Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jamie Oliver's Fifteen: An honest review

Jamie Oliver is a very popular TV personality, chef and food activist. He is famous for his campaign to improve food in British and American schools. In 2002, he established the restaurant "Fifteen", with the purpose of helping fifteen young and disadvantaged people to work in the restaurant industry through an apprentice program, which is still active today.
Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, located in the Islington district, is one of the best restaurants in London offering British food. The head chef is John Rotherman and is a close friend of Jamie. John makes large use of local British produce and changes the menu daily according to the availability and the freshness of the ingredients.

As you enter the restaurant, you find a bar where they make wide a variety of refined cocktails and drinks. My friend and I ordered the "Kingston Apple Jack" (made with Somerset Apple Brandy 10yr, dry curaƧao, spiced honey, apple juice and fresh lemon) and "Prune Blood and Sand" (made with Prune Infused Black Ship Whiski, Orange juice, Cherry Heering and the Italian vermouth Punt e Mes). The price of the cocktails (10 pounds each) is high but it is worth trying them because they are special.

The Bar

The Cocktails

As an appetizer, we ordered fresh bread (made using the wood-fired oven of the restaurant) and butter. On the side, we had bresaola and house pickles. Given the small size and the price (11 pounds in total) of this appetizer, I suggest you skip it.

As main dishes, we had the braised short ribs, which are garnished with baby carrots, mustard leaves and horseradish. The meat was extremely tender and the plate was very well presented. The cream of the carrots was sweet and matched perfectly with the meat and horseradish. It is a filling plate which I highly recommend. Also, it is worth trying the dish made with with Wye Valley Asparagus, Salt Cod, Potato and Chicken Skin. It is a nice combination of seafood, fresh vegetables and crunchy meat.

Braised short ribs

Wye Valley Asparagus, Salt Cod, Potato and Chicken Skin

As a side dish, we ordered the jersey royals (potatoes grown in the British island of Jersey), Westcombe truffle cheddar and spinach. Given its price (5 pounds) and the quality of the ingredients, it is one of the best dishes you can have. The mix of fried potatoes, baked potatoes and local cheddar is delicious and it is perfect to combine with the braised short ribs. To finish, we had a chocolate mousse made with organic Criollo dark chocolate, along with chocolate meringue and blood orange. It is a savory and big pudding but slightly too sweet because it is overloaded with chocolate.

Jersey royals

Chocolate mousse

At Jamie Oliver's Fifteen one can find refined dishes made mostly with local produce. The head chef, John Rotherman, is doing a great job in selecting fresh ingredients and creating dishes that mix tradition with innovation. The price of a meal is a bit high, but the dishes are really distinctive and enjoyable. So I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting London looking for refined British food.

In brief:

Service:  9/10
Quality/Price: 8/10
Waiting time: 8/10
Ambience: 9/10

Overall: 8.5/10
Notes: Ideal for a formal dinner with friends and family.

Location: Londra, Regno Unito