Jamie's Italian Markthal pasta sampling

Over the summer, I have visited the Markthal in Rotterdam very often and I kept ending up at the Jamie's Italian. From my reviews and pictures, I got everyone around me excited about trying this restaurant and I got to come along with them (lucky me!).

One day, I went to the Jamie's Italian in a group of three on a Friday afternoon. It was during busy lunch time, but we got a pager, which would beep when the table is ready. The waitress told us that the waiting time is about half an hour, but we needed to wait for another person anyway and when he arrived, we were immediately able to get seated.

Jamie's Italian Markthal Berry Blast Ginger & Mango mojito non-alcoholic cocktails

We ordered some drinks right away, so that we could have a refreshing drink while we look at the menu (it was very hot that day!). I ordered the Ginger & Mango mojito (alcohol-free, €4.50) and the others ordered the Berry Blast (€4.50) and a Lipton sparkling ice tea (bottle of 200 ml, not pictured, €2.65). I didn't get to taste the Ginger & Mango mojito last time, since I picked the Refresher, so I was really curious about it. I heard it was very tasty and refreshing, but after trying it myself, I was a bit disappointed. I only tasted the lime and mint and the promised mango flavor and light hint of ginger was nowhere to be found. Maybe the ratio didn't go too well this time and I got unlucky. The Berry Blast wasn't that well-received either, since it tasted like a heavy strawberry smoothie and he expected something refreshing. He ordered a cola afterwards, since it didn't quite quench his thirst. From all the non-alcoholic cocktails, the Refresher is still my favorite.  

The previous time, I had a table near the outside windows on the first floor, and this time, I got to sit more in the back of the first floor, which is near the windows facing the inner market hall. I also got a better seat than the wicker chair from last time: a super comfy brown, leather coach bench. 

Jamie's Italian Markthal industrial interior first floor
Jamie's Italian Markthal brown couch benches

First courses

Jamie's Italian Markthal porcini arancini

 Porcini Arancini €5.50

I ordered the Porcini Arancini again, since it was quite good the last time. The fried risotto balls didn't have as much grated cheese on top as last time and the cheese dipping sauce didn't taste as amazing as before. It could be because the Porcini Arancini from the Summer menu offer is different than the one on the normal menu. However, the mushroom risotto on the inside had the best mushroom flavor out of all the times that I have eaten it.   
 Jamie's Italian Markthal homemade polenta chips

 Homemade polenta chips €3.50

Compared to the Funky chips, which came in a small drinking glass size tin, the homemade polenta chips did have a generous size. I don't think I can finish the whole bowl by myself. The homemade polenta chips are large blocks of fried polenta, topped with rosemary salt and Parmesan. The texture and flavor of the polenta is like tiny pearls of chewy rice to me. The unique texture also creates an interesting crunchy crust. On its own, it doesn't have a strong taste, so it is great that we ate this as a first course with the Porcini Arancini. We never finish the cheese dipping sauce that comes with it (such a waste!) and this time, we could use it to dip the polenta chips in.    

Jamie's Italian Markthal homemade polenta chips inside

 Jamie's Italian Markthal garlic and chilli prawns

Garlic and Chilli prawns €10.50

It is good that we came in a group of 3, because we could each eat one prawn. The shrimp is relatively large, but mine was very mushy and over-cooked. Another person said that one half was perfectly done and the other half mushy. The first bite he took - which was good - was the part that was more on the outside of the bowl. I ate a shrimp that was on the outside too, but I think the bowl got in the oven on my side and his side was more near the door and was less warmed up or something.  

I am not sure what to say about the garlic and chilli flavor on the prawns. It wasn't spicy nor did I taste a strong garlic flavor. It was a bit bland. I even tried dipping the bread in the little sauce that could be found on the bottom, but I didn't really like it. Maybe, it is the parsley that ruined it for me.

The baked garlic buns were soft and fluffy, with a hint of cheese, garlic, and rosemary, but there were only 4 small pieces.

Jamie's Italian Markthal garlic and chilli prawns baked garlic buns

 Main courses

Because I came in a larger group, I could finally taste several of the pastas at Jamie's Italian. Back then, I only tried the prawn linguine.

