[box_alert]Fifteen Melbourne has closed[/box_alert]
Fifteen Melbourne. It’s the restaurant from TV. It’s Jamie Oliver’s. There’s definitely a novelty factor to dining at Fifteen -which explains the set-up of a reservation line and the long waiting list! Two months ago, when Zen and I were planning our next trip down to Melbourne, I persuaded him to make a booking for dinner. And so here we are. It wasn’t dinner… but we felt pretty lucky to have scored a table for six for lunch (considering that the weekend coincided with the F1 Grand Prix and the FINA World Championship). Melbourne was busy.
Sole Sparkling Water
The interior of the restaurant was funky. Glass pots of herbs hung from the ceiling… there were graffiti feature walls, giant mirrors with elegant detailed frames, and the garden-inspired bathrooms even provided Aesop hand wash and cream. I was impressed.
Light rye with Fifteen olive oil and sea salt flakes
The olive oil was gorgeous… I have such a weakness for good olive oil and sea salt… yummo!
Scallop crudo, pomegranate, coriander cress, fried ginger, coconut and yuzu lime… the scallops were so light and indulgent…
Risotto with Italian sausage and a crispy fennel salad
Roasted Berkshire pork with fennel seed and rosemary, cavalo nero, Mount Zero lentils, jus and salsa verde
The rump was served on a timber chopping board… classic Jamie Oliver style. This was probably the best main anyone on our table had ordered. Obviously, I had to do a bit of taste testing! It was divine 🙂
Grilled Bacchus Marsh rump (medium rare) with rosemary potatoes, squash, large leaf rocket and swiss chard
My main dish was the quail. And unfortunately, was slightly disappointing. The red grape was an interesting incorporation but overall, nothing spectacular.
Pan roasted quail, potatoes, pancetta and Jerusalem artichoke terrine with red grape and tarragon jus
Blueberry almond tart, creme fraiche
The mint ice-cream was refreshing and totally complemented the peach which was bathed in wine. The frosted almonds led me to reminisce of the kind you would normally get from the corner milk bar; except this was twice as good.
Prosecco poached peach with frosted almond and mint icecream
In the end, the food was pretty good but our table paid $50 for 5 bottles of sparkling water. Yes… pricey indeed.
And in case you weren’t sure what Fifteen was all about? Here’s something I took away with me:
Fifteen facts about Fifteen
- Jamie Oliver set up ‘Fifteen’ in London after a mate told him about how cooking had a positive impact on a group of young people from tough backgrounds she was working with.
- It’s called ‘Fifteen’ because the first group in London were 15 young people.
- Even through it’s called ‘Fifteen’ we now take 20 trainees into the restaurant.
- Even though Jamie set it up, he doesn’t fund it -we have to raise the money here in Australia to make it happen.
- ‘Fifteen’ is made up of two organisations that work together to support the young people, offer them training opportunities and work with our generous sponsors and donors.
- The fifteen Foundation -the charitable, youth support bit.
- Fifteen Melbourne -the restaurant is a proper business, with a twist.
- Fifteen Melbourne gives 30% of its profit back to the Foundation in Australia and up to 3% of its total turnover to the UK foundation.
- However, that’s not enough to cover all costs of getting these young people through the 16-month program, so we look for sponsorship, donations and grants to cover the rest.
- This is the first ‘Fifteen’ in the ever growing family to be set up outside Europe.
- There are ‘Fifteens’ in London, Cornwall and Amsterdam.
- A new group of young people are recruited each year.
- ‘Fifteen trainees in Australia have the chance to complete the first year of their apprenticeship in the Fifteen Melbourne kitchen.
- ‘Fifteen’ makes sure that if they graduate they get placements to complete their apprenticeships in other top restaurants around Melbourne. But it doesn’t end there…
- ‘Fifteen’ trainees remain a part of the ‘Fifteen’ family even after they leave -they’re always welcome back and we’ll always be there to support them if they need us.
So just to be clear…
This is about more than just cooking. ‘Fifteen’ is about giving troubled young people the chance to get out of the rut they’re in and break the cycles that are holding them back, and to show the world how amazing they can be!
OK, I’m drawn in. Dining here again will be my charitable thing for the year.
Fifteen Melbourne Restaurant
Australian Callers: 1300 799 415
International Callers: 0061 3 8648 6000
Basement, 115 – 117 Collins Street
(Enter through Georges Parade)