia.
Jamie’s Italian Singapore
1 HarbourFront Walk,
Tel: +65 67335500
Daily: 11.30am to 11pm (All day dining)
Nearest Station: Harbourfront
Note: This was an invited media tasting.
For more recommendations, read my list of best Italian restaurants in Singapore