Friday, 31 July 2015

Jamie's Italian: Facing The Plank At Sea

Jamie's Italian Anthem of the Saas

Royal Caribbean is renowned for being innovative and family-friendly, and Anthem of the Seas is no exception with its bionic bar and bumper cars.
It also boasts 18 dining venues - including Jamie's Italian restaurant which takes pride over its authentically-sourced and accessible to all cuisine. With such an emphasis on quality and service, it seems like the two companies are a match made in foodie-heaven!

So, how does it compare to a land-based restaurant? Is it worth trying onboard Anthem/Quantum of the Seas? Read on to find out...

The speciality restaurant is currently open twice a day with a set $20 coverage charge for lunch, and $30 for dinner (around £13 and £19.25 respectively).
The cover charge means you can enjoy all the menu's offerings (excluding beverages) - great value if, like us, you arrive with an appetite.

It's located on Deck 5 just off 'The Via', an arty and atmospheric lounge lined with comfortable sofas and rocking chairs to while away the hours (or have a cheeky siesta).

Presented with a menu, I was immediately drawn to the arancini margherita starter - risotto rice balls oozing with melted cheese and a peppery tomato sauce, delizioso!

Jamie's Italian Anthem of the Seas Menu

Other starters on the menu included these baked chestnut mushrooms...

A popular option to start your Italian meal at Jamie's is one of their 'Famous Planks'. We were both intrigued from the title alone and asked to share a cured meats plank (a seasonal vegetable plank is also available). 
Our waiter was very attentive and told us all about the components, such as where they're sourced and why it's quality is so exceptional.

For example, we were told that the finocchiona is aged for many months in Italy (in the region of Tuscancy), and the company's mission was to produce the best quality salami.

Founded by the Levoni family over a hundred years ago, Levoni are so sure of their sky-high standards their logo is a flying pig - meaning pigs would fly before they'd ever compromise on quality!

The finely-cut salami has a very rustic and earthy flavour. It's definitely worth trying, even if you're not a cured meats person.

The olives are produced in Puglia, a sunny region in the south of Italy (the "heel", so to speak).
They are very distinct to look at; very large, and a deep shiny green. Mother is a big fan of olives and thought they were the best she'd ever tasted!

For my main, I enjoyed a baked lasagne with slow cooked beef and pork. It was flavoured by roasted pumpkin, herbs and wine before being showered with parmesan.

It was a very generous portion, particularly when accompanied by our sides of "funky chips" and coleslaw.

There's a healthy selection of pasta dishes to suit all tastes, like this prawn linguine for sea-food lovers.

Celebrity Chef Gennaro Contaldo is a driving force behind the menu at Jamie's Italian, having been a mentor Jamie Oliver and regularly visiting the land-based restaurants (and Anthem of the Seas back in April).

For more insight and recipes about the delicious pasta dishes, save for later my masterclass with the chef himself by clicking here.

If a member of your party is not really in the mood for pasta, there's a range of alternatives like baked salmon, rib-eye steak and a mouth-watering Italian burger.

I had a little room saved for dessert so a light and sweet pavlova seemed the perfect option to satisfy my palate.

However, the sound of the 'epic chocolate brownie' with caramelised popcorn and ice cream was far too tempting as a self-confessed chocoholic!

It was a good as it looks and I kept going back for "just one more bite!"

On the dessert menu are also Italian coffees and digestifs like limoncello, a zesty liqueur that'll kick start your digestion. I've never had limoncello, but I was assured before the flavour-explosion ensued that many Italian's regularly enjoy it after a large meal.

The relaxed ambience and mood lighting is an ideal setting for a wholesome meal with your nearest and dearest.
Time slipped by quicker than the sea - it had been over three hours and we felt in no hurry to leave.

This was probably down to us enjoying lots of conversation in-between courses with the staff and fellow guests - more than at any other point during the cruise.

You can also dine outside and enjoy the sea-view and sunshine. Here's the area ready to be prepped for dinner...

As you can see, we were very impressed by the service, quality of food and knowledgeable friendly staff.
So much so, we didn't wait long before reliving our experience at our local Jamie's Italian in Cardiff.

Our meal there (three courses and three people) cost around £66 before drinks, still very reasonable all things considered... but if you're cruising on Anthem/Quantum of the Seas in the near future, £13/20* each is amazing value! Be sure to book (see here for more information).

Want to see more of Anthem of the Seas? Take a look at my ship tour blog and video by clicking here.

This review was not anonymous and the beverages were complimentary. All opinions are my own.
On this particular cruise I took up a non-exclusive discount offer for dining here. 

*Approximate conversion $=£.
Want to collaborate on a future blog? Get in touch.
© Explore With Ed | Wales based Food, Travel and Cruise Blog

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