A no-bookings diner from Jamie Oliver, this 'extended pop-up' is running on a three year-lease (which started in 2013).
Oh no, Saint Jamie. You haven’t... Oh yes, he has. Oliver has become the latest restaurateur to join the 2012 bandwagon – sorry, dining trend – that was US ‘dude food’. But before you stick the knife in, remember that this is a natural progression for the slayer of the turkey twizzler. He’s spent a huge amount of time Stateside, educating Yanks on matters of cooking and whatnot, and co-owns US-style grill Barbecoa with barbecue maestro Adam Perry Lang. If anything, why didn’t Oliver join the party sooner?
Running on a three year-lease, this no-bookings newcomer stretches the definition of ‘pop-up’. But it’s on-brand Oliver: free-range meat (‘because happy pigs mean better flavour’) and a 0% landfill promise, meaning that leftovers are composted, recycled or upcycled. The interior mixes reclaimed and recycled furnishings, finishing the wholesome vibe off with a U-rated 50s soundtrack and dinosaur theme (complete with full-scale models).
Within pick-pocketing distance of Piccadilly Circus, it’s squarely pitched at out-of-towners and families, yet in spite of the ‘easy audience’, it has resisted the urge to cut corners in the kitchen. We enjoyed our beef burger, with its proper patty (thick, nicely-charred outer, lipstick pink middle), toasted sesame bun, and old-school trimmings (a light burger sauce and shredded lettuce). Next up, though the tangy mustard marinade of the ‘dirty’ barbecue ribs wasn’t to our taste, the fall-off-the-bone meat was good quality. By comparison, a dull slice of NY cheesecake was a let-down. But ultimately, this is a cheery, people-pleasing place brought to you by a cheery, people-pleasing chap.