Through our love and passion for food and sharing, we have created Fernandez & Leluu – a home restaurant with a small but growing following. It is self-made, self-taught, self-backed, self-inspired, self this, self that and self other. We are sold out for 8 weeks and feed 50 people a week and now we earn a little from it to travel, to learn about food and to maintain good quality ingredients for our menus and hopefully venture further.
It seems like what we are doing is very ‘purple cow’ and that our opinions really count even if it comes to chain restaurants or any restaurants for that matter that have millions backed into it and would need at least 50 covers a lunch time.
Has the time changed to make the big fat cat turn to the stray puppy – even if it is dressing up as a purple cow?
(Jamie created this concept inspired by the bible of pasta)
“It’s all about word-of-mouth,” Jamie continues, ”we have got to give the people what they want, and we have got to put as much love into our food as possible.”
Not his first venture, he opened Shumi – a Japanese/ Italian fusion, with Roger Moore’s son, Jamie has opened Kitchen Italia in Earlham Street, Covent Garden (next to the great Donmar Theatre in what used to be the Bunker Bar). No doubt encouraged by the success of his first branch in Westfield Shopping Centre.
With its big sharing wooden benches and promotional deals as paper placemats it looks like a Japanese noodle bar, bento eat such as Satsuma.
I think it’s the perfect place to have a bite of lunch/ dinner while shopping – with their menus based on pasta –didn’t pasta originate from China’s noodles? For a quick bowl of pasta ranging from £6.95 to £9.95 – it’s surely in tune with today’s economic climate - aiming to be good value-for-money.
Lee is from Yorkshire and has traveled throughout Italy, learning chef techniques and the secrets about Italian food. Jamie managed to drop quite a few famous celebrities Lee has cooked for.
Our waitress was very charming although it was a bit like she was trying to ask us if we wanted fries with everything (but different breads instead, although we ordered their amazing bread sticks). I love the way they have different olive oils on the table, and a pot of basil, parmesan and salt & pepper – again very oriental. It just means you can participate to seasoning your own dish.
(Rice Balls - Lee cleverly used Japanese breadcrumbs to make it be much lighter than Sicilian ones-very scrumptious)
Is it because these chain of restaurants cater for people who eat pasta for lunch when out shopping at Primark or for those who love real Italian food? Jamie says that in Westfield, most plates get sent back because its al dente; the black truffle pasta sent back because it was black; the tiger prawns sauce because its too spicy.
As a business, would you be forced into middle-of-the-road blandness just to please the masses? “Or is being safe too risky?” (Seth Goldin).
I don’t mind a bit of Strada or Kitchen Italia every now and again – definitely good value for money for those pre pay-days. Will be back for the bread sticks, tiramisu and hopefully, Vongole from Lee.