Tuesday 23 February 2016

Review: Lunch at Jamie's Italian Trattoria, Tunbridge Wells

Our family love to go out together and enjoy some good food and it is always nice to try somewhere new and explore a new town too. So last Thursday we headed into Kent to Tunbridge Wells to have a browse and also lunch at Jamie's Italian Trattoria. Now obviously we all know the Jamie Oliver name but none of us were familiar with this restaurant concept so we were excited to try it out, especially as my twin girls really love pasta.

We were pleased to see that Jamie's Italian Trattoria is an easy walk from the train station in Tunbridge Wells. It is situated on the High Street between the main shopping mall and the more up-market Pantiles area. The high street is a great one to browse along as there are loads of very nice shops to both look in and also just window shop.

Jamie's Italian Trattoria was easy to find with double shop frontage and it looked very authentic Italian from outside, when you go inside it is heavily themed and very pleasant but we couldn't really put our finger on what style we thought they had gone for. There are exposed ceilings, paintings on walls made to look old, exposed pipe work and lots of sanded wood - my husband commented it looked almost Cuban and I could see where he was coming from.

We were greeted as soon as we came in and shown to a table by our waiter Daniel.  He checked we were happy with a booth and offered us a round table if we preferred. It was good to have their choice but we stuck with the booth. I hung out coats up and it was very useful having pegs on the wall so we didn't have to sit on them. After a fairly long journey we headed off to use the washrooms and were pleased to see they were clean and well-stocked. Again they were very themed and it did strike me that they are a little dark, as dim lighting has been used and I know when my girls were toddlers they would have found them a bit eerie. On this occasion Miss E was delighted to see that the toilet bowl had Jamie's name in it!

Once back at the table we all had a good look through the menu to see what we might fancy. My husband, myself and our 12 year old son JJ went for the Super Lunch deal which is a pizza or pasta and a drink (soft, tea, coffee, beer or 125ml glass of win) for £10.95 per person. At other restaurants within the Jamie's Italian brand this lunch deal is for 2 courses rather than one and a drink, so best to check with your individual restaurant. The super lunch deal is available Monday - Friday 12 noon - 6pm.

In the Trattoria concept restaurants the menu is fairly compact and you can choose from pizza, pasta and grills. On the day we visited there was three specials of the day - a fish dish, pasts and risotto and they all sounded very good. My son decided to go for a margarita pizza with parma ham, my husband ravioli with pumpkin and squash and I had my favourite - spaghetti carbonara.

The girls choose from the children's menu and this is £6.50 for a main course and drink for a smaller portion of £6.95 for a larger portion. They both went for the larger portion and ordered spaghetti and meatballs, which came accompanied by a little pot of mixed salad and yoghurt dressing which you can shake-up and enjoy! The choice of drinks for kids was orange or apple juice, milk or unlimited fruity water, which was a small carafe with regular water and slices of strawberry, orange, lime and mint, Miss M loved it! As well as a regular paper menu the girls were given a retro viewfinder to look at pictures of all the menu items and we all loved this idea. 

As a whole experience we very much enjoyed our meal out at Jamie's Italian Trattoria in Tunbridge Wells but much of this was down to the ambiance, the great service from Daniel our waiter and being together as a family. JJ gave his pizza an 8/10 as it was very tasty and a good size. My husband said his pumpkin ravioli was probably a 7/10 and to be honest I'd have only rated my carbonara as a 4/10. The girls loved their meatballs but also felt their spaghetti was only about a 4/10 and I think this is because the pasta is made fresh in house and cooked al dente, which was just a bit firm for our palettes. However, I'm sure if we went again we could ask for it to be cooked more or I may just opt for a pizza or grill the next time.

My husband and I didn't have a dessert but the kids all had a brownie and ice-cream from the kids menu and at £1.25 you just can't moan at this. Even if it has been double the price or more the kids wouldn't have minded as they gave it a 10/10, it was gooey and delicious.

The whole meal for the five of us came to £49.75 and that was with three people having two courses, two having just a main and all of us having the drinks we fancied. I went for a cheeky glass of rose which was very enjoyable and my husband had a large cappuccino, whilst JJ savoured a Diet Coke.

I was very pleased to note when the bill arrived that the restaurant staff had not realised we were there to review them and this meant all the service we had was without bias. This is fabulous as Daniel had been so attentive and given us lots of attention, information and time. We didn't feel rushed at all, there was just the right balance of good service and the time to enjoy the meal.

Thank you Jamie's Italian, I'm sure we will see you again in the future, we are pondering a visit to Brighton next.

Disclosure: We received a discount against the cost of our meal for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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