In the run-up to Christmas, my boyfriend and I usually have a mini Christmas where we’ll go out for dinner and exchange presents. This year we had our joint Christmas a little bit early and headed to Jamie’s Italian to try out the ‘early week festive menu’. I was keen, of course, to check out the vegan options at Jamie’s Italian too!
Jamie’s Italian has been around for a fair while now, and I’m sure you’ll all have at least heard of it, but I haven’t eaten there since becoming fully vegan. So, when Bookatable offered me the opportunity to choose and try out a restaurant in Leeds from their list of Christmas menus, it seemed like the perfect excuse to go back.
Jamie’s Italian has a dedicated vegetarian Christmas menu, with the dishes that can be made vegan clearly marked. I was also offered the choice to substitute the main course with any dish from the main menu – I’m sure you’ll agree that this sort of flexibility is definitely appreciated as a vegan dining out. The early week festive menu offers a choice between 2 courses for £19.95 and 3 courses for £24.95. This also includes fizz and crackers to begin; although I can’t confirm if the crackers are vegan as our never arrived and we realised too late!
I chose ‘famous vegetarian antipasti plank’ to start followed by the truffle risotto for my main course. I was slightly that disappointed that all vegan options on the menu involved removing something from a vegetarian dish, rather than being created as vegan meals. This is especially disappointing given Jamie Oliver’s vocal support of veganism but, that said, it’s a great step in right direction and anything that makes eating out as a vegan is a winner with me.
The antipasti plank was very impressive (my boyfriend’s starter was dwarfed by it!) and included olives, grilled vegetables, bread sticks, crostini and an absolutely incredible garlicky cannellini dip. I’d love to recreate the dip at home… yes, I’ve already searched to see if Jamie Oliver has a recipe for it, but no luck so far!
For the main course, I chose the veganised truffle risotto. I’m often hesitant to order risotto as I remember a few years ago when mushroom risotto was the only meat-free dish available in something like 75%* of UK restaurants (*based on personal experience). Fortunately, those days are behind us and I can finally face ordering risotto again. It’s just as well because this one was delicious: the rice had the right amount of bite to it and the dish was rich and creamy. The vegan truffle risotto at Jamie’s Italian is adapted from the vegetarian one on the menu and served without cheese. The only downside of this is where I expect the cheese would have added a slight tang, the vegan risotto could have done with a touch of lemon or something similar to balance it out a bit.
I decided not to order dessert but it’s always nice to know that there is a vegan option available. Overall, I would definitely return and think it’s a great option if you’re heading out for a group meal since ordering vegan options is so easy. Click here to find out more about Jamie’s Italian in Leeds and the different menu offers available.
Interested in finding a festive menu for a last minute Christmas meal near you? Click here to visit Bookatable’s Christmas dining page.
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A huge thank you to Bookatable for sponsoring this post and helping to keep The Tofu Diaries up and running! All thoughts, opinions and photos my own. Please see my disclaimer for more details.