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Now that his original training-based crusade has celebrated a decade in rude health, Jamie Oliver has given Fifteen a grown-up makeover. The result is more New York than Old Street, with exposed
brick, rust-coloured banquettes, muted tones and super-low lighting replacing bright-pink paintwork and down-with-the-kids graffiti. The menu, too, has been recalibrated: gone are the hearty pastas
and rustic Italian dishes, usurped by an accomplished version of the dining concept du jour – seasonal sharing plates. Start with soft focaccia threaded with wild garlic, followed by
well-seasoned Dorset crab on wafer-thin rye crackers, gutsy rabbit and pork sausage with tangy red cabbage or a larger dish of spanking fresh lemon sole. For dessert, the sticky rhubarb and custard
éclair is patisserie perfection. Service is effervescent, the wine list is thorough without being overwhelming, and prices are more consumer-friendly than before.
The original Fifteen is in Shoreditch and it is a handsome looking restaurant. Split over two floors, the décor is dark; dark tables, dark floors, etc, made even darker as the sunlight goes down as the lighting is kept very dim. But it sets the tone for an intimate atmosphere made buzzier by the constant chatter of the guests. Tables are closely positioned, but the space works... More from A Girl Has to Eat - Restaurant Reviews & Food Guide »
A couple of months back, I was asked if I wanted to come try out Fifteens new menu. New head chef, new place, new approach to their food. Away went the "Italian" focused menu, and in came something with a much more British focus, unsurprising given that head chef John Rotherham's previous employment was at none other than the sadly now defunct St John Hotel.
Each dish embraces no more than a few ingredients, used intelligently together to highlight the flavours of the other. With lots of the very much sharing focused menu under ten pounds, we kind of went wild... More from a rather unusual chinaman »
Jamie Oliver's rise from Essex kid cooking at his parents' pub to multi-millionaire TV chef, author, campaigner & populist foodie hero has been phenomenal. After graduating from Westminster College, our pukka boy went on to work at The River Café. Some years ago, he launched Fifteen, a not-for-profit restaurant staffed by underprivileged, previously unemployed youngsters & since then he has overseen the opening of sister restaurants in Amsterdam, Melbourne & Cornwall. Meanwhile, Oliver's sky-high media profile guarantees his presence in our kitchens & living rooms on a regular basis.