Recipease, Notting Hill

Recipease, Jamie Oliver, Notting Hill

There is so much choice in London for eating out – so many fabulous independent restaurants and hidden gems to choose from, and I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to try, and to be invited to, some really incredible places.

Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting Hill

I’ve never reviewed an establishment negatively before, but after my recent meal at Jamie Oliver’s Recipease in Notting Hill, I wanted to give an honest account of my time there.

The venue itself is light, spacious, and conveniently located a stones’ throw away from the hustle and bustle of Portobello Road. Recipease is a shop, cafe and a cookery school, part of Jamie Oliver’s chain of restaurants. I’ve been to several Jamie Oliver establishments, and although it’s never earth-shattering, on the whole they’ve been reliable and enjoyable dining experiences.

Flowers, Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting Hill

So last Sunday afternoon, when we were looking for a quick bite, we popped into Recipease. Considering that Recipease is part of a large, well-established brand, the cafe was ridiculously understaffed. Despite several empty tables and benches, we were made to stand around for a good long while as the only two waitresses dashed around, clearly completely overwhelmed. For Sunday lunchtime, in my opinion this could have so easily be avoided.

The service was slow and unprofessional, requests for additional cutlery and condiments had to be repeated multiple times, although I did feel this was down to mismanagement, and not the wait staff themselves.

Guacamole with Tortilla Chips, Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting Hill

As a starter, I ordered the spicy smashed guacamole on homemade toasted Recipease tortilla chips. What arrived was a tasteless, texture-less avocado mush on a burnt chip. In my opinion, guacamole needs to be chunky, and full of flavour, enhanced by the taste of lemons, chillies and other spices. The offering at Recipease seemed to have no flavour, and was the texture of baby food – devoid of any joy. Although presented nicely, the burnt chips showed a lack of attention to detail, and was a really disappointing start to the meal.

Guacamole and Tortilla Chips, Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting Hill
Seabass with tomatos, olive and spinach, Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting Hill

The main, a pan-fried fillet of seabass with baby potatoes and a tomato, red pepper and olive sauce, is the only reason this review got the (spoiler alert!) two and a half stars it did. A simple and uncomplicated dish, it was executed well.

Seabass with Tomato, Olives and Spinach, Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting HillSeabass with tomatos, olive and spinach, Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting Hill

Unfortunately, this was followed by an incredibly tepid latte – after such a disappointing experience, we didn’t stay for dessert.

Coffees. Jamie Oliver Recipease, Notting Hill

It’s hard to say whether or not I got there on a bad day, or whether, like many chains, Recipease is simply riding on the reputation of the brand without providing quality service. If anything, it’s another argument in favour of patronising more independents.

What’s your opinion? Are you in favour of the big restaurant chains?

Recipease can be found at 92-94 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3QB.

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

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  • themayfairy

    I’m not really a chain girl, myself, but you do find yourself in one occasionally and you should still be able to expect to get value for your money! Always appreciate an honest review. I know it can be hard to write something negative sometimes, but platitudes help no one. Hopefully they sort out the kinks in this place!

    • erin.niimi

      Thanks, Frankie! I’m not either, generally – took a risk and unfortunately it didn’t pay off! With so many great, unusual little places in London it’s such a shame that these massive chains get so much business really. Hopefully there’s something constructive to have come out of this x

  • It’s a shame you didn’t have a good experience as the sea bass seemed quite nice x
    http://www.lilinhaangel.com

    • erin.niimi

      The sea bass was good – it is really unfortunate the service and the experience left a lot to be desired, and I’ve never written a negative review before – but there you go! Xx

  • LondonKiwiEmma

    It’s always disappointing when your lunch doesn’t pan out and seems more so when it’s a chain like this – they should have it sorted (and sorry for the bad, unintended pun earlier). You gotta be honest!

    • erin.niimi

      Haha! That’s hilarious, Emma. I love food-puns – never feel the need to apologise for those with me! I definitely think it’s better to be honest about these things – especially when there is so much to choose from in London! X

  • Michelle Murray

    aww its shame you didn’t really enjoy it.

    • erin.niimi

      Thanks Michelle – it is a shame, but always good to write up, especially if it saves someone else from having a bad experience too! X

  • luxurycolumnist

    Not what you’d expect at a place that’s also a cookery school

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • erin.niimi

      Definitely, Suze! Although if the students made the food that could explain why it was burnt…x