Review of 'Jamie Oliver's Diner'

Perched on the first floor on Shaftesbury just down from Piccadilly Circus you may be forgiven for missing Jamie Oliver's Diner tucked out of the way as it is behind a souvenir shop and through a minimally marked doorway but you would be missing out…The “as if dinosaurs had never become exctinct” interior is quite kitch but a lot of fun (the dinosaur-inspired pastiche of “The Last Supper” near the kitchen particularly amusing). It is quite noisy with the background music all but lost in the din. This “pop-up” has the air of something quite temporary (indeed I am told they only have a two year lease the building is scheduled for redevelopment in a year or so) with some of the mix-matched booths made of particle board and looking quite uncomfortable. We were seated against one of the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over…the roof of a bus shelter and the aforementioned souvenir shop. Oh well. I was able to see the lights of the theatres up Shaftebury so it was not that bad…just don't look down.

The food. Well, the menu is “diner-style” (no surprise) but with all ingredients (it says) being organic, free-range and all of the other feel-good stuff. I also read all leftovers are recycled which is just as well to look at the portions as they arrive…There are burgers, ribs, chicken, etc, etc, etc.

For drinks we, quite boringly, had the “Cloudy Lemonade” (£3.50) which we have enjoyed at other Oliver restaurants and this did not fail to deliver - Quite tart but very refreshing in the somewhat warm and humid restaurant. We decided on a starter of “Pork Rib Fingers” (£6.50) which was a bit skimpy on any actual meat but heavy on the bones…Quite spicy what meat was there was quite tender and tasty.

For mains, I had the “Chicken Basket” (£16) which was at least half a marinated chicken served in a wire basket on top of a large portion of thin-cut chips with a small side pile of “rainbow slaw”. I found the chicken quite tasty and some portions were even quite dry. There were almost too many chips provided…and the cole slaw was quite tasty. My companion went off-menu and chose the “special of the day” which was “Turkey Schnitzel” (£16.50) that was served with “potato hash” with capers and brown butter. The turkey was quite tasty - Juicy and extremely buttery but to the point that it was too rich for the massive portion on the plate.

The staff, as you might expect, are quite efficient and friendly, willing to chat and explain the menu.

In summary, the visit was fairly disappointing after the excitement of what is written on the menu to what actually arrives on the plate. It just seems to come down to fairly bland food - Ok, it might be top notch ingredients it is flavour that really seems to be lacking. A total of £46 (without tip) for the two of us is fairly reasonable for the area.

Might want to come back to try some of the other items on the menu before the shop shuts down - The desserts look quite good but we were simply too full this time.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2014-09-20


Cuisine: American/British

Address: 19-23 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7EF

Public Transport: TUBE Piccadilly Circus

Location: London (England) - Piccadilly Circus

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Telephone: +44 (0) 203 697 4177

URL: http://www.jamieoliversdiner.com/