The first thing you notice about the new Jamie Oliver restaurant in Parramatta is the sound of chatty diners, laughter and good times. Step inside and the aroma of Italian herbs and spices heightens your senses. There’s a lot going for this trattoria even before you’ve had a chance to take a bite.
Located inside Centenary Square the restaurant feels very warm and inviting. Exposed pipes, ducts and drop-pendant lights create an industrial feel, softened by the comfy blue bench seating, home-style dinner tables and tea towel napkins. Commercial shelves hang from the ceiling in front of the kitchen, stacked with plates, pasta, Italian oils and tins upon tins of tomatoes. Through the shelves, you can see the chefs hard at work with fresh pasta, dough and Italian sauces.
The menu is printed on a large piece of cardboard, with a selection of antipasti, pasta, pizza and al mattone (meat cooked under a hot brick). Prawns, lamb and mushrooms feature across the menu, fusing Italian seasoning and style with some tasty Australian ingredients.
The chefs recommend starting with the rosemary focaccia or garlic flatbread paired with the sizzling meatballs from the antipasti menu. A hot terracotta bowl arrives with a generous serve of meatballs, surrounded by sweet tomato sauce with thyme, onions and breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs are a Jamie Oliver touch, giving a density to the rich tomato sauce. The light focaccia is cut into 3 tall slices, sided with extra-virgin olive oil and is just enough to soak up the sauces from the meatballs.
The braised lamb ravioli with ricotta, lemon and breadcrumbs has been one of the most popular dishes since opening late May. From the first mouthful, it’s obvious why. Generous serves of tender lamb filled ravioli are dressed in a rich tomato sauce and topped with fresh herbs.
Try the Italian hot pizza with salami, spicy meatballs, jalapeno chillies, bell peppers and lots of buffalo mozzarella. Four types of chilli on one pizza sounds overwhelming but is perfectly balanced with the other ingredients.
As you’d expect Italian wine is a focus on the drinks list. If you enjoy Semillion Sauvignon Blancis we recommend you try the II Teatro Quota 311, Verdicchio dei Castelli 2013. It is fresh and light with strong tones of citrus and grapefruit. Red wine drinkers and cocktails lovers are also catered for at Jamies. There is a Spritz bar on the ground floor, Campari, Aperol, Amaretto and Lemoncello are just a few Italian favourites lining the wall.
Make room for dessert and order the epic chocolate brownie. Whether a brownie is very Italian is questionable, but by the time you’re two spoonfuls in who really cares.
Before leaving, do as the Italians do and order an espresso or Italian digestifs at the bar.
Jamie Oliver’s restaurants are not new to Sydney, the CBD restaurant always has a line out the door with customers. With the addition of the pizza menu, a breakfast service from 7am and daily chef specials, this Trattoria is the perfect venue for a night out with family or a relaxed date.