Review of 'Union Jacks (NOW CLOSED)'

There have been rumours about this new restaurant from Jamie Oliver and the famous American chef Chris Bianco. Living near Chiswick we are waiting for the upcoming opening of our local branch but I wanted to see the original restaurant and see what it was all about.

I roughly knew where it was - In a new development of office buildings very close to Centrepoint between Tottenham Court Road tube and Shaftsbury Road). Though it was a windy night we managed to find it tucked away on the ground floor of one of the towers. The interior is funky with (intentionally) mis-matched American-style diner chairs and simple tables. The menu is on peg board above the serving areas but the menus are again faux-American diner complete with cigarette burns! It is a light, airy interior and the staff we found very friendly and welcoming.

The menu is quite simple with “Starters” (simple, typical Jamie-style fare including Potted Prawns £5.50, and Chicken Liver Pate £4.50), “Flats” (very authentic, delicious pizza, cooked in their own wood-fired brick ovens ranging between £7 for the basic “Margaret” to the “Old Spot” with roast shoulder of pig for £12.50), “Salad Plates” (£3/£6), and traditional desserts. Everything is sourced locally and prepared with care and attention to detail and, most of all, flavour.

Being, basically, non drinkers we were pleased to see several non-alcoholic drinks on the menu so we stuck with the “Pink Cola” which was a ginger-infused bubbly pink concoction that was sweat but very tasty. The alcoholic drinks menu is not very large but serving both American and British diner-style drinks.

Pouring over the menu we decided to share a starter of “By-catch Fish Fingers and Tartare Sauce” (£5) which was absolutely fantastic - Don't let “fish fingers” turn you off, this dish containing of what would normally be thrown back by fisherman consisted of a number of delicately breaded fingers of fantastically fresh fish with home-made tartare sauce that was almost like butter - Delicious.

Our waitress was very friendly and spent a lot of time talking to us. When we first arrived she gave us the specials of the day and a number of other dishes that they have added but are not yet on the menu. The “Empire Chicken” appealed to me - Wonderfully charcoal-ly fresh chicken pieces with big chips and salad with the most divine dipping sauce (and salad dressing, truth be told). Our waitress indicated to us that she has had a number of compliments about this dish from other patrons (including some rather large tips in thanks). At £12.50 it was absolutely wonderful - Tender and delicious though it was really the chicken the star here served on a big wooden platter alongside the chips and salad - I can't say I was impressed with them. My companion had the “Woodman” pizza (Mixed field & wild mushrooms, Westcombe Cheddar, pickled red onion, tarragon & chervil, £11.50) which was very, very tasty. She was a bit worried about the mushrooms but they were subtle and wonderful.

We were full. But, our wonderful waitress convinced us to try some desert so we availed ourselves of their home-made ice cream (£1.50 a scoop), the two stand-out flavours being “Sticky Toffee” (very creamy) and “Marathon/Snickers Bar” (very much like the chocolate bars but not as all-encompassing, to me, as the Sticky Toffee). What with the toffee bar included in the ice cream serving we were happy.

At £50 for the two of us (including a good tip) we were very happy with this meal. We will definitely be back to try more from the menu, or, likely, from their expanding list of dishes off of the menu. We were told that they are constantly improving and tweaking things as they learn what people like. They are doing this very well.

We hope this does well - It was a bit disappointing to not see a lot of people there though it was a Monday…Hopefully word will catch on at how excellent and inexpensive this latest addition to the Oliver empire actually is. Looking forward to Chiswick!

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2012-03-05

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 4 Central St. Giles Piazza LONDON WC2H 8AB

Public Transport: TUBE Tottenham Court Road

Location: London (England) - Soho



Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 203 597 7888