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Sep 19, 2006 05:41 PM

Have you tried these restaurants in London

Has anyone been to either St. John's or Jamie Oliver's Fifteen?

A recommendation for anyone who likes real English cider: Chimes, in Pimlico. They serve a variety of real cider, and their menu has a lot of traditional pies. Very pleasant.

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  1. I'm a St John devotee, I absolutely love it, though I tend to go to Bread and Wine in Spitalfields rather than to the main Clerkenwell restaurant. I do think it's best to go early though, as they tend to run out of the nicest (and warm) things rather quickly and you end up eating cold chitterlings and trying to ignore it when the valves hook over the end of your tongue. I'm afraid I haven't been to Fifteen, any praise I have heard has been lukewarm at best and anywhere that serves baked beans after midday and in no proximity to bacon is slightly suspect in my book.

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    1. re: BritishNancy

      St John is remarkable. But the severe scene — no ornamentation, lots of noise etc. — reminds me of some modern liturgical drama, and made me wish for rugs and curtains and a bit of frivolity as well. I have found I had to restrain my wish to investigate the most extreme offal-experience _ that's what St John is touted for — because I left with a heavy body feeling, not a pleasant, balanced one.

    2. not a fan of st. johns. over-hyped beyond belief.

      firstly, i like vegetables. secondly, the kind of stuff st. johns makes has to be done impeccably. no use ordering cows udder or sauteed squirrel livers unless they're perfectly made, otherwise you get something that tastes of cows udder or squirrels liver.

      1. I made the mistake of going to Fifteen about six months ago. I live very near to it. I went there the night after dining at The Princess, a nearby gastro-pub and the memory of our meal at the Princess was very fresh in my mind. It had been an excellent meal and excellent value, served with real charm.

        Anyway, back to Fifteen. We were seated next to a table of Oliver devotees who had traveled all the way from Middletown in Upstate New York just for the experience. They were each clutching 'Jamie' merchandise, in the belief that L'Oliver might be there and do the autograph thing. Guess what? He wasn't!

        I remember ordering scallops and being disgusted that the kitchen practiced that very dishonest trick of slicing them in half horizontally in order to make a fool think they had more scollop on their plate. Something we in the East End call a 'Mugs Eye Full'. That kind of set the tone for the whole meal.

        The meal was horrible and horribly expensive. On the way out we were asked whether we had enjoyed our meal.........

        1. Don't go to Fifteen under any conditions!!!! The food was awful and way overpriced. Anyone can cook what this restaurant makes using a very basic introductory cookbook. For the amount of money that Fifteen charges you can go to an interesting restaurant like Tom Aikens or Pied a Terre.

          1. I would strongly recommend St John or its sister restaurant, St John Bread & Wine, for anyone with an interest in food visiting London. No question that the food is consistently great, and comes close to being unique.

            Fifteen, on the other hand, is average in every way except its prices.