Now that Hong Kong has been blessed with two of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants; one on the island side in Causeway Bay and one on Kowloon side in Tsim Sha Tsui, how are we to make the decision of which to go to?! Fear not my fellow Hong Kongers, I’m here to offer you an unbiased (well, mostly) overview of the Jamie’s Italian branch in CWB and in TST, in terms of location, decor, atmosphere, and food.
Personally, where a restaurant is located is a huge factor for me. Having lived in this city of complete convenience for three years, I often can’t be bothered to do things that are inconvenient (I admit to my laziness). This includes, but is certainly not limited to, leaving Hong Kong Island. Judge all you want, but if I’m going to cross the harbour, then it better be for a darn good reason.
Clearly, I’m not too keen on heading to TST. Alternatively, I’m not exactly jumping for joy at the idea of heading into the bowels of Causeway Bay either. Ultimately, in terms of locations, neither is ideal unless you live within walking distance or you enjoy throngs of people everywhere, but both are easily accessible via public transportation.
Atmosphere & Decor
The two branches have some similarities when it comes to decor, but for the most part the atmosphere differs greatly between the two.
Causeway Bay Branch
The shape of the restaurant is long and narrow, making it feel a lot smaller than it actually is. At one end of the restaurant you have the bar and large booth seating. As you move towards the other end, there are long high tables, as well as regular seating, as well as the kitchen. The tables are quite close together, which might not bother some people, but it’s not exactly ideal if you’re on a date or wanted a more private dinner with a friend.
I really enjoyed the simple yet fashionable decor, though the use of bold yellows and turquoises would stand out more during the daytime. There is also a large modern Chinese mural at one end of the restaurant, but because we were sitting at the other end, we didn’t notice it until we left.
Tsim Sha Tsui Branch
If you’re looking for a restaurant that offers an open space with high ceilings, Jamie’s Italian TST is your answer. This restaurant boasts a big and beautiful dining area that doesn’t feel crammed, as well as spacious outdoor seating.
One thing that really caught my attention the instant I walked in was the murals on the top portion of the walls surrounding the dining area. They took their idea from the one mural in the CWB branch and expanded it in their TST branch, which works wonders with the open space and rustic yet modern vibe.
Both menus have many similar dishes, but the one standout is that the TST branch has a pizza oven (and the pizzas were really tasty!). After having tried an array of appetizers and mains at each restaurant, I’d say their food is similar in terms of consistency, though I do think at each location their dishes can be hit or miss.
A big yes goes to the dessert at both locations. The calamari is delicious, albeit a bit sparse. You should pass on the bruschetta at the TST location and go straight for the pizzas. The pasta at the CWB location didn’t stand out, and though we didn’t have any pasta dishes at the TST location, I’m assuming they’re similar. The Pork Milanese and the Beef Osso Buco (served at both restaurants) also gets a big thumbs up!
Both branches offer similar menus, though the TST branch has a few different items because of their pizza oven. As for the appeal of the restaurant itself, we found the TST location to be much more welcoming, with its open-space, high ceilings, and beautiful murals covering the walls. So, if heading across the harbour isn’t a big deal at all, we recommend checking out the Jamie’s Italian Tsim Sha Tsui branch over the Causeway Bay branch.