Being taught to cook by Jamie Oliver
A confession: six months ago, I couldn’t even grill a piece of chicken without giving myself food poisoning.
But then, before I left for my trip, Jamie Oliver was teaching me how to cook.
(Now, my mother will kill me if I leave it at that, so I will add that it’s mostly my mum who has been teaching me, but Jamie Oliver is the one with the books and the lovely pictures!)
I believe in his mission and think he has done great things for the diets of people around the world. His recipes are easy to follow (even if I had to watch him on television to understand what a ‘lug’ of oil was) and every one I’ve made has been super tasty.
So naturally, when I arrived in London after an easy 2 hour flight from Reykjavik, there wasn’t any question as to whether I would visit his first London restaurant, Fifteen, while I was in town. Luckily, my good friend Dawn came to spend a few days in the city with me, so I didn’t have to go alone!
It was a wet and unpleasant night and it was still rush hour when we took the tube to Shoreditch.
The restaurant is off the main street, down a non-descript laneway and once we were inside we forgot about our wet feet and chilly fingers.
The trattoria (i.e. the cheaper section) was warmly-lit and all relaxed and dark wood. Dawn and I shared a bottle of Italian red wine (despite thinking we were ordering rose!).
I’ve been lucky enough to visit my fair share of fancy-pants restaurants over the last couple of years, so when I ordered ‘the lightest potato gnocchi’ to start, followed by an Angus rib-eye, I was expecting to need a magnifying glass to find the food on my plate.
Not so. The gnocchi was pretty much full size, and the steak was almost the size of the dinner plate. I’m no food writer, so I’ll just say that both were terrific but I was completely stuffed. So stuffed, in fact, that we couldn’t even order dessert to eat at the restaurant. We took one of the famous Fifteen brownies back to the hostel to share.
A little part of me was hoping we’d see Jamie at the restaurant, no matter how unlikely (hey! I saw Tetsuya at Tetsuya’s!), but the only glimpse I got was in photographs lining the wall leading to the toilets.
The total bill, including the service charge, came to just over 100GBP for two. Not a cheap night out by any means, but after having had Ben & Jerry’s for dinner several evenings while I was in the US, I felt it well worth the splurge.
You can see more photos from my travels in London on my RTW Travel Photography site.