Jamie’s Pizzeria doesn’t deliver. And we’re not referring to the absence of a delivery service.
Jamie’s doesn’t live up to the expectations of a restaurant from an international celebrity chef whose reputation is based on creating beautiful, rustic dishes from simple, but fresh, ingredients. What’s missing are those big flavours, the vibrant colours and the complex interplay textures that you’ve come to associate with Jamie’s naked-style of cooking. So it’s not because we expected gourmet, high-end pizzas and got an affordable pizzeria with simple pies instead. That’s certainly a part of a problem — but we’re more disappointing because it is an unremarkable space with less-than-mediocre, pedestrian food.
Though comfortable, the interiors lack any sense of character. All the elements — black and white floor tiles, distressed walls with framed photographs of food, the mural that squeezes in every icon of Mumbai — would be as appropriate for a chic all-day café or a modern Indian restaurant.
We dipped into some of the appetisers before plunging into the pizzas. Intrigued by the description of the fritto misto, which says that it’s made with ‘sustainable fish’, we ask for an explanation. We are told that it’s not actually ‘sustainable’ but ‘sasta tikao’. Considering the fish in question is bassa, both explanations are valid.
It’s a lacklustre mixed bowl of battered fried prawns, fish and squid accompanied by a chunky Italian tartare sauce that’s so loose we mistake it for a badly made tzatziki. The roasted tomato bruschetta looks and tastes much better; the cherry tomatoes scattered over thick mounds of ricotta on the toasted ciabatta are an appetising match of tartness and creaminess.
We were warned that the white rocket pizza has not been received well, but order it nonetheless. One bite and we understand why the four cheese pizza — made with mozzarella, Cheddar, ricotta and vegetarian parmesan, topped with fresh rocket leaves — has not found favour. The base is so hard, it feels like eating buttered toast with cheese sauce; it’s just a few green chillies short of a chilli cheese toast. The capricciosa pizza — ham, mushrooms, black olives on a tomato base — is slightly better. The bread is slightly moist and fluffy, but the topping is underwhelming.
When choosing desserts, we are once again informed that the proper tiramisu with orange zest is not a popular choice. We persist, only to find a soft, fluffy tiramisu lightly flavoured with a hint of orange. It’s about the best thing we’ve eaten at the meal. The homemade ginger beer, with a sweet and spicy punch, was the best thing we drank.
At the moment, Jamie’s is just a little better than an obscure ‘conti’ restaurant, deep in the bylanes of a distant suburb. If it plans to survive, it needs to up its game.
WHAT: Jamie’s Pizzeria by Jamie
WHERE: High Street Phoenix, Opposite PVR Cinema, Lower Parel
WHEN: 11 am to midnight
COST: Rs 800 per head without alcohol
Published HT Weekend Aug 20, 2016