Jamie's Italian Markthal penne carbonara

 Penne carbonara (small, €7.25)

It has crispy chunks of bresaola and a traditional carbonara sauce. It is a safe choice for everyone, even small children, as it has a strong ham-cheese macaroni like flavor (who doesn't like that?). The penne is a bit smaller than the ones I get from the supermarket and it is chewier and full of pasta flavor.    

Jamie's Italian Markthal penne carbonara bresaola

Jamie's Italian Markthal porcini fettuccine

 Porcini Fettuccine (small €7.25)

I ordered this pasta, because I had never eaten fettuccine before. To me, it tasted a bit like strings of firm wonton wrapper. It was very delicious. I also really like the sauce with wild mushrooms, mascarpone, garlic, white wine, lemony gremolata, and Parmesan. The sauce was like a flavorful mushroom soup with once in a while a strong hint of lemon. The herby breadcrumbs looks beautiful in a separate spoon, but I don't recommend adding them through the pasta. Maybe, it is because I eat very slow, but it made the whole thing soggy and not as nice as before I mixed the breadcrumbs in. 

Jamie's Italian Markthal porcini fettuccine spoon of herby breadcrumbs

Jamie's Italian Markthal squid mussels spaghetti nero

 Squid & Mussel Spaghetti nero (large €12.25)

It is a black squid ink spaghetti with pieces of flash-fried squid, mussels, octopus, capers, chilli, anchovies, tomatoes and white wine. I like this pasta the most, out of all the pastas I tried at Jamie's Italian. The black spaghetti looks really impressive, but it has a very subtle flavor - it barely tastes any different from normal spaghetti. The texture is also not much different from one of the better spaghetti that I can buy at the supermarket, maybe a little bit firmer. I was more blown away by the rich seafood sauce and the small crispy bits of flash-fried squid in every bite (I almost confused those with fried garlic bits). There were 8 pieces of mussels and some small pieces of other seafood.

Jamie's Italian Markthal squid mussels spaghetti nero close up

Jamie's Italian markthal spaghetti nero
This picture is provided to me by the one who ordered this dish

Jamie's Italian Markthal truffle risotto

Truffle risotto (small €8.75)

I was also interested in the truffle pasta, but they removed it from the menu, so I got a small truffle risotto instead. It has freshly minced black truffle on top and it is made with butter and Parmesan. Compared to the small pastas, it looks a bit little. We measured it and it was about 4 large spoons. The rich butter and cheese flavor does make you feel full very fast. Sadly, I could barely taste the truffle. I think it is better to order the large size of this, so that you get more truffle. The risotto tasted like long grain rice soaked and softened in water, while I prefer a thick and chewy risotto. 


I already wrote a lot about the service in my previous two reviews (lunch 1 and lunch 2), so I will only mention some new things. 

- We received a small black napkin under our drinks to prevent the table getting wet from the condense and they also had cool black-white straws.
- We weren't offered a bottle of free tap water and we forgot to ask for one, before the waiter left. 
- The waiter sometimes bend down a bit, so that he could talk to us on eye level. I remember that I read somewhere that you can get a more personal connection with the customers that way and more tip too. So, smart move!
- The waiter double-checked what we ordered by repeating it right after we had said it and all at once again, at the end too.
- They didn't have crab in stock anymore, so the waiter warned us beforehand that we couldn't order the crab bruschetta and crab spaghetti. It saved us from disappointment.

What do I think?

The porcini arancini seems to be different every time I try it, which could actually be a good thing, since they seem to make them themselves every once in a while and the fried risotto balls aren't pre-made and frozen in a large factory or something.

The homemade polenta chips were a nice surprise. The crunch and the texture inside were new to me. It can however be a bit heavy on the stomach and it could use a sauce (or order and eat it together with some snacks that do come with a sauce).

The garlic and chilli prawns weren't that great to me. I didn't like the flavor, but that could be a personal thing.

After trying several of the pastas, I think I might come again to just get a drink and a large squid and mussel spaghetti nero. The prawn linguini and the porcini fettuccine also have a interesting pasta kind that I would recommend trying out. 

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