Two years ago, I never even heard his name. Nowadays, after a nice introduction by my girlfriend Andrea, I cook by his books and watch his TV shows regularly: Jamie Oliver. One of his series (Jamie’s Kitchen) was about him grabbing fifteen underprivileged kids, giving them a complete chef education whilst building up the restaurant they would be working in. That met into the Cheeky Chops Charity and the Fifteen Restaurant we wanted to have lunch at.

As the tube strike was still on, we had to get there by bus. I wish I had had this nice, free Metro PDA application, that knows all public transport connections I many major cities around the world, then – that would have made it all a lot easier. However, after browsing the available maps and timetables we finally got to Old Street Station. “Right up the road and then right at Westland Place.”, where the directions I got from the reservations agent on the phone. Well, Old Street Station is at some big T-crossing, so we were not quite sure which street to walk down. We started to ask passers-by. I thought everyone would know this famous restaurant – big mistake! It took us half an hour to find someone who could give us decent directions and to finally reach the restaurant.

The restaurant itself was worth a closer look: The ground floor is taken up by the “Fifteen Trattoria” – a relaxed place to meet and eat without all the usual hassle you have in those “famous” restaurants. You can get breakfast from 8.30am to 11.00am or have lunch from 12 to 3pm. It’s also “affordable” with pasta starting at £7 and main courses starting at £14. Yep – in London one Pound is worth the same one Euro is elsewhere.

Fifteen InteriorDownstairs is the actual “Fifteen Restaurant” – a very stylish place in some retro-space-mix design. A very cool pink airbrush painting decorates the main wall right to the open kitchen. Also all the sofas are made of pink leather, whereas the tables are dark wooden and the chairs are those magic white s-shaped Philippe Stark 70s plastic ones. It definitely has it’s very own style – like it or not.

We had some very good lunch starting with some fresh made bread with very good olive oil. After that we had some very good fish served, accompanied by some red wine. On the finishing line a great vanilla and grappa panna cotta was served as a majestic finish. All-in-all the food was from very-good to high-end and the services was extraordinary – that’s very well worth another visit!

London on Tube Strike

Stansted is as far away from London as Lübeck is from Hamburg. It’s a shame that it’s called London-Stansted as you might think it’s just another airport near London. Instead you have to take a bus or the Stansted Express to London. That’ll add another £24 for an open return ticket (valid for one month to London and back to Stansted, can also be bought during the flight for £22) or £13.90 for a cheap day return ticket (valid only one day) for the Stansted Express to your fare. The guy selling me the tickets was nice enough to sell me the open return ticket instead of the cheap day return ticket, thus doubling the price on my credit-card bill. So watch out what they’re doing when you buy your tickets.

London Liverpool StationWe arrived at Liverpool Street Station at 12 o’clock. I reserved a table for lunch at the Fifteen for 2 o’clock. The Fifteen is located near Old Street Station, just two stations away from Liverpool Street Station, so we had plenty of time and decided to head right south to the River Thames and the London Tower. Just then, we heard the bad news: No tube today. The whole tube staff was on strike the one day we where in London. Thanks a lot guys!

Tower Bridge
Nevertheless we headed south by feet and had a very nice walk through the city to the London Tower and the Tower Bridge. I really like the bridge’s architecture and it’s impressive bascule mechanism. If you ever spend some time in London, you should take the guided tour and view it.

Have lunch at the Fifteen…