FOOD & BEVERAGE | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Hong Kong

Are you ready for Italian mania? Jamie’s Italian finally hits Hong Kong

The new outlet features a bold graffiti mural by the founder’s long-time pal.

Jamie’s Italian finally hits Hong Kong with design inspiration alluding to the neighbourhood’s historical days as a fishing village.

The famous brand of Jamie Oliver which started in Oxford in 2008 has grown to more than 30 restaurants worldwide in countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dubai, UK, and Singapore.

On July 29, 2014, Jamie's Italian officially opened its doors at Soundwill Plaza II - Midtown in Causeway Bay.

Jamie’s Italian Hong Kong is a partnership with Big Cat Group Ltd., which has acquired the rights to develop and operate the chain in Hong Kong and China.

According to William Lyon, CEO of Big Cat Group, Hong Kong is the ‘home of entrepreneurs’ and he always had a hankering to start a business. His experience in the restaurant sector led him to set up the Big Cat Group just last year. He adds that his experience working for a scalable restaurant franchise has taught him that if someone wanted a scalable business, he needed a well-known brand. Jamie Oliver and Jamie’s Italian seemed like the perfect fit for Asia.

“One of the hardest parts of starting a business was having a good idea of what to do. I had always loved the idea of bringing a top international brand to bring to HK so my interest was immediately piqued upon hearing the concept - Jamie’s Italian was first mentioned to me by a guy I met on a flight whilst traveling back to London for Christmas – so much so that when I landed I went straight to a restaurant in London, and after that first visit I was hooked,” said William.

When the Big Cat Group team approached the Jamie Oliver UK restaurant group with a proposal to open Jamie’s Italian restaurants across Hong Kong and China. The Jamie Oliver UK restaurant group accepted their proposal. Subsequently, they identified potential sites for the launch of the first Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant in Hong Kong, secured investment and assembled a management team.

Jamie’s Italian is a collection of restaurants each designed specifically for the location. Each restaurant follows the same theme but features different design aspects unique to the local area and neighbourhood. Jamie’s Italian Hong Kong is no exception. Unique design aspects include a quirky shipping container placed in front of the kitchen area and a sliding ships ladder stationed at the antipasti bar.

Jamie’s Italian Hong Kong features a bold graffiti mural by Jamie Oliver’s long-time pal Barnaby Purdy which spans half the restaurant. According to Lyon, the design is unique to the Causeway Bay location and features a colourful, dynamic representation of a formidable dragon wrapping itself around Hong Kong Island.

The menu presents simple, fresh, and honest food made with traceable and sustainably sourced ingredients. Guests may also feast their eyes on a number of culinary spectacles throughout the restaurant; including pasta chefs at the fresh pasta station, chefs at the antipasti bar crafting delicacies from the colourfully cured hanging meats, and the dynamic open kitchen, with numerous chefs creating various dishes, all in full view of their diners.

In terms of their future plans, William said that firstly, they want to make sure that Jamie’s Italian in Causeway Bay continues to run smoothly. They have expansion plans for more Hong Kong restaurants and after that they will explore China expansion.  

Do you know any restaurant which recently opened or will open soon? We'll be glad to hear from you. Just send us a message through Lee Anne Babierra at research@charltonmediamail.com. 

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Are you ready for Italian mania? Jamie’s Italian finally hits Hong Kong

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