When checking into our British Airways flight to Marrakech at London Gatwick Airport, I asked the staffer at the desk, “Will there be a meal served on the flight? Or should we have lunch beforehand?”
She was incredibly honest. “I think there’s only a snack, and to be honest it’s never very good. I’d suggest treating yourself to a nice lunch before the flight, start your holiday the way you mean to continue.”
That was good enough for me! We found our way through check-in and security to Jamie’s Italian at the departure lounge. There’s a few other nice sit-down restaurants in Gatwick Airport, but we both felt like a healthy serving of simple fresh pasta before heading to Morocco, the land of tajines, cous cous and spices.
Unlike many restaurants in airports, Jamie’s Italian manages to maintain a warm and inviting atmosphere, unsullied by the sterile coldness of an airport. If it weren’t for the window view over the runway and two TV screens displaying plane departure information to ensure you don’t miss your flight, you could almost forget that you’re dining in an airport.
With only forty-five minutes between sitting down at our table and the gate opening for our flight, we had to make it a quick meal. Luckily, Jamie’s Italian guarantees a maximum fifteen-minute window between ordering and receiving your food, to ensure that all their customers will be able to make their flights.
K ordered the Fresh Crab Spaghetti, an extremely simple spaghetti dish that just abounded with delicious chunks of fresh crab meat. With the intensity of the crab flavour, the dish really didn’t need anything else to enhance it – but the subtle lingering burn of chilli was definitely welcome!
I ordered a vegetarian pasta – a Veggie Tagliatelle Bolognese. I tend to pronounce it as “bo-log-nayse”, enunciating the ‘g’ which drives K insane. I’m perfectly aware that I pronounce it incorrectly but it’s become a habit now that’s particularly hard to break! Pronunciation aside, this is the type of dish that would drive anyone crazy with desire – ‘meaty’ mushroom mince, bulked out with lentils and enriched with crushed tomatoes, topped with micro herbs and a healthy shaving of parmesan cheese. When vegetarian bolognese tastes so delicious, you’ll never find yourself craving a traditional bolognese!
We finished off our meal by balancing the heavy carbs of our mains with a healthy JI Super Food Salad, made up of avocado and roasted beets with beans, grains, kale, pomegranate, toasted seeds, harissa and cottage cheese. While only a small serving, this salad really hit the spot with lovely fresh vegetables and nutty quinoa. I particularly enjoyed the broccolini in the salad, vibrantly green with a satisfying crunch when you bit into it.
As far as airport meals go, you can’t do much better than Jamie’s Italian for a simple and satisfying pasta. Staff are friendly, food is freshly made and tasty, and the restaurant is surprisingly warm and cosy. It definitely beats buying a soggy takeaway sandwich meal deal from WH Smith!
Jamie’s Italian is located at North Terminal (airside) at Gatwick Airport in London.