Love him or hate him, Jamie Oliver is a man with plans. From changing school meal legislation to creating a massive dinosaur for a restaurant stairway, the guy never sits still.
When I was 23 we went to Jamie's Fifteen restaurant in London, and I became a lifelong fan of his work. Barbecoa (his venture with Adam Perry Lang) is another of my favourite restaurants ever. Granted, I've heard mixed reviews of Jamie's Italian, but I have never been myself.
I'm a fan. He got a generation of young folk cooking from scratch, which can only be a good thing. My friends Mrs Petticoat and FoodGeekUK and I were all influenced by his cookery shows and books, and now we regularly visit his restaurants.
I couldn't resist trying Jamie Oliver's Diner. Apparently it's a short term pop up, but a hell of a lot of effort has gone into the decor for something that will only be there a few months. There are two sides to the restaurant; a downstairs takeaway (complete with Vegas style glitz) and the restaurant which is upstairs.
The menu is packed with barbecue favourites, such as meat from the grill, hotdogs and burgers. My sort of establishment really! They make their own burgers, dry age all the steaks by hand and even compost leftovers. They even make their own dandelion and burdock - although it arrived looking pink rather than the deep brown I am used to.
Since we had only eaten breakfast three hours before, we decided to share a starter. We picked the sticky chilli chicken wings in barbecue sauce. These were huge! No skinny cuts of chicken here. They were some big birds.
Patty & Bun later that day, and thought two burgers in one day was excessive... Anyway, moving swiftly on... He had the meatballs. Again, massive! The meat was juicy and well seasoned, and there was a perfect ratio of pasta to sauce.
I've read the review which everyone tells me about. I've seen the pictures and whilst Jamie has made a name for himself telling kids to eat better, I am going to add my own perspective. This is not fact, just my opinion. Yes, children need to eat a healthy balanced diet, however I suggest that he does not intend for the nation's children to eat at his diner every day. As with adults, establishments like Jamie Oliver's Diner are intended to be a treat. What goes into the food is of good quality, and there wasn't a turkey twizzler in sight.
In terms of the quality of the food? I really could not complain. Perhaps the food wasn't great when they first opened, but I would hope that the critics would want their feedback to be taken on board, and mistakes rectified. I saw nothing to complain about, in fact we had a really nice time and enjoyed all the food. Is it groundbreaking? No. Would I go back? Definitely, although this depends on wether it really is a pop up or not...
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