Apr 292012
 
Union Jack's Front Signage - chiswickish foodie blog - Copyright Mat Smith Photography
Dining Experience
Damage to wallet
Warm Glow Upon Leaving
The Good: Great for informal dining; varied menu. Good dough!
The Bad: Cocktails are drinkable but nothing special
Number of Visits: 2

As its name would suggest, Union Jacks is billed as a celebration of British flavours. The menu focuses around ‘flats’, which are essentially pizzas, though with a variety of typically British toppings (think cheddar, pork and bramley sauce, curry, etc.). That said, it’s possible to spend an evening at Union Jack’s without buying a flat; it’s a great atmosphere to catch up with friends and grab a quick drink, or order a handful of starters (i.e. British tapas).

Some background: I don’t have a TV and I’m only familiar with Jamie through his books, website, and other restaurants which I love (Jamie’s Italian in Cambridge and London W12, where I’ve dined more times that I can remember).

Sadly I just missed chatting to Jamie at the soft opening of Union Jack’s, but caught Jamie’s partner in the Union Jacks venture, Chris Bianco, who is a passionate foodie and restaurant entrepreneur from the US:

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - business partner Chris Bianco

Back home his restaurant Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona is reputedly a great success with food critics, not to mention the fact he’s opened up other restaurants from Italian to Mexican, he grows and packages a range of varietals of tomatoes in California (sadly he won’t be exporting them for use in this restaurant) and he obviously cares dearly about his ingredients. I’m hoping the Union Jacks venture will attract similar critical praise. Certainly his amazing positivity comes across within just a few minutes of meeting him. I love how he has done-out the restaurant with little bits of local life – some framed prints from a much-loved nearby bookshop Fosters of Chiswick, to mention just one.

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - Interior layout

The interior itself is a nod to 50s/60s café dining with formica-style tabletops or roughly-painted wooden tables, funky lighting, traditional unfussy menus, and lovely tiling work on the walls – the same tiles as you are likely to see on the London Underground.

As with all of Jamie’s restaurants, staff are superb; their enthusiasm is palpable and even though Chiswick Union Jacks was not fully open, they were really on the ball, chatty, excited…

Mat Smith Photography Photolife Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks Restaurant Chiswick - Waiting Staff Outfit

Whilst Union Jacks probably won’t compete with the excellent Gelato Mio across the road for serious ice, are not putting out cocktails like Sam’s or Charlotte’s, and probably don’t put pizza to the core of the menu as much as the nearby Franco Manca – which will always hold a special place in my heart – nevertheless the restaurant’s main strength is that it serves up an impressive range of food styles.

The Woodman Pizza (they call it a “Flat”): a topping with mixed field mushroom base and an aftertaste of aniseed:

Mat Smith Photography Photolife Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks Restaurant Chiswick - Woodman Pizza

Although in many ways Italian – at least the style of the interior – Union Jacks isn’t a traditional pizzeria by any means. It’s more like an “Italian-inspired English tapas restaurant”; the palate catered-for is very much the English one.

How so? Think mini Yorkshire puddings, Indian spiced chicken with Bombay potatoes, Bubble and Squeak, Treacle Tart, selection of great cheeses.

Below, Indian spiced chicken. What an amazing gravy it came with. Typical of Jamie: bursting with surprising flavours. And a delightful marinade.

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - Empire Chicken

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - Empire Chicken side shot

The other thing I love: you can stop-by for a quick Builder’s Tea on the seats outside, or bring a group of friends for a whole evening out.

Below, the “Damson Gin Fizz”:

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - Damson Gin Fizz Cocktail

Below, “Roobarb & Custard” and “Union Mule”:

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Cocktail - Union Mule

 

What they do, they do very well. “Earl Grey and biscuit” and “bitter chocolate” ice cream scoops:

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - Early Grey and Biscuit, Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream scoops

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - Red Badge

The dough is made right in front of diners, so you can see the action! Smells amazing.

Mat Smith Photography Blog - Jamie Oliver Union Jacks - Making Dough

The restaurant is apparently not taking bookings until May, however I believe it will be possible to walk-in and dine at any time.

Can’t wait to spend some more time there!

  2 Responses to “Jamie Oliver’s Union Jacks, Chiswick High Road”

  1. hey there,
    im executive chef for union jacks,
    the shots you took of the restaurant and food are amazing,
    you have a great eye for detail and style
    many thanks
    please let yourself known next time your i would love to meet you
    steve

  2. Hi there Steve

    Thanks for the positive comments. I’ll be sure to say hello when I next pop in!

    Regards,

    Mat

Leave a Reply to mat Cancel reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>