Slowly but surely I’m working my way around the growing number of restaurants that Milton Keynes has to offer with my most recent meal being at Jamie’s Italian on Silbury Boulevard within the Centre:MK.
Quick and Easy Dining
Jamie Oliver’s latest book is centred around “Quick & Easy Dining” which involves cooking with no more than 5 key ingredients. To accompany his book launch he has introduced the same concept into his restaurants with both a quick and easy lunch menu and a quick and easy dinner menu. This is available Sunday to Thursday from 6pm, offering 2 courses for £15.95.
To see what all of the fuss was about I took up the offer from Jamie’s to try out the new Quick & Easy dinner menu at Jamie’s Italian in Milton Keynes and with “VIP blogger” stated on my booking confirmation I had high expectations for a premium experience.
Drinks & Nibbles for the table
To kick things off we got some drinks ordered, opting for cocktails.
Jamie’s Mojito consists of Bacardi Carta Blanca rum & Martini Bianco with lime juice & sugar syrup, topped with Jamie’s Prosecco. As Mojito’s go this one was pretty good however I did think the enormous plastic straw really wasn’t necessary.
Sarah ordered herself an Amalfi Collins which consisted of St Germain elderflower liqueur, limoncello, Bombay Sapphire gin & lemon juice with a dash of soda.
World’s Best Olives
To accompany our drinks we ordered some olives for the table – Jamie’s describe this as, Big green olives, sun-dried tomato tapenade & crispy music bread. Considering you only get 8 olives I couldn’t help but feel a little hard done by for the best part of £4. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a lot better tasting and better value for money olives in Nando’s. Sorry Jamie’s!
Creamy Welsh Mussels
For my starter I ordered the creamy Welsh mussels which tasted great. These are Welsh rope-grown mussels cooked in cream & cider, with garlic, chives & toasted paysan. I’m a big fan of seafood and these mussels didn’t disappoint, packed full of flavour, they were delicious.
Pappa al Pomodoro Soup
Sarah ordered the Pappa al Pomodoro soup. This was made with Italian red pepper, tomato, garlic & bread topped with veggie Parmesan, basil & extra virgin olive oil. I tasted this and much like the mussels it was really fresh tasting and full of flavour.
Rosé Pesto Prawn Pasta
Keeping the seafood theme running I ordered the Rosé pesto prawn pasta. This was made with sustainably caught garlicky prawns fried with red pesto & rosé wine, tossed through fresh linguine.
Although the flavour in this dish was good, I felt a little hard done by with the serving. The portion was small and there were only 6 prawns in the whole dish.
Aubergine Penne Arrabbiata
Sarah ordered the aubergine penne arrabbiata for her main which consisted of fresh pasta with fiery tomato & garlic sauce, fried aubergine, olives & fresh chilli.
Of the two main courses this was by far the better dish which had a lot more flavour and a good portion size. Definitely a dish to consider if you’re looking to order off the quick and easy dinner menu.
With our mains finished we had considered getting the 3rd course however the service at the restaurant was incredibly slow and so unfortunately we decided to give it a miss.
OK food but keep your expectations in check
If you’ve read any of my previous restaurant reviews you’ll know that I try to provide a balanced review of the restaurants that I visit, focusing on both the food and the service offered and so with this review I will do the same.
The food offered on the Quick & Easy menu was exactly what I expected – simple, uncomplicated recipes. It was OK but certainly not what I would consider great value for money at £16 per head for 2 courses with limited ingredients and a small main portion.
Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the flavours of the food served however it just didn’t blow me away or make me think of it as anything special or memorable. It really is quick and easy food in the truest sense.
I don’t think I would head back to order off the Quick & Easy menu again as I think if you are looking for an Italian meal in Milton Keynes, for the same price there are better alternatives on offer, most notably Aqua in the Hub.
Anything but Quick & Easy or a VIP service
What really surprised me about my visit to the restaurant was that despite letting them know on arrival that I had a booking with VIP blogger stated on my booking confirmation there was little to no service at all, let alone any VIP treatment. When I consider other VIP restaurant experiences I’ve had in MK at the likes of The Wheatsheaf in Bow Brickhill with a complete restaurant tour or Pizza Express in the Centre:MK with a personalised meal experience outlining the entire menu, this Jamie’s Italian experience was extremely disappointing.
The amount of time it took from arrival to getting our various courses was really poor for a restaurant, let alone one which had so few people sat in it. This was anything but VIP.
Unfortunately the service spoilt the meal for us as it got to the point of us wondering where our server was and joking about how long it can possibly take to cook a quick and easy meal in an empty restaurant or make a Mojito.
Here’s how our experience was with timings:
- 19:00 – Arrival
- 19:10 – Drinks and food ordered
- 19:30 – Drinks served
- 19:40 – Starters served
- 20:25 – Main course served
- 20:30 – Extra drinks ordered
- 20:45 – Drinks arrive
- 20:55 – Main course plates cleared
- 21:00 – Requested the bill
- 21:15 – Paid up and left
We were both looking forward to going for the full 3 courses however having waited so long for anything to arrive after ordering be it food or drinks neither of us had any patience left to wait for a further course and so we paid up and left.
I think over 2 hours from arrival to departure with just 2 courses served really is just too long, especially for a restaurant with so few diners. I have no idea what the team in the restaurant were doing that night but one thing is for sure, it wasn’t quick and it certainly wasn’t easy. It was slow and very frustrating.
Thanks for the invitation to try out the menu and for the good tasting food Jamie’s however unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be heading back anytime soon.
This post is of course only my own personal opinion! You are your own man/woman and so I would actively encourage you to make your own mind up! Maybe you’ll love the new menu? Maybe you’ll receive better service? If you like the sound of it and the food photos have your mouth watering these are all the details you need.
Address: 3-5 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 3AG
Bookings: Book online or call 01908 769011