Any Jamie Oliver fan will know of his iconic London restaurant, Fifteen. For those who don’t, Fifteen is a social enterprise set up to give unemployed youths culinary training and a job at the restaurant thereafter – if they were committed and good enough, of course.
Fifteen’s beginning was famously chronicled in the memorable television series, Jamie’s Kitchen. The series followed the trials and tribulations of Fifteen’s pioneer batch of apprentices, and the struggles Jamie faced in setting up the restaurant in East London.
Back in 2003, one of us saw Jamie’s Kitchen and yearned to dine at Fifteen someday. Thus, seven years later, when we headed to the restaurant for the first time on our honeymoon in 2010, it was a beautiful dream come true. Standing in front of the restaurant’s entrance and recalling the Jamie’s Kitchen series was a stark reminder of life’s blessings.
It was a cold wintry evening in London. We were on the final leg of our three-week long European adventure and the effects of low temperatures and travelling was creeping up on the fairer one among us. Throughout the day, she lacked appetite. However, that all changed when she took her first bite into her first dish at Fifteen. She became ravenous and even began helping herself to copious amounts of her husband’s food. Such was the food quality at Fifteen. That dinner turned out so well that we decided to make another dinner reservation before leaving.
We’ve returned many times to Fifteen over the years and have tried a good variety of the food there. One dish that we must single out is the restaurant’s slow-cooked Cumbrian pork belly main. It was a dish that would never fail to feature as one of our main dishes, as long as it was available on the menu. Other dishes worth highlighting are the seafood risotto, tiramisu and any dish (usually an appetiser or pasta main) that features Devonshire crab.
Unfortunately, Fifteen changed their dining concept and menu in 2014. It now features a menu built for sharing. The restaurant no longer serves any of the dishes that used keep us flying back for more. Our experience with the new concept in 2014 was mediocre at best. It is a sad turn to take for a restaurant that we used to love.
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, London
15 Westland Place
London N1 7LP
020 3375 1515
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Slow-Cooked Cumbrian Pork Belly