13 Westland Pl
London, N1 7LP
Tel: 020 72513909
Date of Last Visit: Sunday, November 11, 2007
The Victims: Gerry, Ben, Anne-Helene
The Damage: £50ish per person?
The Story: So for all you stalkers out there, I live really close to Fifteen. But although I've lived really close for quite some time, I've never been. Until last Sunday.
And now Jamie Oliver's got me forever.
You see, nearly everything was perfect during our meal, and I can only hope to capture all the particulars correctly.
The Entrance: I arrive precisely on time. My internal clock continues to astound me. I want to know more about the genes that control one's understanding of time. Mine can be frightening. (And equally, really annoying. I do not suffer lateness gladly. But does anyone?) They take us to our table…we're eating in the more formal downstairs, as opposed to the informal trattoria on the ground floor.
The Service: They wisk away our coats, gladly. They bring us tap water–a big jug of tap water–and continue to fill up our glasses consistently throughout the meal. I love them. Our server says something like, "Take a look at the Drinks menu and if you don't see something you want on there, let me know. I'm sure we can find something for you." I order a Buck's Fizz (Mimosa, in American) and am very happy…the orange juice is super-freshly squeezed.
The Starters: Mine is Devonshire crab on polenta with chillis. It's delicious. It's really one of the nicest things I've had as of late. It's beautifully presented, and well, I'm a sucker for polenta. (Corn just sounds so much better when it's made into polenta, doesn't it?) No, I haven't finished that book about corn in America yet.
The Ladies: Has a Dyson Airblade! It's the first one I've seen in a restaurant. I've seen one in the Islington Design Center, but nowhere else. It's fantastic. I want to wash my hands 12 times, just to use it. There's also a nice smelly candle in there. It's a nice loo.
More About The Service: We are with Anne-Helene, who is French. We tell our server we'd like something white and crisp and more mineral-y than anything else. She thinks about it and gives us a recommendation. We says sure, sign us up. She leaves. She comes back minutes later and says something like, "You know, I was thinking about your request in the kitchen and I realized we hadn't discussed the Sancerre. I think you'll really like that." She goes on to tell us more about the Sancerre and why it's right for us. We're hooked, again. I appreciated the fact that she had walked away from the table but continued to think about us. Anne-Helene approves, too. She would, of course.
The Mains: I go for something simple…just a pasta bolognese. Maybe I should have tried something more exciting. I, of all people, know that this is a high margin dish. But this dish delivers, twenty times over. It's not super-sophisticated or anything like that. It's just perfect on a Sunday afternoon when you haven't had breakfast. The pasta is perfectly al-dente, the sauce is amazingly flavorful. I am very happy.
The beauty queen of the table, however, is Ben's seafood stew (pictured). Now that was a gorgeous-looking dish. (Although I think that it was perhaps lacking in substance…i.e., it wasn't a very filling dish, gorgeous though it was.)
The Verdict: Yes. Very much so. Am already planning on bringing Aunt Ursula and Uncle George here when they come visit me in April of 2008!