11 Upper St Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9FB
- Recommended for:
- Backpackers / Students, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, First-time travellers, Stag / hen parties, Nightlife, People watching, Shopping
Expert review of Jamie's Italian
The best thing about Jamie Oliver’s first restaurant, the social enterprise Fifteen, is the pasta dishes, so this slightly cheaper, family-friendly chain is a logical and rather handy progression.
The dishes have all the exuberance of his best-selling cookbooks but some of the pitfalls of mass catering – things like skin forming on the butter sauces, strands of pasta sticking together in rope-like fashion, and so on. But there’s much to like: Jamie Oliver is a master at improving Italian cuisine, taking classic bold flavours and combining them in ways that seem fresh – witness ‘posh chips’ sprinkled with parmesan and truffle oil.
The cavernous space is divided into several eating areas, some with retro and contemporary chandeliers adding a night-owl vibe, others more utilitarian. You’ll see plenty of food on display, from canned tomatoes to trendy fresh veg, and blackboards highlighting daily specials.
As you might expect, is of the chummy “Hi guys” variety but not over-familiar, and quite efficient. The problem is the wait for tables – it’s nice not to have to book, but when you’re queuing in a busy bar you kind of wish you could (and if there’s six to 14 of you planning to dine together, you can).
A shiny new development on the edge of Covent Garden.
If you’re the kind of person who just doesn’t want to pay a tenner for a plate of pasta, best avoid. Other main courses are £10.95-£16.45, so while it’s Jamie Oliver’s cheaper option, it isn’t cheap. You could keep costs down by skipping the side dishes (a tiny plate of pumpkin and burrata is £5.95).
The chain is expanding quickly and you’ll find outlets in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Canary Wharf and Kingston, as well as other UK cities – see website for details. You’ll also find details there of the original Fifteen outlet and his new meat restaurant-plus-butcher Barbecoa, which has been receiving lukewarm reviews despite its appealing ethos and sensational location.
More information on Jamie's Italian:
- Price guide:
- Bar, Brasserie, Restaurant
- Italian, Modern
- 11 Upper St Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9FB
- 020 3326 6390
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Sat noon-11.30pm, Sun noon-10.30pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Not possible
- Free tags / Keywords:
- celebrity chef, tv chefs