Nearly 2 months ago I had a blogger community meetup with the team of Collective Bias/Social Fabric and we were treated to a lovely meal out at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant which is at 15 Westland Place, London, N1; between Old Street and Hoxton.I had promised to review the meal we enjoyed there, and so, better late than never, here is that review! Being late, it does mean I’ve forgotten most of the descriptive words to describe this meal…suffice to say it was all very, very tasty!
Fifteen was established in 2002 (and I remember watching the TV programme about it) when Jamie trained 15 young people who had had problems and challenges through their lives to become chefs. You can read about his apprenticeship programme here.
There are two levels to this restaurant; we were sat upstairs and once seated realised it was a set menu – I don’t know if this was because we were a large table, or if this is the norm for dinner, but the menu sounded very interesting, and I know that myself, and my fellow bloggers, were looking forward to trying the dishes out.
Drinks were ordered, mine was a vodka, lime and soda (and on a school night too!) and I took a couple of quick pics of the food preparation area that is visible to the restaurant guests. I always find that kind of service very comforting for some reason!
Food was served family style, on platters that everyone shares from – there was a lot of food on the platters and we certainly were not able to finish everything. It was a shame that the wait staff were quick to clear some of the still full platters, I was quite happily still eating the quail, and my plate was dashed from under my nose before I even had a chance to say anything! We were served a basket of delicious breads, with two kinds of butter – if I recall, one was made with chicken stock – it was lush!
Starter #1 – Crispy hens egg, smoked leek and watercress salad, roast garlic aioli – these were very popular amongst us all – they were divine! Gooey soft yolks and so tasty!
Starter #2 – Barbecued quail, pink fir potato apple potatoes, rosemary and sherry dressing – my personal favourite! Have to say, quite heavy for a starter, and I could have quite happily eaten this as a main course – see above for my gripe about the waitress taking away the platter (and my plate which still had food on it!) The quail was like chicken really – not at all gamey, and the potatoes were flavourful. Everything about this dish for me was perfect.
The main course consisted of a meat option and a veggie option – there was plenty of both, and I think most of us ate both too – family style after all! Main Course #1 – Whole rotisserie chicken, crispy potato cake, salsa verde, watercress – I remember the chicken being a little on the dry side, especially compared with the juicy quail. The potato cake was gorgeous though!
Main Course #2 – Rotolo pasta, smoked English ricotta and caramelised Braeburn apple – okay, so the photograph below doesn’t really do this dish justice – it does look rather horrid in the photographs I took doesn’t it? But…I really enjoyed this pasta dish. Rotolo, I am guessing, means roll(?) as the pasta was rolled up with spinach and ricotta (at least, I think it was spinach!). Not sure about the Braeburn apples with it, felt like they would have been better as a side on the chicken.
And finally, it was dessert time…always have to save a bit of room for dessert! Dessert #1 – Blood orange jelly, vanilla panna cotta, shortbread biscuits – sadly, the panna cotta under the jelly was super runny, which I think spoiled the dish. A shame as it looked so pretty! The shortbread biscuits were yummy, especially when dipped in the whipped cream that was served with dessert.
Dessert #2 – Polenta cake, lemon syrup, vanilla custard – yummy yum yum are the words to describe this cake! Really moist and lemony, and the grainy texture of the polenta in the cake was a nice change from a regular sponge. There was quite a bit of cake left over, and I really hate leftovers, feels like such a waste, so I went all American and asked for a doggy bag (I have no shame!) it meant that hubby was also able to try the cake out. I know he was well jel that I got to go to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and he didn’t!!
Tea and coffee was offered, but by now it was quite late, and having to catch a train back to the sticks (Essex) meant saying goodbyes and declining hot beverages. I can’t fault the food – some was quite salty, but that’s my tastes buds as we don’t have much salt at home. The service from some of the waiting staff was a lot to be desired, but perhaps they’re also training – I don’t know.The bottom line with all restaurants is would I eat there again? Yes, yes I would! I have no idea how much the food cost – it’s London, it’s got to have a bit of a price tag on it; but the Fifteen website does say all profits go back into the scheme to help unemployed young people a chance to have a better future, so I am sure that whatever the cost of a meal here, it will be worth it alone, knowing that you are helping others.