This November, the first restaurant founded by Jamie Oliver, Fifteen celebrates its 15th birthday. It started out as a charitable organisation bringing young unemployed people into the wonderful world of the catering industry. In the intervening years, they've trained over five hundred apprentices worldwide and some have gone onto Michelin-star glory. We went back to where it all began for Jamie Oliver to see how the restaurant is faring at the grand old age of fifteen.
The decor was surprisingly contemporary and had a hint of Shoreditch slackster mixed in with high-end formality. The price point is on the high side for comparative restaurants in the area, but a considered examination of their menu will give you reassurance that this is money well worth spending with ingredients that are playful and inventive like marmite and black truffle mayo and sour cherry ketchup.
Jamie is a fervent supporter of local produce where possible and that was very much the case when we enjoyed Ragstone, Morello cherry and wild fennel. Ragstone is an unpasteurized goat's milk cheese from Neal Yard's creamery and named after the ridge where the factory is based. It's lemony with a creamy texture that contrasted well with the cherry and fennel.
The delicate, fresh tasting trout was matched with a supremely intense umami broth, which added character to the dish without making the fish ‘swim' in a bowl of soup. They added an interesting variety of textures with turnip, leek and crispy shallot.
Vegetarian dishes can be incredibly exciting when you dine at inventive restaurants like Fifteen. Heritage potatoes like Red King Edwards are assembled with an exotic forest of cauliflower, girolles, sea aster and lovage. The girolles added more peppery notes and a fruity aroma to the dish.
For those after a more hearty dish, then opt for the Iberico pork shoulder. It's cooked to an inviting pink colour, which is absolutely fine when you are using well-sourced Iberian pigs. A degree of pinkness does help with the succulence of the pork and apart from adding grilled baby gem and leek, there is also peach to add some sweetness to the dish.
If you are a fan of tangy desserts, you might be in citrus heaven with the quadruple lemon offering of leafy lemon sorbet, lemon caramel, confit lemon and lemon verbena; it's a refreshing palate-cleanser that will guarantee to leave you with a spring in your step.
Fifteen doesn't rest on their laurels, but is continually innovating and being imaginative with their gastronomic creations.
To make a booking, visit Fifteen online.
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