Oliver’s twist…..on Italian!

honeycombcanelloniXxJamie Oliver’s Italian. So you take a trip to Oxford and wander for a few hours around the beautiful grounds of its prestigious University.  Downtown, you’ll find George street chock full of restaurants and of course Jamie Oliver’s is one of them. No choices need to be made, it’s a given that this guy’s food is bound to be good so off we went to Jamie’s Italian.

High ceilings and rustic brick walls surround a maze of “farmhouse” looking wooden tables that are, of course, packed to the max! We waited a  bit for one to open and soon enough we were granted access to the upstairs area. Right away,  we were seated by a  friendly tie-wearing waitress who explained Oliver’s concept of focusing mainly on fresh locally grown food.

arancinixThe menu was rather large featuring Italian classics but also a lot of interesting sides  served in Oliver’s famous fashion: bold and inventive.  For instance, as an appetizer we ordered the  crispy arancini: risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella and sweet red chillies served over  arrabbiata sauce and Parmesan for £4.95.  Crispy on the outside and bursting with  spicy flavor inside.  For the main course, we had the  honeycomb canelloni 3 ways: aubergine & sundried tomato, pumpkin and ricotta with spinach.  Creamy fillings inside several upright pasta tubes nestled in the shape of a honeycomb with cheesy edges  over  a rich béchamel and tomato sauce for £10.95.

polentachipsxAs a side, I had to try the famous polenta chips with rosemary salt and Parmesan.  Large chunks of polenta crunchy on the outside yet very tender inside, absolutely delightful £3.45.  On the other hand,   the baked chestnut and mushrooms on “music” bread for £5.25, made with smoked mozzarella, was a little disappointing simply because the chestnuts were nowhere to be tasted. The penne carbonara was a nice surprise looking as  good as it tasted. Served with crispy pancetta and wilted leeks with a lemon cream Parmesan sauce, zesty and silky for £10.75.

The wine list consisted mostly of Italian reds and whites, as well as a few Spumantis.  The house wine –Jamie’s Italian wines– are  made with grapes from Sicily and are delivered in eco-friendly Tetra Paks that are decanted at the time of serving. The  Bianco offers a hint of peach, the Rosso a touch of plum and cherry  and the Rossato traces of raspberry and strawberry.  All nicely priced between £4.90 a glass and £17.95 for a bottle.

Another trademark at Oliver’s restaurants are his creative cocktails like the expresso martini, a mix of vodka, Kahlua and expresso for £7.25 or the Rossini made with prosecco and red berry purée for £6.60.  For dessert, the homemade yogurt ice-cream, made with seasonal fruit, was light and refreshing for  £4.90.  The autumn rippled Pavlova  served with cream , limoncello soaked fruit and hazelnut praline for £4.95 was way more creative and, of course, a nice  end to our  delicious” Oliver Twisted” meal.

macaronix

 

Jamie’s Italian Oxford

24-26 George Street

Oxford

OX1 2AE

Tel 01865 83 83 83

Hours of operation

Mon-Sat

12 noon to 11pm

Sunday

12 noon to 10:30 pm

 

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s Recipease – London, England

recipease3Lots of things to do in England’s capital city but if you ever need a break from the usual sightseeing, palace trekking or pub hopping and would like a great meal in a  fun and relaxing place, I suggest you stop and think Jamie Oliver, a brilliant young chef who has taken the world by storm with his innovative approach to cooking healthy meals.

Recipease is an absolutely delightful eatery right  in the heart of London’s Notting Hill neighborhood.  From the outside, it may look like a shop that sells  a fine assortment of kitchen gadgets and gourmet food, but in the center stands a large table where cooking classes are given all day long. Oliver’s fans wear long aprons while they work diligently on their dish taking in all the techniques that are taught in a casual and entertaining way. Lessons offered to adults and children cover different cuisines that include Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Mexican and Italian. Fees range between £15.00 and £50.00 per lesson. 

recipeaseUpstairs, you’ll find another cooking station surrounded by comfy seating and dining tables where you can  try some of the great items on the menu like the oven roasted lamb wrap for £8.95: a soft tortilla covered with tender shredded lamb, homemade hummus, chilli, garlic, mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, pomegranate seeds & fresh mint, all in a creamy mint& yogurt dressing. Meaty and crunchy, simply divine! 

Other choices include the £6.95 mini burger on the children’s menu that was anything but mini, moist and delicious.  A favorite was the three hour roasted pork belly sandwich for £6.95,  both juicy and crispy served with apple sauce and lettuce on a ciabatta roll. A nice wine list displayed a good assortment of mostly Italian reds and whites, between £3.95 and £11.99 a glass. Also, cocktails served over ice in jam jars included a £6.50 daring pisco sour made with pineapple juice and the signature Recipease gin drink made with elderflower, lemon and mint for £7.00

recipease2 Price Range: £4.00 to £12.00

RECIPEASE

92-94 Notting Hill Gate W11 3QB

Opening hours Mon – Sat   8am – 9pm

Sunday   9am – 9pm

See more at: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipease