The first week after New Year is always the hardest. It's long and boring, with no half days or exciting plans to look forward to. Everyone is detoxing. The weather is miserable. I'm pretty sure we only had about 2 hours of daylight in the whole week. When Saturday finally rolled around I was so excited for my day off and a lunch date with Gordon that even the Aberdeenshire floods couldn't stop me!
Jamie's Italian opened on Union Street in Aberdeen just a few years ago. They transformed two floors of the former Esslemont & Mackintosh department store into a bright and bustling restaurant, still retaining the original E&M branding and serving up lots of rustic Italian dishes - think anti pasti, meat platters, bruschetta and ALL of the pasta! I've been once before, with a group of bloggers when it first opened and really enjoyed my meal, but for some reason me and Gordon never really choose Italians when we go out for food so this was his first visit!
We're having a dry January so it was mocktail o'clock for me! The lychee spritzer was a perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavours. I might recreate it with vodka when January is over! Our waitress talked us through the ingredients and flavours of the specials while we browsed the menu and eventually decided what to go for. Our starters were served quickly and we wolfed them down in a flash. I had the spinach and ricotta croquettes with spicy arrabbiata sauce and Gordon had the crispy squid. Both dishes were really good and the presentation was impressive. Gordon was way too over excited about his squid having tentacles and everything! The lemon mayo helped to cool his mouth down after eating all the chillies in one go!
The service was a little slow between courses but our mains were worth the wait. He enjoyed the Italian steak frites with rainbow slaw, while I had "Jamie's favourite" - chicken cacciatore. I love that the nutritional information of each dish is easily accessible on the website. You can even select your dietery requirements and it'll show you your options! I was able to look ahead and find a healthy dish to fit my macros. Chicken cacciatore is basically chicken, veg and olives in a tomato sauce with a delicious slice of garlicky ciabatta and Parmesan. It comes in at only 378 calories, 41.8g protein, 17g carbs and 15.5g fat and tastes amazing! It's my new go to for eating out on plan that's for sure!
(I'm hoping the recipe is in Jamie's new Everyday Super Food book that I just ordered too...)
Despite all that healthy eating and macro planning, we couldn't resist dessert. Molten chocolate praline pudding anyone? Yummy soft chocolate cake with an oozing praline centre, and salted caramel ice cream melting into it... oh my God. It didn't last two minutes between us!
We really enjoyed our lunch at Jamie's Italian in Aberdeen. Although the service was quite slow at times the staff were friendly and helpful, and the food more than made up for it. At least we weren't being rushed. It's not a problem if you're just out for a leisurely lunch like us but it could be an issue if you have somewhere to be. There are over 40 Jamie's Italians across the country and I'd highly recommend a visit. We'll probably head to the Glasgow restaurant when we're down next month!
*I was invited to dine at Jamie's Italian in exchange for an honest review. As always, all views are my own and 100% genuine.*