Saturday, 21 June 2014

Jamie's / London Wall

Who are they?

Jamie Oliver is a household name in the UK, where his numerous TV appearances have spawned books, advertising, product endorsements and several lines of restaurants. Simply entitled Jamie's, these outlets are kitted out more as bars than eateries but are more than capable of offering bar style food and meals that do as a decent alternative for a lunch. Luckily I happen to have one example of these restaurants only a stone's throw from where I work, meaning that it was more a question of when I would get round to eating there than a case of if. Can Jamie's put its money where its annoying cockney mouth is and deliver?


Turning up at Jamie's for a lunch menu is an interesting experience and it's mostly empty establishment is in stark contrast to the Pizza Express opposite, which almost always seems to be full at lunch time. Needless to say, finding a seat is hardly a taxing affair and it at least affords a diner some attentive service (anything to keep 'em busy!). Actually this speedy service is something I prefer in a place for a lunch visit as there's not much time between arriving and departing before it's back to work!

The burger itself is a slice of familiar territory - a brioche bun encased a fairly substantial beef patty covered in a thin layer of cheese and accompanied by solitary lettuce leaf and generous slice of tomato. As is the norm for London burgers, this comes with a couple of gherkin slices to cleanse the palette and a rather large portion of chips and onion rings - certainly a decent sized meal for a rare sit down lunch.

However, as I have come to understand better than most from the rigors of burger writing that looks can be deceiving. The brioche bun positively deflated on some moderate handling, whilst the burger itself didn't really seem to be anything more than the sum of its component parts. Yes, there is some pretty good meat going into that burger and certainly worthy to be served in the , but it didn't seem to receive the required support from its fellow ingredients - certainly the salad and catering grade chips don't deserve much praise beyond their inclusion and quantity and the cheese in particular was sometimes inconspicuous in the mix of flavours in a bite.

When I went to Jamie's I expected something a bit more...well, something a bit special that would set it apart from the competition in the same way that his Barbecoa or Italian chains also do. To get a burger that was more of less on par with any other decent (ie: non Wetherspoons) pub should not have been much of a surprise. Perhaps in promoting simple yet gourmet food to the masses, Jamie's perhaps have been erring on the side of "simple".


Ultimately, what do you want from a bar menu? Fast service, check. Decent enough fare, check. Not too pricy, check. As with most things you can do a lot worse in terms of burgers and for a snappy lunch meal it's not a bad option and it certainly won't put me off going there or Jamie Oliver's other chains. In particular, I'm keen to see how the signture Italian Burger squares off against Prezzo.



Where can I find them?
Located above the London Wall road in the city

A million outlets all over the yours.