Thursday, 20 November 2014

Retirement Lifestyle ... this week

It's been one of those 'birthday weeks' this week, with three family members - husband, mother-in-law and grandson - celebrating birthdays within five days! One of the new luxuries of our retirement lifestyle is that now we have the time to really enjoy these occasions.

As the family's CBC aka Chief Birthday Cakemaker the task fell to me to whip up 'a birthday cake worth sharing' for the three birthday celebrants aged from 7 to 88! I chose to make a 'Chocolate Torte Los Angeles' -  a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks 'The Gretta Anna Recipes'. Moist and calorific it got a thumbs up from everyone!

John's was one of the three birthdays to be celebrated. Neither the 7 year old nor the 88 year old, all I can say is that next year it a very big and special birthday!!! I need to start planning soon!

We decided to go out for lunch on the day and headed for the recently opened Jamie's Italian Adelaide.

Housed in the old Westpac Bank building the proportions inside are enormous! Despite this the designers have done an amazing job of creating a warm and welcoming space. I loved being able to see the food being cooked and assembled!

Choosing from the menu we were pleasantly surprised to find that prices are very reasonable.

I chose Jamie's Italian Signature Porchetta - slow-cooked free-range Australian pork belly filled with herbs, garlic and spices with fennel crackling and a watercress salad.

It was amazing! The meat was meltingly tender, the crackling perfectly crunchy and the flavourful jus - I could have eaten a bowl full as a broth!

The Birthday Boy chose the Wild Boar and Porcini Lasagne - slow-cooked wild boar, porcini,
mascarpone, herbs and wine, baked in an oozy white sauce with tomatoes and parmesan.

Expecting strong flavours the tender shredded meat filling of the lasagne was surprising mild in flavour and was complimented beautifully by the richness of the tomato and mascapone cheese sauce. Unfortunately I didn't grab a photo before before the generous serving of parmesan was sprinkled over. It was luscious!

For dessert we couldn't go past sharing a serve of the Epic Brownie - a warm fudgy brownie with amaretto icecream and caramelised amaretti popcorn. Wow!

Did we like it! It was epic!!! We almost scraped the bottom off the serving dish! And, can I tell you that the flavour and crunch of caramelised amaretti popcorn transports this dish to heavenly!

Just inside the entrance walls are flanked by two display cupboards with enticing Jamie Oliver merchandise. I have a couple of these books in my cookbook collection but hadn't seen Jamie's America or Jamie Oliver Does ... Spain, Italy, Greece, Morroco, Sweden, France. I left thinking that I must check them out!

As we left I couldn't resist taking a 'selfie' in the mirror reflection of the main doors!

So, to summarise - for the atmosphere and vibe, attentive service, wonderful food and value for money it surpassed our expectations. We gave it 10/10! It is a dining destination worth visiting!
We'll be back!

PS: The toilets - located downstairs are worth visiting! I won't spoil the surprise for you - but you'll know what I mean when you get there!

*To be clear - this is not a sponsored post. We visited as 'walk ins' on a Monday for lunch, arriving early at about 11.45am because the online lunch bookings were filled. We were welcomed and seated with only a few minutes wait. Others we know have waited patiently for long periods of time for a seat during evening service.

Jamie Oliver, you've done Adelaide proud! I 'dips my lid to you!'.




  1. Marian, I really enjoyed reading this.... your event sounds absolutely delicious! I was invited to the launch of Jamie's in Canberra, but couldn't get there as I had pneumonia at the time... and since then I've only read bad reviews of it by local bloggers. In fact, one young Canberra blogger actually took them to task via Twitter as she was arguing that the pasta wasn't the right 'al dente'... thank you for sharing a positive note... I must investigate our Canberra one and see if it is as good!

    1. Hi Liz,
      I'm surprised to hear that Jamie's in Canberra is receiving such a battering from blogger reviews. His restaurant here does set a high standard of service and experience - at prices that are affordable. This can only be good for diners as other local restaurants with nouse observe and learn improving the dining experience they offer.

      I do sometimes wonder if blogger 'critics' – who build their reputation tearing others to shreds without ever having to be accountable or face such searing scrutiny themselves unless they go on shows like MKR - are being 'renumerated' by competitors to find fault, or using the opportunity to promote their blog in an attempt to 'make a name for themselves' in a highly competitive field. Or is it the ‘power’ rush they enjoy heaping criticism on someone who dares to have ‘made it’. Incidently, I am unaware of any such critics or bloggers opening a successful restaurant – or international chain of restaurants – themselves. Do correct me if I am wrong!

      Having been in leadership for so long one of my quirks is to cast a leadership lens over events and organisations. I have to say Jamie’s Italian was outstanding – the obvious passion, energy and enthusiasm of every staff member with whom we had contact was such a joy – and surprise! I loved that the team waiting on our table took the time to talk with us. I wondered if this would be the case during a busy evening shift – people who have eaten at this time assure me that this was the same for them. To pull together and create a team like this is the stuff of outstanding quality leadership! Pure gold!

      We left feeling spoiled! Like I said – we’ll be back! I'll be interested to hear about your experience.


  2. I wondered what it would be like - looks and sounds amazing, especially for a special occasion. Look forward to trying it myself!

    1. After all the hype we weren't sure what to expect either - but we can't wait to go back! And it's family friendly as well as reasonably priced! I hope you enjoy your visit as much as we did ours!