Jamie’s Italian Opens Its Second Restaurant at Forum
Just two years after the launch of the first Jamie’s Italian in Singapore at VivoCity, Jamie Oliver opens their second restaurant in the heart of Orchard Road. I was quite reluctant to try the new outlet because of my unsatisfactory experience in their VivoCity outlet. But then again, I was very curious how would the new outlet fare.
So I arrived for lunch at Jamie’s Italian at Forum Shopping Mall last week. There was already a long queue forming at the doorstep when I arrived at noon. Even though my previous meals at Jamie’s Italian were not impressive, I really like their Italian trattoria interior which has a mix of reclaimed church chairs and upholstered armchairs.
True to form, Jamie’s Italian Forum, Orchard Road offers a taste of Italy with dishes that reflect traditional Italian home-style cooking, imbued with Jamie Oliver’s modern flair for presentation and unique recipe twists. The restaurant’s pizza oven, signature antipasti and open kitchens take centre-stage, allowing guests a glimpse of the chefs at work.
We started our appetizers with Heritage Tomato Salad ($11.50) tossed with red onion and Sicilian style orange dressing. It’s bright and vibrant, but I thought he dish needs a little more zing. But then again, it’s so hard to find the quality tomatoes in Singapore unlike other places. The special for that day was chicken liver pate which was really good. It’s creamy and rich, sat atop an ultra crisp slice of toasted bread.
Jamie’s Italian Forum is the first outlet in Singapore to be serving hand-made artisan pizza, baked to order. Pizza dough is lovingly made by hand and proved for hours before being gently handstretched – the key to an irresistibly crisp base. The pizzas are thick and bubbly, and served on a special stoneware plate which retains the heat and crispness of the pizza for longer.
The classic Margherita Pizza ($21) packs a flavourful punch, dressed with a rich San Marzano tomato sauce, creamy bocconcini, shavings of cheddar and whole basil leaves. Parmesan is added to season the pizza further. For a decadent treat, try the Funghi Pizza ($23.50) is a white pizza topped with cheesy béchamel, truffle cream, porcini mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and peppery rocket. The char-kissed crust boasts deep earthy notes that stand up to the bold flavors. My only gripe is, they are not very generous with the pizza toppings and the skin was a little too thick for my liking.
All Pastas are made fresh everyday on premises. The pasta dough is an eggless pasta made with Double Zero (00) Flour, Semolina and water. When I visited the VivoCity outlet a few years back, I didn’t enjoy my Prawn Linguine. The said tiger prawns were really small and the pasta was slightly hard and chewy. I gave it another shot when I visited Jamie’s Italian in Sydney three weeks ago. The pasta had a tacky texture.
This time round, I ordered a plate of Prawn Linguine ($18 or $26) again at Forum outlet. First surprise came when the waitress politely informed me that the pasta is cooked al dante. Do I wish it to be softer instead? That was rare because I don’t recall someone asking me how I wish my pasta to be done in other outlets. The second surprise, the pasta is cooked till chewy and firm to bite. It’s not soft, not too hard, and definitely no tacky texture. If only their sauce has a more robust flavour.
Cooking al dente means the pasta should be removed from just before it has fully cooked through (or turn soft). I understand getting the timing right will take some practice (because sometimes, I can’t even cook my pasta to al dente). But I am glad to have tried how the prawn linguine should be like – fresh pasta pan-fried with water prawns, olive oil, garlic, fennel, chilli & baby plum tomatoes. Cooking is a craft, hopefully, they are able to maintain the standard at Forum.
Somehow, I like their Penne Carbonara ($23.50) much much more. The carbonara sauce was made with onions, pancetta lardons pan-fried till crisp. It was mellow and not cloying. Leek and vegetable stock were added to the sauce, then parmesan and egg yolk was added together with the fresh pasta in the pan.
I enjoyed the Wild Mushroom and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto ($26.50). I tried it during the food tasting session and I ordered it again when I went back for lunch. Made with Acquerello Rice, a special risotto rice which is aged between 1-7 years, this premium rice is enriched with a porcini mushroom stock. Parmesan, swiss brown, Portobello and shimeji mushrooms are added along with scarmoza cheese and parsley cress.
For the mains, the tender and juicy Lamb Chop Lollipops ($38) on the bone was grilled ‘al mattone’ until pink dressed in olive oil and lemon. ‘Al Mattone’ is a Tuscan method of cooking meat under a brick which pushes the meat further against the grates of the grill, allowing it to develop a smoky, juicy and flavourful result.
The lamb is served with a rich creamy artichoke paste filled with mint and lemon to give a vibrant, fresh and zingy flavour to cut through the richness of the lamb. Dressed with curly chilli to give a kick, fresh mint, and scattered with roasted mixed nuts to add texture. Together the ingredients show off what Jamie does at his best – fresh rustic cooking, full of flavour and character.
We added some sides to pair with our lamb, including the famous Polenta chips ($9) that is cook in veg stock, Parmesan and olive oil. It is spread into trays to an even thickness and cooled. When set, the polenta is torn into pieces and fried till hot and crisp. Another side we ordered was Crunchy Kale Slaw ($7.50) with shaved fennel, onion and gherkins tossed through a lemony mayo and mustard dressing with picked mint. I am happy to see some greens in my meal.
The desserts were decent. Epic Brownie ($12.50) was truly an indulgence. Homemade classic brownie (70% cocoa solid chocolate) was served warm with salted caramel ice cream, caramel and crushed amaretti popcorn and warm chocolate sauce. It was a tad too sweet for my liking.
A real Italian classic of Creamy Panna cotta ($10.50) was topped with seasonal fresh fruit compote. It is wobbly, meaning it is still silky soft and creamy. The tall Lemon Meringue Cheesecake ($12.50) had a thick layer of Italian meringue, served on a digestive biscuit base. The lemon curd was made with free range egg yolks and a blackcurrant compote.
Jamie’s Italian @ Forum also prides itself on an extensive bar menu. Featuring a stunning antique brass counter top and hand-painted decorative tiles, the bar provides an open invitation for the drinking crowd to unwind over a cheeky tipple. You can relax over a glass of ice-cold beer, handcrafted exclusively for Jamie’s Italian by Archipelago Breweries or opt for Italian white or red wine by the glass, carafe or bottle. A long list of Italian inspired cocktails and a range of spritz aperitifs made with flavoured liqueurs and prosecco are also available. The restaurant is also open in the morning for guests to enjoy Italian Musetti coffee with a selection of Italian artisan pastries.
Address: 583 Orchard Road, #01-01/04 Forum Shopping Mall, Singapore 23884
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 10am to 10pm; Friday & Saturday 10am to 11pm