Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: Shop 412, 4/F, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui 尖沙咀廣東道17號海港城海洋中心4層412號舖

Telephone: 3758 3333

https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/hongkong

British celebrity chefs, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, have both opened up their first restaurants in Hong Kong last year, sending the Hong Kong dining crowd into a frenzy. It seems that Jamie is right now one step ahead of Gordon by opening up his second Jamie’s Italian Hong Kong outlet in May this year.

Just as some background information, Jamie’s Italian is a chain of restaurant first founded by Jamie Oliver and his Italian mentor, Gennaro Contaldo, in 2008, and has now expanded to 51 restaurants worldwide. Jamie’s Italian seeks to offer a fun dining experience in a warm, casual atmosphere. This new outlet is located in Harbour City, and is a massive space that seats 164 people indoors and 70 in the al fresco area. Colourful graffiti mural pay homage to Hong Kong’s and Asia’s rich cultural history, and its tall ceiling and open kitchen give the space a relaxing and homely vibe.

I have visited Jamie’s restaurants both in London and in Hong Kong. Some critiques find his restaurants’ cuisine not quite refined or consistent enough, but I have personally always been a massive fan of his –  his unpretentious and genuine passion for food that has truly inspired me, so has his unrelenting effort in promoting a healthy, nutritious diet for the general population. Check out his fight against McDonald’s here if you are interested! 

Just like his other restaurants, the kitchen uses fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients, and cooks food in simple and honest ways. The restaurant is open 7 days a week and offers all-day dining from 11am-11pm, and while a limited number of tables can be reserved, most of the tables are for walk-in customers.

The pasta at the restaurant is handmade daily, and it is also notable that this outlet has an open pizza oven, as only a handful of Jamie’s Italian restaurants around the world serve fresh pizzas.

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(1) Our lovely lunch starts off with a glass of basil & lemon ice tea ($48), which is English breakfast tea shaken with fresh lemon juice, basil leaves and sugar. The iced tea is utterly refreshing and the hint of basil is delectable.

(2) The portobello mushroom fritti ($68) is a must-try dish! The deep-fried portobello mushrooms are gorgeously crispy on the outside yet retain an inner juiciness, and the garlicky mayo packs a punch!

  

(3) The garlic bread ($45) is made with their house-made pizza dough and an enticing garlic & herb butter – very delicious indeed! It can be made a bit thicker though for a better bite.

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(4) The tagliatelle Bolognese ($88), with beef & pork ragu, Chianti and Parmesan, is remarkably flavourful and intensely satisfying. The fresh pasta seems to have been boiled for a bit too long though, and is a tad too soft. 

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(5) This pizza is called “Hong Kong Hot” ($178), and is a spicy pizza topped with Cheddar cheese, salami, spicy meatballs, jalapeño chillies and buffalo mozzarella. The flavours are vibrant and exciting, and certainly hit the spot! The pizza dough is also well fermented and nicely soft and airy.

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(6) Lastly, the Gennaro’s 18 Hour Slow-Cooked Porchetta ($230). The pork belly roast is unbelievably crispy on the surface, and the balsamic sauce is well adjusted and mouthwatering; certainly a job well done!

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Jamie Oliver’s second venture in Hong Kong does not disappoint – the cuisine, as promised, is honest, unpretentious and hearty. The prices are reasonable and the army of staff at the restaurant is knowledgable, friendly and well-drilled – I will definitely come back during non-peak hours for more of these delightful dishes!