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To want to book a table at Jamie's Italian

(74 Posts)
chubbleigh Mon 24-Oct-11 18:51:12

I wanted to go there on my birthday, my sister warned me that the 'just turn up' policy was hit and miss*. It was a big miss. I was advised to get there early, before 7.15, to secure a place in the 'queue', we got there at 6.50 and were told it was going to be a 2 hr wait for a table and then to expect slow service due to how busy the kitchen would be. We went somewhere else.

I don't get this 'no bookings' policy. Is this a trick to get people to hang around in the bar spending on drinks whilst waiting for a table they would have booked if only they could have?

Could you be bothered? Would it have been worth the wait?

*to explain JOI book only a small number of tables for parties of 6 or more, for everyone else you just turn up at and join a queue.

RosiethePriveter Mon 24-Oct-11 18:54:07

We went to the one in Brighton. Only had to wait about 40 minutes and they gave us a buzzer thing which allowed us to go to the pub next door and relax / not sit in the cramped bar in Jamie's italian.

Have to say, it was pretty bloody good and my DS (12) loved it. Wasn't as expensive as I would have imagined either. Service was normal speed despite being rammed. I suspect it varies from place to place though and maybe we were lucky.

PaintedToenails Mon 24-Oct-11 18:54:34

Of course it's to get people to hang about buying drinks. The man is a prat. Why anyone would want to put money into that fucking idiot's pocket is beyond me.

I now apologise for my previous outburst and profanity. But I stand by my comments. grin

VivaLeBeaver Mon 24-Oct-11 18:54:39

It saves them time and hassle having to sort out bookings and they know the chances are they're going to be full whether they take bookings or not. It's shit for the customers though.

squeakyfreakytoy Mon 24-Oct-11 18:57:32

Quite a lot of restaurants do it now and to be fair, it does give more people a chance to be able to go to these places, rather than the ones that are booking only, and get booked many months in advance. The buzzer idea is great too.

wherearemysocks Mon 24-Oct-11 19:02:00

We went to the one on St Martins Lane, it was the second attempt as when we went before it was about a 2 hr wait. We went early and told them that we had theatre tickets and they said that it would be fine - it wasn't. We ended up wolfing down our main courses and asking for the bill at the same time. The food was pretty good but not amazing, and they do that really annoying thing where you have to pay extra for all the sides as nothing comes with anything. I was most disappointed as I really wanted desert, but there you go. If you've got a long time and you really want to go then go but its nothing special really tbh.

ThoseArentSpiritFingers Mon 24-Oct-11 19:05:40

went to the one in glasgow, very disapointed.

No issue with queing etc, got a table, but food was average and over-priced.

menu made everything sound pretentious but it was actually quite boring and plain.

you didnt miss out

dippydoodah Mon 24-Oct-11 19:06:59

The most annoying thing is that when you actually get into the restaurant there are usually a good few tables empty - I think they just like getting you to wait and making it seem more desirable than it is.

microfight Mon 24-Oct-11 19:09:12

The main reason places do it is because so many people book but don't turn up thus leaving the restaurant with empty tables whilst they wait for the customer. With current rentals and leases through the roof it becomes very costly for the restaurants so more restaurants are moving to a no booking policy.

microfight Mon 24-Oct-11 19:10:32

The empty tables might be because they have just sat down a shed load of tables and they need to stagger it a bit so the kitchen doesn't go into melt down and no one get their food at a reasonable time

Trills Mon 24-Oct-11 19:10:51

YANBU to want to, as it would be more convenient for you, but I still think tough, that's the policy, if you want to eat there then that's how it works.

With a "wait around and see" policy more people get to eat there in an evening than if tables were empty waiting for people who had booked them.

RedHelenB Mon 24-Oct-11 19:11:54

Hate that system too!! If I wait too long I get too hungry , feel sick £ don't enjoy the food so I'd much rather book!

