We had dinner at Fifteen, which is a Jamie Oliver venture. Like the restaurant of the same name in London (to which I've yet to visit), the idea here is that they take a bunch of delinquent, criminal-minded, done-time-in-the-big-house kids and slap 'em around with a kitchen knife and an apron until they get their shit together. In theory, they either drop out and go back to stealing bags from little old ladies, or start to behave themselves and become good little citizens. Let's just say that this knowledge keeps you from pissing off the waiter.
The location is a waterfront converted warehouse, and I've been seeing more and more of these cropping up lately. It's a fun alternative to the standard restaurant location, but does require a taxi ride or intimate knowledge of the area to find it. At some point you usually wonder if the taxi driver is taking you to the docks to relieve you of your money and dump your lifeless body in the ocean, but inevitably you end up at a fantastic restaurant, lite only an expensive cab fare.
Fifteen sports a large bar, open kitchen and a terribly amusing bathroom sign (sorry no photo, but imaging your standard bathroom gender-notifier characters standing cross legged grabbing their crotch, and you get the idea). Graffiti on the corrugated steel walls lets you know you're not at Nobu, and the polished cement floor and 30 foot ceilings add to the warehouse feel. The service was superb, and everyone had a great time. The menu was prix fix; one just has to tell 'em if you don't or can't eat anything on the list, then just sit back and watch the food parade by.
Opening course was a smattering of nibbles, some of which were simply divine. The cheese bread, made with Manchego, I believe, was to die for, and everyone kept cutting the last piece in half again and again until only crumbs remained. The mozzarella and pesto was delicious, with a really high quality cheese. Beets with a light horse-radish cream sauce was very entertaining, and quite a unique but successful flavor.
Second course was a light pasta with a fish on it; OK but not remarkable. However the alternative dish was out of this world. A risotto, made with a 'stinky cheese', was utterly sublime. The stench of the cheese was overwhelming for many, but I usually love the flavors of these cheeses so dove in. It did not disappoint. In the center of the mix was a fig, absolutely unusual and yet a perfect match to the strength of the cheese. Easily the best dish to cross our table that evening. I'd go back just for this.
The main course, frankly, didn't work. A thick cut of lamb, slightly overcooked, was served surrounded by a squash or pumpkin puree. Pretty to look at, but the high rating ended there. The lamb or puree on their own tasted fine, but really the combination of the two simply didn't impress. No one else seemed too enchanted with it either. Back to the drawing board on that one I'm afraid, Jamie.
Desert was some kind of very-creamy ice cream on a sponge cake surrounded by raspberries. There was some kind of fruit-thing embedded in the cream, which was a bit odd. Again not terribly impressive overall, almost a case of trying too hard. I'd be more descriptive but to be honest by this point so much wine had flowed that if it weren't for the photo above, I'd probably not remember having it at all. So this meal started off amazing but ended on a low note. It's a fun experience and worth going, but do expect some oddities on the table that may not suit your palette. The risotto however is entirely worth the price of entry.
Fifteen Jollemanhof 9
1019 GW Amsterdam
(the street name of Jollemanhof doesn't show up on this map, but it does on others. It's right around here) rating: 4 feet, with reservations… but I would go again verdict: go for the rissoto