I’m a frequent visitor to Melrose Arch and always stop for a bite to eat at Tasha’s but seeing a new restaurant I had to try it!
Jaime’s Italian is a restaurant by famed chef Jaime Oliver, although how much input he actually has had is uncertain. I always feel slightly cheated by restaurants like this as they use a famous persons name yet there is no indication he’s ever set foot in the restaurant. It’s essentially just a chain for which he has created recipes and donated his name.
The restaurant looks impressive with seating outside on the pavement allowing to you to experience the passing buzz of Melrose Arch. Inside the seating space has been divided into an upstairs and downstairs area. There is an almost industrial feel to the decor with an open pass area that allows you to see the chef’s at work. A separate little station showcases the fresh pasta being made. All together very impressive however I found it a little dark so opted to sit outside. The seating outside was not very comfortable consisting of metal ‘ garden furniture ‘ chairs with very deep backs and tiny cushions.
The waiters were helpful and prompt. Although not extensive, the menu consists of enough variety to please all. You will find your typical pastas and pizzas ( Which looked amazing with crispy bases and vibrant toppings) but we decided to share a few of their starter/ bar food options.
I had read in a review that the crunchy Italian nachos were a winner so decided to try those. We also ordered crispy squid and on the recommendation of our waitress the ultimate garlic bread. I must admit, I had expected more for this restaurant especially in the food department. In the kitchen one can see chef’s in their professional whites cooking up a storm. This teamed with the name JAIME OLIVER promises great things but the offering we recieved was lack lustre and overpriced. The Italian nachos ( ravioli stuffed with mozzarella, veggie parmesan and ricotta, deep fried and served with a spicy, sicilian tomato sauce) were almost devoid of filling. The garlic bread was just that. I expected something unique and different but instead got something I could make at home or pick up at the grocery store.
No meal is complete without sweets. Seeing as it was a hot summery day I opted for a light dessert of strawberries steeped in elderflower and lime served with a sorbet and phyllo wafer. the sorbet was light and refreshing with great flavour but honestly at R65 there was no value for money.
The drinks menu is quite impressive with a selection of apertivo’s to warm up the palate, nnon-alcoholic and regular cocktails, Wine and digestifs to finish off. Some of the Apertivo’s looked amazing but with nothing less than R65 a glass and going all the way up to R115 I have it a skip.
I love the vibe of Melrose Arch but this is definitely not one of my favourite restaurants. I may come back to try the pizza but with at least half a dozen really great restaurants in the vicinity, I won’t be rushing for seconds.
Overall rating 3/ 5
010 007 4646