That time of the year has come around again, its colder than summer but not quite winter, yet our stomachs are definitely telling us to eat a little more (or maybe that’s just me?!) so what better festival to take place in the hub of all dining; London, than a festival of Restaurants. And that was exactly what I needed, after stepping off the plane from Spain at 3am to be greeted by heavy downfall, the thought of an affordable hearty Lunch from one of London’s finest restaurants, achieved a hastily restoration for my love of London.
It was Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen’ that reeled me in on their offer, not surprisingly utilising the name of the restaurant to provide a very delectable 2 courses at the bargain of £15. Although Jamie ‘Pucker’ Oliver does get on my tits a little I have to say his food always looks and tastes great, so -I thought- why not check out what the band playing, floppy haired, school dinner legend has to offer.
I was pleasantly surprised; the restaurant was relaxed and inviting. The décor was pretty great actually, contemporary and sleek yet kind of retro. Upon entering the building you first go into the Trattoria supposedly typical Italian and ‘Rustic’(jamie quote), with hundreds of chefs buzzing round the place (the reason why becomes apparent when you get your bill, and find that every diner automatically pays £1 towards Jamie’s apprenticeship scheme). We then went downstairs to the restaurant where at first we were presented with the a la carte menu, then slightly disappointedly this was removed from our grasp and replaced with the much simpler, 3 dish option of the fixed menu as allocated for the Restaurant Festival, standard for paying gypo prices.
We were first each brought a delicious slice of foccacia and a generous helping of Olive oil to dunk it in. The foccaccia was nice and greasy (olive oil is healthy?!) had a scattering of rosemary throughout and a good sprinkle of Maldon salt on top, as it should. Great stuff…could have had a little more though.
I chose to start cannellini bean soup with truffle oil and toasted crostini…
I was presented with a good sized portion of the rustic zuppa. Packed with flavour the soup had lovely varying textures of soft cannellini beans and slightly firmer beans in a silky creamy broth. The pungent but delicate aroma of truffle added an earthiness to the dish. Served with a crisp crostini. It was a good bowl of soup, nothing too technical so watch this space for the recipe!
For the main course I had roast porchetta with salse verde, celeriac and apple.
The dish it self was massive I mean literally the plate/bowl, it was an oversized pasta bowl which made it slightly awkward to eat out of, however the food was great. The pork; boned, rolled and slow roasted so that it was moist and succulent, was served on top of soft cubes of celeriac and apple, and curly kale, a good helpful of gravy/meat juices and a crisped piece of pork crackling on top. The dish had an overall fruitiness, with a soft lemon flavour infused into the meat, contrasted with the tangy, salty salsa verde. Overall a simple, bold flavoured, tasty dish.
As the offer was on ordering 2 courses, I was pretty chuffed that Rich wanted a main and desert giving me ‘advantage pudding pinch’– girlfriend’s prerogative! The desert was delicious an almond and raspberry cake with homemade amoretti ice cream.
Service with a slight Italian ferocious temper, set in a scene from Observer style interiors, toilets with branded Jamie toilet paper (well almost but the soap was), food from one of Jamie’s many cookbooks (available to buy there an then along with wooden boards and stuff), I felt I had an insight –and I was pretty impressed- into the genius brains that have built the Jamie® empire.