Despite having been in the news recently for being in some trouble back in its home country, Jamie’s Italian still seems to be doing well internationally, including at its locations on board the various Royal Caribbean ships that host them. During our recent 4D3N Singapore-Port Klang review of Spectrum of the Seas, we had the opportunity to try out Jamie’s Italian aboard and to see what they had to offer.
Royal Caribbean Jamie’s Italian – It’s Non-complimentary Italian Buffet!
Unlike some of the other paid restaurants on board the ship (and unlike other Jamie’s Italians you’ll find on land) where the menu is a la carte in nature, Jamie’s Italian shares more in common with the complimentary dining options on board in that you pay a flat price for either the lunch or dinner menu, and that lets you try anything and everything on the menu, in whatever quantities you want!
Royal Caribbean Jamie’s Italian – The Spread
The downside is that the menu is not as broad or as diverse as you’d find at a typical Jamie’s Italian restaurant, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. There are four or five categories of items, including hot appetizers, mains, pastas, salads, desserts and sides, with each category offering between two to six items.
We chose a selection of six items – a mix of starters and pastas. After all, when at an Italian restaurant, you should always try the pasta, right? Unfortunately, we were too full from everything else (breakfast) that we were not able to try out the signature Jamie’s Italian item – the “Our Famous Meat Plank”, a selection of cured meats and cheeses (including salami, mortadella, mozzarella, olives and pickles).
Royal Caribbean Jamie’s Italian – Food Is Served!
But everything we chose came out exceptionally well. Highly recommended was the Ultimate Garlic Bread, two petite freshly baked loaves hot out of the oven and slathered with rich and garlicky butter and topped with shaved parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. The bread was pull-apart soft yummy with the aroma of buttermilk, and the subtle hints of garlic perfectly complemented the sharp and salty parmesan for an appetizing way to start the meal.
Equally good was the Black Truffle Arancini, gooey cheesy balls of risotto goodness breaded and fried to a crisp. Topped with more grated cheese and shavings of black truffle for an added touch of elegance. Each Arancini was bite-sized and perfectly easy to down in one or two bites.
Simpler in flavour but no less enjoyable were the Crispy Polenta Chips. Essentially chunks of cooked polenta (cornmeal) shaped into strips and deep-fried, the combination results in a potato chip-like consistency that is crunchy on the outside and creamy and smooth on the inside. Like many of the other starters, the polenta chips came topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary, which worked very well.
To balance out all the carb-heavy items, we had to order some protein. That came in the form of the Crispy Squid. This was a fairly standard item, though the squid was tender and not too rubbery and the batter was light and crunchy. The lemon and garlic mayo served on the side helped to cut through some of the greases.
On to the mains! We ordered the Tagliatelle Bolognese and the Baked Lasagne. The tagliatelle was freshly made on board and cooked to a decent and al dente bite, and smothered in a rich Bolognese sauce made with pork, beef and red wine. Generally well done, with a decent portion size that wasn’t too difficult to finish, it was a clear winner.
The Baked Lasagne was very similar in terms of taste as well, which wasn’t unexpected since the base sauce seemed to be similarly made from a mix of rich tomato, beef and pork. The added creaminess of the cheese and bechamel sauce mixed together with the sheets of fresh lasagne pasta made for an interesting blend of flavours.
We almost did not have the chance to sample their dessert menu, because of the unexpected arrival of a whole birthday cake – a pleasant surprise from a friend. But we decided to have the cake delivered back to our cabin and go for the desserts anyway. The cake, by the way, was absolutely amazing. We finished half of it while watching movies in our cabin late at night.
Jamie’s Italian can be found on various Royal Caribbean ships, including Spectrum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. The dress code is casual. Lunch is between US$20-$25 per person, while dinner is between US$30-$40 per person, depending on the ship. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are extra and not included in the price of the meal.