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After visiting Stanfords the map-seller (see earlier post) on Long Acre in Covent Garden, we wandered into the covered market looking for a brunch place. When I was living in London many years ago, I would not have coming to such a touristy location for a meal.

But somehow, this time as a visitor, we were happy to give this fresh-looking place a try. Part of the reason was that the market had not yet gotten crowded and the whole place was bathed in cheery sunlight. The glass perimeter around the restaurant really worked well.

We know of Jamie Oliver but not Chris Biano (he is apparently a well-regarded Pizza chef from the US, Zagat gave his pizzeria in Phoenix, Arizona a score of 29/30). Also, little did we know that this Union Jacks restaurant – apparently is Jamie’s fourth in a chain – and it started only in July.

We circled the place before it opened. The staff was having their brunch and a briefing. Shortly thereafter, the whole place was buzzing with activity as it was getting ready to open.

What really sold us wasn’t the ambiance of the covered market but the menu which is online here at Jamie Oliver’s web site.

The menu emphasizes “Proud British Flavours”. We ordered a bunch of these so-called British Tapas – “By-catch Fish Fingers & Tartare sauce” above, and “Garlic Mushroom & Mayonaise” below – both very tasty.

“Roasted baby beets, Westcombe curd and smoked seeds” – Sue’s fav.

“Heritage tomatoes, shallot, tarragon & apple balsamic dressing” – rather ordinary tasting.

This is my (Chris) favourite – “Bloody Mary Welsh mussels”

A bit of British humor awaiting the nosy customer – “Stop looking at my bottom” – we do not normally look but I cannot remember what caused us to flip the plate over.

Potatoes with thyme – not on the menu but we saw them making it – so we ordered a plate.

Wood-grilled Pizza “Red Ox” which contains oxtail & brisket, slow braised in Worcestershire sauce, Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, watercress & fresh horseradish – and no tomato sauce ! Sue did not like it but I thought it was a novel and tasty idea.

The place must be really chilly in winter for them to install this heating system – it is definitely much better than heat lamps.

Overall, we thought every thing was flavorful without being salty. Some dishes worked better than others. It was perfect for what we were looking for on that day.

When we left the restaurant, there was a short line of people waiting for a table. A busker got a crowd going nearby – so we stopped for a bit of street entertainment before setting off in search of a cafe.

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One Comment

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