Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fifteen - Jamie Oliver's restaurant

The excitement about eating at Fifteen starts even before you get there. Jamie Oliver's bubbly recorded voice surprises you when you call to make a reservation as he explains the concept of the restaurant. Fifteen was been conceived as a training ground kitchen for handpicked disadvantaged teenagers who Jamie thinks have the potential to be next generation star chefs. Once Jamie signs of with a characteristic panache - "big love, J" - you speak to an equally warm and enthusiastic hostess who makes and confirms your reservation.

By the time you arrive, the expectation is already set very high. Fifteen is located in the north east part of the city, a short walk from the Old Street tube station. It forms a triangle of sorts with Clerkenwell and Islington just north of the city centre. I was impressed by the unpretentious exterior and just couldn't wait to get in. The trattoria is located on the ground floor and it serves Jamie's taken on Italian food. An open kitchen and freshly made antipasto and seasonal vegetable dishes tempt the diner. The atmosphere is somewhat rustic Italian.

I had lunch downstairs in the restaurant which serves modern Mediterranean food with an Italian influence. It is quite retro in styling and I loved the pink and white decor of the place which makes it feel like an upscale diner. There are many interesting pieces of art including a gigantic pencil shaded drawing of a pig and a baby created from coloured mosaic tiles.

Appetizer was ricotta fritters in a chili tomato sauce with rocket and shaved parmesan. The ricotta was amazingly fresh and just melted in the mouth after you savoured the light crisp coating.

Main course was a ravioli of sorts whose name I am blanking on now. The ravioli thingie was stuffed with butternut squash and came in a light white sauce with saffron and sage. I loved how the sage was lightly fried which gave it a nice texture. This dish was pure heaven. All the sweet and savoury flavours combined beautifully together to create something truly outstanding.

Dessert was also exceptional. I ordered a vanilla and grappa panna cotta with honey roasted figs and balsamic.

I would rate this meal one of the best meals I've ever had, if not THE BEST. Jamie Oliver has gone up in my esteem and adoration more than ever. Not only is the food in the restaurant exceptional but it is also for a great cause. I don't think Jamie makes any money from this establishment - it all goes towards helping disadvatanged kids. No wonder you don't even blink when you see the bill and realize what an unbelievably expensive meal you just thoroughly enjoyed!

On the way out you can buy any of his several books. I noticed that Jools (Jamie's wife) has just published a book called "Minus nine to one: The diary of an honest mum" that is all about her two pregnancies and bringing up their baby girls, Poppy and Daisy. If Jools' style is anything like Jamie's, this should be a thoroughly enjoyable and fun read for anyone thinking of or just had babies.


Blogger Manish said...

Make sure you eat at the Cinnamon Club in London if you have time-- my favorite!

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Samantha said...

Yup, Jamie rocks. That ricotta fritter recipe is in his Italy cookbook, which I know we both have. :) I also got one of his flavour shakers... pick one up while you're there.

Dave's parents are going to London in a few weeks, and I am so jealous. I'm craving London! Borough Market, Sainsburys around Christmas (so many christmas puddings!), afternoon tea from Cafe in the Crypt and concerts upstairs in the church, even a simple sandwich from Pret.

Oh, you must go to The Gate... it's a vegetarian restaurant in Hammersmith. Without a doubt we have had some of our favorite meals ever from this amazing restaurant. I know you would LOVE it!

Hope you are well, travel safe!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

That is so cool, and I had no idea about this restaurant. Thanks for the heads up! Can't wait to try.

1:47 PM  
Blogger KK said...

So glad I found your Blog. We are going to Great Britain for two weeks in July (from San Francisco and Seattle). I was looking up info about Jamie Oliver's restaurant. I can't wait to go there. I am determined to do a tour of the great food in London and Scotland on our trip that is part Honeymoon and part family reunion ( I am half British-dad). Thanks for the other suggestions on the site. Any others are certainly welcome.

1:06 PM  
Blogger mendorita said...

I am a big, big fan of Jamie O so I suggested my friend to try his restaurant when she toured London from Okinawa, Japan recently. She even made a lunch reservation just for herself. Unfortunately, her experience there was shocking to me. She said she had to wait for one hour even though she was even 15 min. earlier than her reserved time. And much to my dismay, she did not enjoy the food. She found the patrons very happy and enjoying themselves so she reasoned that the staff was spoiled by that fact. But even though I am very disappointed by her report, I will remain a fan. He inspires me to cook and gives me ideas. I was never one to cook, but now I just love to cook! I hope one day I can afford to go to Fifteen. Thanks for listening.

12:29 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home