Growlithe Mon 24-Oct-11 19:17:16

We went to the one in Liverpool and had exactly the same experience as Riding - overpriced, pretentious and mediocre. Mind you, don't know why this surprises me as I'm disappointed with a lot of his recipes as well

aldiwhore Mon 24-Oct-11 19:21:32

I don't really care whether their policy is right or not, they're obviously earning money and good luck to them, but its not somewhere I would consider going... not if I have to queue! Meh.

I'd rather book. OR just turn up at a restaurant that looks interesting that doesn't have a queue or a schleb kinda feel... just not interested. AT. ALL.

Fortunately where I live you can always get into somewhere good to eat, you'll wait 20 minutes maximum, and that's with a menu so you're ready to order as soon as you've sat down. OR I book. Or I cook it myself and usually the wait for guests is even longer then as I'll be a good way through a bottle of fizz.

shinybaubles Mon 24-Oct-11 19:23:11

The same thing happened to us twice at the Westfield one. Took our money elsewhere.

chubbleigh Mon 24-Oct-11 19:24:25

I hate eating late, it gets to a certain point and I would rather have a cup of cocoa and a slice of toast as I reach a peak of hunger and then it just goes.

After a bit of farting about out in the street with iphones and a few calls to places that were 'fully booked' we went to a funny little Turkish restaurant we walked past. The waitress actually hoofed someone onto another table mid way through his meal to make room for us, he didn't mind. I had something made with smoked aubergine that was a revelation, also the meze was lovely. I WILL be going there again but think Jamie can stick it.

HeadsRollingInTheAisles Mon 24-Oct-11 19:27:57

The one in Reading doesn't normally have a wait and the service is quick, so Goidelic for DCs. Food is good too.

HeadsRollingInTheAisles Mon 24-Oct-11 19:28:16

Goidelic??? Good!

Imps7 Mon 24-Oct-11 19:28:58

I hate Jamie's Italian just because of the no-booking policy. However, on the plus side, after an unsuccessful attempt to go there on Saturday night (Cambridge branch - bar was full - was told we'd have to wait outside (i.e. on the street!)) for 20 mins) we found a brilliant, independent noodle bar that was completely fab and that we'd never have gone to were it not for Jamie's' crap policy.

pink4ever Mon 24-Oct-11 19:35:21

I agree about the one in glasgow-twas shite. I have been to much nicer and mucher cheaper italian restaurants. Feels like eating in a canteen-I dont want your school dinners thanks!

KatieMortician Mon 24-Oct-11 19:37:30

I've been to the one in Kingston at lunchtime it was very good and they were very accommodating of babies and small children. One couple grumbled there wasn't pizza but tbh if you want a pizza there are plenty of places that do it and there's a menu on the door.

I've also headed there shortly after it opened in the evening. It was really busy so we went somewhere else. Not a big deal and we went to a nice vegetarian Indian place.

A queue is just a lot of like-minded people wanting to do the same thing at the same time. Not a concern of the business that they're popular.

Gigondas Mon 24-Oct-11 19:37:59

No yanbu- but I rarely go out and need babysitter and I don't Want to wait two hours plus for a rammed table (have been to barbecoa where you can book which was so rammed full and acoustics so poor it was pointless to go with anyone as couldn't hear conversation).

buggerlugs82 Mon 24-Oct-11 19:39:52

Went to the one in Leeds. Got seated straight away. The service was wonderful and we had a lovely evening.

ShimmeryPixie Mon 24-Oct-11 19:40:35

Went to the cambridge one on saturday night. Not worth the money. Overpriced for what you got, and the dishes were way way way too heavy on the chilli and garlic (I couldn't eat it).

KittyFane Mon 24-Oct-11 19:52:20

We go to JK in Oxford - it is wonderful but forget it if you want to go on a weekend (!), public holiday, anywhere near Christmas! We go mid week and always very early.
YANBU, you should be able to book. Even if they did half booking, half walk in it would be better,

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