Italian food is something that Manchester as a city certainly isn't wanting for.
From Sugo and San Carlo's to Gino D'Acampo's and aaallll the shopping centre chains among which include the likes of Zizzi, Pizza Express and Gusto - the competition is fierce and seems to be growing by the day.
I love pasta - and I've had a lot of it in my time so wasn't expecting to be particularly bowled over when I stepped into Jamie's Italian on King Street.
But bowled over I was, and it wasn't anything to do the food - at least not initially.
'The King of King Street'
Set in the heart of the city, Jamie's Italian restaurant in Manchester occupies a magnificent grade II listed building dubbed the 'King of King Street'. And it's not hard to see why - with its enormous windows and stately pillars - the venue alone deserves your attention because it is nothing short of stunning.
With 240 covers on the ground floor and mezzanine of this old bank, most of the original features and fittings remain, making it the perfect spot for a really unique dining experience.
Truly one of the most sensational venues in the city...
If you’re looking for something a little bit different, the restaurant has several unique private dining rooms for up to 18 guests, including the famous bank vault.
The bank vault can be booked for between 12-20 people and even includes a 'bring your own tunes' option - so you can enjoy your favourite music with a group of friends while dining in one of the most spectacular venues in this city...
Jamie's boasts a large selection of fresh, light and flavoursome dishes that are perfect if you want a treat but don't want to completely derail your summer diet.
A group of four of us shared the starter 'plank' which included prosciutto, tuscan fennel salami, and the most sumptuous schiacciata piccante & mortadella with pâté crostini, baby buffalo mozzarella, pecorino Sardo & chilli jam, fresh rosemary focaccia, olives & pickles. It was a taste triumph and allowed you to have a little taste of everything without being too overloaded for the main.
Sat there crostini in hand with a glass of sparkling water (in a wine glass, because I'm classy like that) I felt like I was on holiday in Italy - and in true Italian style - the focus here is all on flavour and freshness. The pesto was fresh as can be and the charcoaled cauliflower side made a gloriously tasty alternative to meat.
For my main I chose the white asparagus and ricotta ravioli. I'm not usually a diehard fan of ravioli and tend to find it a little bland but after having watched all of the pasta made fresh in front of me I simply couldn't resist. Drizzled with the lemon and herb butter and sprinkled with parmesan and pea shoots - it had a delicate flavour and such a rich moreishness that I would happily eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week.
Recommended to us by our lovely waitress, the new addition to the dessert menu - the semifredo - was quite literally the best dessert I've ever eaten and complimented the summer weather perfectly, especially when you don't fancy a heavy pud after all that pasta.
For those for whom chocolate = life however, it is an easy choice.
The famous molten praline pudding completely hit the spot, served with home-made vanilla gelato and a rich chocolate sauce, it is heaven for the senses and I have been daydreaming about it ever since...
The venue is stand-out but the dishes we had on the day matched it two-fold and I'll definitely be back again.
If you want a place that's sure to impress where you know you can rely on the food in terms of freshness and quality Jamie's is the place to go.