So on Thursday we chose Italian for dinner at Jamie's Italian on Black Lion Street in Brighton. This is a Jamie Oliver place but contrary to my expectations it wasn't too exorbitantly priced (for the area) and was in fact very good food. Service was good apart for a long wait to start with before our drinks order was taken.
Being completely incapable of choosing [I can be very indecisive when it comes to picking off menus if there's a modicum of things I can actually go for. And I mean very indecisive!] I actually went for 2 starter portions of different pasta dishes. I was very happy to see squid ink pasta on the menu; squid ink is one of those things I've been keeping an eye out for, in order to try it. This was Scallop with Squid Ink Angel Hair and the pasta was divine. Somehow I expected the squid ink to have a fairly intense flavour - down to the strong colour I suppose. It was in fact far more subtle than I expected and really rather good. Eating with 5 others; all meat eaters [variously tucking into pheasant, pork belly and lamb] it was pronounced the best dish at the table. Angel hair is like an even thinner spaghetti so when it's coloured black as this one was it can look quite odd but trust me - this is well worth going for if you should stumble across it on a menu. The scallops were gorgeous as scallops always are; they were sliced and scattered over the top so you didn't get masses of them but this was the starter portion.
I should mention that we were all trying each other's dishes - although not the meat for me. The Braised Fennel side was also very good but the chips; I have to say, weren't a patch on HFW's on my recent visit to the River Cottage Refectory.
The second pasta dish was the Mushroom Panzerotti. A lovely dish in it's own right although it couldn't compete with the squid number. This panzerotti was basically a large crescent shaped ravioli thing - think pasta parcel. It was served with gremolata which I have to admit to not knowing what it was but our resident Italian speaker at the table cleared that up for me. This version had tomato notes as well as being topped with fried sage - deffo a chef-y touch that IMO did nothing for the actual dish.
All in all if you like Italian I don't think you'd be disappointed there but that comes with the caveat that I have never actually been to Italy to sample the cuisine in it's home environs, as it were. I had a lovely and filling meal although you may have noticed there are no photos of it.
That however will have to be a story for tomorrow...