When you have a baby, going out for dinner can become a bit harder than it used to be whether it is because of finances or because of the stages your child is at in their first year (I found when Savannah wasn't quite sitting up yet, she still didn't want to be laying down in her pram either, therefore making it a bit harder to eat out). For me though, family dinner time is special; dinner together around the table is when you share your stories of your day, when you take time away from life, work, TV or whatever else and enjoy your families company over good food. Having dinner at a restaurant makes that family time even more special.
When I was asked if I would like to review Jamie's Italian Trattoria Chelmsford I jumped at the chance because not only have I wanted to try it for a long time but I relished the idea of a family dinner out somewhere that we hadn't been to before. It would be nice to get a bit dressed up, put a pretty dress on Savannah and go and eat delicious food and have a glass of wine.
I am a huge fan of Jamie Oliver's, I have been for years; I love his cooking and presenting style, all of his recipes appeal to me and make me want to cook them (in fact out of all TV chef's it is Jamie's recipes that I have cooked at home the most) I love that he has fought for healthier school dinner's for our children, I love that he want's to educate us more on what goes into fast food so that we are more aware of what we are eating and that his TV shows are a broad spectrum of recipe ideas and costs, appealing to a variety of people whether you want indulgent comfort food or a super quick dinner idea that takes fifteen minutes.
Jamie's Italian is located in the hustle and bustle of Chelmsford's town centre. The decor can only be described as incredibly shabby chic, run down even - but in a good way. The wallpaper is ripped, the ceiling looks half finished, there are cracks in the walls and worn sofa's to perch on in the bar area. The dining tables are wooden with mismatching chairs - some reminded of school chairs - but it all works, the look is still sophisticated and above else, welcoming. The atmosphere had a lovely relaxed buzz. When we arrived we were greeted with the hum of multiple conversations but it never got too loud in there that you couldn't hear each other speak and as the late afternoon became evening the glorious, rustic looking ceiling lights dimmed and created and even more relaxed atmosphere.
The staff were extremely attentive and friendly and they were very accommodating with Savannah (as were most of the other patrons who she kept waving at!). For starters I ordered the Crispy Porcini Mushroom Arancini which was delicious! I wasn't sure what to expect if I am honest but what appealed to me were all the different flavours of my favourite foods - mainly mozzarella and arabbiatta. It didn't disappoint. The sauce was sweet and tomatoey but with a spicy kick and the crispy risotto balls were divine. Patrick enjoyed the Crispy Squid which was served with garlic mayo, chopped chilli and lemon. The squid was cooked to perfection and the batter crunchy and flavoursome.
As expected, the dinners were very artistically presented. So much can be said for the very small details and everything was thought of; I loved that the fries came in a cup and that Savannahs dinner was served on a blue wooden board. Patrick also enjoyed that you could watch the pizza's being made and put into the pizza oven. He kept a close eye out for his one.
We were so stuffed that we didn't have room for dessert - that and also Savannah was getting tired and a bit fed up of being in a high chair - so once dinner had gone down a bit and we had finished our drinks we made our way home with happy bellies.
I thoroughly recommend Jamie's Italian if you haven't visited before and know for a fact that we will visit again, perhaps this time on a warm summers day for lunch to enjoy a completely different atmosphere.