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Restaurant review: Union Jacks

Local boy done good, Jamie Oliver, returns to his British roots with this hip new diner

Posted: 1 May 2012
by Catherine O'Dolan

How fitting in the year that exults everything British in a big way, the man who brought us Jamie’s Italian should now go all patriotic and introduce a new venture called Union Jacks.

The cheery informal diner, with kitsch decor that harks back to a heyday era, is set in the new food piazza just off Tottenham Court Road. There are mismatched wooden chairs (which leads one of the boys to complain he doesn’t have a spongy seat) and crockery that looks like it came from a school staff room: turn over a plate and the underside cheekily proclaims “Stop looking at my bottom.”

The culinary offering celebrates the best of British – with a twist. They call it “where wood-fired flatbreads meet great British flavours,” which translates to delicious pizzas with quintessentially British tastes like Westcombe Cheddar, Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Welsh Cockles, Oxtail and Brisket in Worcestershire Sauce. An interesting concept and quite daring, too, since Italian pizzas go down so well. 

While we enjoyed starters of Potted Prawns, Morecambe Bay Shrimps & Devonshire Crab (that arrived in a cute little lidded pot, shaken at our table) and a Chicken Liver Pâté, Pickled Onion & Parsley Salad, Joe and Noah, both six, shared a Margaret, the playful version of a Margarita that substitutes mozzarella for Lincolnshire Poacher cheese. We also tried a Woodman flatbread (with field and wild mushrooms, Cheddar, and pickled red onion) and a Chilli Freak, showcasing six types of chilli with tomatoes, rocket, mint and lemon – all washed down with wine from Chapel Down Winery in Kent.

And in keeping with Jamie’s cheeky chappie reputation, the staff are friendly. We couldn’t wait to sample the unusual homemade ice creams at £1.50 a scoop (60p for children): Marathon/Snickers Bar, Earl Grey Tea & Biscuits; Sticky Toffee Pudding; and Bramble Ripple Eton Mess. And, for a blast from the past, Retro Arctic Roll. How could you not? 

Union Jacks, 4 Central Street, St Giles Piazza, London WC2H 8AB. Tel: 020 3597 7888

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