Jamie Oliver’s FIFTEEN, Islington restaurant is his original ‘non-profit’ eatery. Like all Jamie restaurants, it is a great place to meet family in London and enjoy an honest and elegant meal. The menu is full of local produce including Eel, a nod to the East End. But it’s influences are from around the world.
Jamie’s Fifteen London restaurant is tucked down the end of Westland Place in a gorgeous old office or warehouse tower. Go to support Jamie’s Apprentice Programme, but also go because it’s a cool place to hang out in Islington and enjoy good food and a gin cocktail. Old Street railway and Underground are nearby.
We pulled up in a taxi and enjoyed seeing eager young apprentices carrying produce from the back of the building round to the front entrance (the green door to the left of the main entrance). It set the scene straight away. At Jamie Oliver’s FIFTEEN, Islington restaurant whole animals and fish are butchered on site everyday. These apprentices will be taught intricate knife skills.
15 students graduate each year. Some have gone on to become Michelin Star chefs.
You step straight into the bar, a design familiar to any Jamie Oliver restaurant goer. This bar, however, specialises in the very fashionable Gin Cocktail.
It has a cool, warehouse chic vibe, where a range of comfortable chairs are available both for perching or sinking in to. Jamie knows how to keep a family group happy. There are even high window seats with a metal bar for your feet. Somewhere for everyone.
The shelves are stacked with bottles of gin. If you have an old favourite, the chances are they’ll have it here somewhere.
Empty gin bottles make a good vase.
The menus have been flicked through 100 times but that is all part of the charm. My favourite gin, my son introduced to me recently, is Monkey 47.
If you have an old favourite, go with that and they’ll match it with a suitable flourish, such as lime or cucumber etc. Monkey 47 goes well with strawberries, which I hadn’t realised, but do now!
Andy went for one strong in Juniper which was very good and worth asking for.
While we waited for our son James and his lady love Char to turn up, I took some shots of the restaurant for you. The FIFTEEN Islington website doesn’t show you many, I don’t know why.
This is downstairs where larger family groups tend to have their parties. Parties were mid flow to the left of these waiters and ran along the open kitchen.
It’s interesting and fun to watch Robbin Holmgren teach the young chefs during a busy service. You really will them on.
Towards the back of the room downstairs are dark and intimate tables, great for date nights.
Where a window at ground level allows light to flood down you get a very bright table.
I send a tweet to let my followers know where I am dining today. It’s great fun to get ‘live’ interaction.
James and Char arrive and after ordering another gin cocktail we head to the table. We are on the brighter ground floor. There is a pizza oven at the back of the room and pictures everywhere of previous apprentices and friends of the restaurant.
Our order was taken and the wine was poured. A bustling sound filled the restaurant as everywhere animated people were happy and social.
James was impressed with his cocktail and took a photo of the ingredients, planning to try it at home. All the gin cocktails served from the table include a gin of the month, this month it’s Death’s Door gin. James’s choice included cointreau, fresh lemon juice and egg white, shaken and served.
In for a penny, in for a pound we went for a range of nibbles to start with.
These short rib croquettes were fabulous.
We also ordered a basket of bread. Bread is always really good at a Jamie restaurant and it’s no different here.
The butter is freshly made onsite. I saw Jamie Oliver do this on tv once. I think he simply ‘churned’ some double cream in a processor…
Being with children is always a joy, but seeing them happy and in love makes your heart overflow.
James appreciates good wine and probably has the best palate in the family.
Our starters arrive and Andy’s starter of Crispy Pork Jowl was a huge hit. He is still talking about it! He couldn’t believe he ate a fatty cut of meat without it feeling naughty.
Char and I chose the delicate crab starter. I was so pretty and fresh tasting. A healthy choice.
James made a brave choice, I think, of eel. It tasted robust, rather than delicate, and was a relatively meaty flesh with vinegar or pickled flavours cutting through the smoked flavour. He enjoyed it very much.
Char ordered this comforting chicken dish for her main.
James ordered this delicious looking Hanger steak dish.
Andy, true to form ordered a pie. This one was pretty special with venison and spiced red cabbage.
All the mains were delicious, but my choice was the most unusual and experimental. It was a beautifully made risotto with flavours of bubble and squeak. It was a very nice dish. Make a note of the cheese – Berkswell (fabulous!).
Perfectly crunchy and moreish potato cakes with a heavenly marmite and black truffle mayonnaise.
If you like nutty flavours and chocolate you will love this dessert.
This rhubarb crumble was smooth and I loved the crumbly oatmeal. The rhubarb was a touch stringy.
This was an interesting dessert. It’s one to think about as you first taste it. You should try a new flavour combination when you visit a restaurant, don’t you think? This one has made me think of inventing a tarragon-gin recipe of my own. There’s a compliment in that.
This dessert was really fresh. It did a super job of cleansing the palate. It was a panna cotta with an apple sorbet.
We spent a very long lunch at Jamie Olivers FIFTEEN, Islington. If you are looking for somewhere to relax, laugh, chatter loudly, eating plates of good hearty food check out their website for booking details FIFTEEN, London.
Other relaxed London restaurants we recommend
The Laughing Gravy London (near Waterloo Station)