Thursday, 16 September 2010

Jamie's Italian, Briohny's Disappointment

I finish work and head into Cardiff city centre to meet me friend for a coffee. But hey it’s nearly half six and there isn’t a queue at Jamie’s Italian. As they have a ‘no book’ policy I decided for a treat it might be a good idea to take advantage of the quiet Wednesday evening and go for dinner. I wish I hadn’t.

My friend and I were taken up stairs to where the light was dim I could hardly read my menu. Great. I was pretty hungry so decided to order a hearty pasta dish for my main ‘Mushroom Panzerotti’ and some chips and a selection of Italian bread to keep me going in the mean time.

Let’s just say the chips and bread were more style than substance. I think I counted about twenty chips. Just the fact that I could count them disappointed me. They were nice don’t get me wrong, but for the price they were, one may have expected a few more! Now, the bread. Is it just me that remembers a time when bread was just brought to your table? No charge, no ordering, just a nice crusty selection to nibble on whilst your choosing what to have. This tradition seems to have vanished in many restaurants and Jamie’s is no different.

On the plus side, my main meal came pretty swiftly. After just a few minutes of munching on chips and bread along came my pasta dish- described as ‘Home-made half moons filled with our mate Mike the woodman’s brown cap and porcini mushrooms, ricotta and parmesan, with crispy fried sage and gremolata.’ I’d quite like to know who this Mike is, I’ve never met him before. The dish arrived tepid. If it wasn’t for the fact I wash pushed for time I would have sent it back so that next time around the food may have actually been hot rather than being on the cooler side of warm. I was not impressed. The meal was alright, nothing extraordinary. It wasn’t as flavoursome as I thought it was going to be especially because it had Mike’s mushrooms in it. The crunchy sage was lovely, probably the best part of the dish! But once again, there wasn’t a great deal of this dish. I’m not someone who enjoys eating massive portions but I do like a meal that fills me up and doesn’t leave me still feeling hungry. But that’s exactly what I was after finishing my main meal.

On a positive note, because I was still feeling rather peckish I ordered pudding, and I’m very glad I did. ‘Awesome Chocolate and Espresso Tart with sticky glazed figs and orange crème fraiche.’ It truly was awesome. A rich chocolate taste with the dark bitterness of the coffee settling in the mouth, lovely. I’m a big fan of figs and I think they go with any dessert so I was a happy bunny. The tart pastry was thin and light, perfection. The tart’s texture was unbeatable. Smooth and dense, it never failed to satisfy with every bite.

I think I’ve learnt my lesson-enjoy Jamie’s desserts, just not his Italian.

Monday, 13 September 2010

September Sea

I haven't been abroad for two years, but this hasn't dampened my spirits...well not quite. I often forget how wonderful the U.K is. Just a few hours from Cardiff I found myself at Oxwich Bay. It had been raining all week but luckily the sky was kind and the weekend proved to be bright with sunshine and crisp with wind. On such a glorious weekend I was surprised to find the beach empty and bare. As I walked into the cool sea, there was hardly anyone around to hear my shrill voice as I entered the rough water. The waves tossing my limp body as I floated as best I could when the power of Neptune's force was hurtling itself at my back. Lovely. In the space of 24 hours I entered the sea three times on the Gower coast. Each time was like a separate holiday in itself. How wonderful the sea is. I'm always amazed at how great I feel after jumping in it. I still get the sense that I can do anything by just standing and looking into the empty unknown of the glistening blue that lies before me.

I'll stop gushing now. It was truly a great Gower weekend. Pasta on the camping stove with a small bottle of champagne, the waves crashing and singing the evensong.

Da Iawm