Jamie’s Italian in Nottingham and Carluccio’s too – How lucky are we?

Jamie's Italian Nottingham - I can't wait

Over Christmas, we ate in Carluccio’s in Canterbury and I have to say that I think it was the nicest food I have eaten this side of Venice or Rome. It was beautifully fresh, incredibly tasty and pretty remarkable value. Five of us had starters, main courses a bottle of wine and some drinks for the kids. It came to £80. Not absolute KFC bargain bucket, but great value for such top quality cooking and simple unfussy service. Carluccio’s wasn’t a brand I had been particularly aware of before this, so it was a nice surprise as my expectations probably weren’t that high.

So I was quite pleased to see they have a new one opening in Nottingham. Building work is well underway. I guess it will be February or so for the opening.

The website just says it is opening soon.

Also over Christmas, I cooked a rather gorgeous turkey and leek pie that I adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe. Basically I added ham and some other leftover veg from Christmas dinner to make sure I had enough to feed the 14 hungry mouths around the table. It got quite remarkable critical acclaim, so thanks Jamie. I have to confess that I do rely on a few of his recipes, with his pizza base and tomato sauce topping recipe from his Italian book still being the nicest one I have ever made.

And then, I noticed that there is an all new Jamie’s Italian opening just up from Carluccio’s in February too. The difference is, I have high expectations of the Jamie Oliver brand. I know it so well, that I expect it to be excellent simple food and good value too. The whole Jamie Oliver brand is built on this platform, so it has to deliver.

I am genuinely excited to have an ‘eat off’ and see who does the best grub. I am convinced that the food in Jamie’s will be absolutely gorgeous. Friends have been rubbing it in about which ones they have eaten at and the reports are excellent.

It’s my birthday later this week, so I’m asking for a meal at both of these new places (when they open) rather than a conventional present.

I may invite AA Gill along so he can review them both with me. I’m sure he’s very welcome anytime in Nottingham.

According to the Nottingham Evening Post, Jamies Italian will open on Monday 7th February. Hopefully see you there soon after.

Updated 07.02.11
Just spoken to a friend who went last week as part of the soft launch. This was open to friends and insiders and seemingly, those who worked for Boots and was half price!

The verdict?

Fabulous food, really well thought out layout for a potentially difficult building, great value (even better at half price) and superb service.


The end of the road for Top Gear?

Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson – Maybe he has lost his sense of perspective?

Last night’s episode of Top gear was for me, the end of the road. I’m canceling the series link and I am now officially bored of the programme. It has become too smug for its own good and is less relevant for the man on the street than it ever had before.

It used to be three guys sharing some irreverent banter and clearly having fun driving fast cars, who couldn’t believe their luck that they were getting paid to do exactly what they loved. But now it feels far more like self congratulatory rich blokes who fawn at the celebrities and look down on anything/anyone normal.

How can the £150k Ariel Atom be anything other than foolish when the £32k one that is within reach of normal people is fast enough?

I got up and went and made a cuppa half way through it. I never used to do this. I spoke to Tim Garratt and he said his son did the same. Even my mate at work – a mad petrol head – thought it had lost it’s appeal. None of us bothered to watch the Christmas episode on watchback, the people who I know did, said it was a bit dull.

The new Stig was reborn because they bring in £1million a year from Stig related merchandise. Doesn’t that mean that their anti establishment position is now blown. They have become the corporate establishment they used to fight against.

Perhaps Clarkson, should hang out with his mate AA Gill and reinvent themselves whilst they still have time.

Otherwise, I can see this as the last series of Top Gear in this format. The Brand values of Top gear are pretty much worn out.