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…