Jamie’s Italian, by renowned chef Jamie Oliver, is a well-known chain of restaurants that have been rapidly popping up all over the world. From his first restaurant opening in Oxford in 2008, Jamie has expanded his dining concept of good food at affordable prices to over 30 restaurants worldwide. This is now his second restaurant in Hong Kong within the past year, showing no signs of slowing down. His new location in TST offers all the same tastes as the Causeway Bay branch, but with additional menu options and a very different atmosphere.
If you haven’t been to the Causeway Bay branch of Jamie’s Italian, then I would suggest you just scratch it off your list for now and try to get a reservation at his new TST location. Boasting a massive dining area and patio, some of the highest ceilings I’ve seen in a HK restaurant, and a state of the art pizza oven, it definitely rivals the other branch.
One of the biggest pulls is that the restaurant is extremely spacious. Jamie’s Italian TST starkly contrasts the typically cramped restaurants many of us are used to going to in Hong Kong.
At the front of the restaurant is a cafe and the pizza bar – you can sit at either bar and watch your coffee being poured, or your pizza being crafted and cooked.
For those who want more of an intimate setting, you can choose to sit in the dining area or out on the patio. The dining area has amazing artwork by Barnaby Purdy covering the top half of all the walls. The art is an interesting mix of past and present Hong Kong life and makes a dramatic impact to the interior of the restaurant.
The price for a drink in HK when it’s not happy hour has gotten way out of hand, yet seems to have become a horrible norm that most of us Hong Konger’s painfully accept. Thankfully, Jamie’s Italian TST is wallet-friendly when it comes to their drinks and they don’t charge customers a whopping $120 for a cocktail.
Almost all drinks, save for a few wine options, are between $55 – $65. Though these aren’t the best cocktails I’ve ever had (at times I couldn’t really taste much alcohol – another shot please!), you really can’t complain when you’re paying half the price compared to most other bars.
For starters you could try one of their bruschetta options, toasted using their brand-spankin’ new pizza oven. The Fresh Crab Bruschetta ($70) could use a bit more seasoning and crab, but was nothing to really complain about (or rave about), while the Ricotta Bruschetta ($68) with roasted cherry tomatoes hit the spot.
Another staple starter to try is the Italian Nachos ($68). Not to be confused with your typical Mexican nachos, as the tortilla chips you may be used to are replaced with deliciously fried cheese ravioli. The Portobello Mushroom Fritti ($68) is highlighted on the menu, though I was slightly disappointed with how the fried breadcrumbs overpowered the mushroom taste.
For the mains, the Fiorentina pizza ($158) is topped with ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, some greens, with an easy-over egg on top, and the Funghi Misti ($168) is loaded with cheese, mushrooms, and has a rich truffle cream sauce. Looks like their pizza oven investment was a good idea; the ingredients were balanced well and they were both cooked to perfection.
The Wild Truffle Risotto ($88/$148) lacked a strong flavour, tasting as though I was just eating buttered rice. Thankfully, the next main ended up being my favourite dish of the night: the Beef Osso Buco ($198). This was some of the nicest slow-cooked beef I’ve had in awhile. I might just come back to Jamie’s Italian TST and order the Beef Osso Buco for my starter, main, and dessert!
Jamie’s Italian dessert menu offers options for those who are interested in a heavy dessert (like the Epic Brownie ($78)) and a lighter option if you’ve already ate to the point of having to secretly undo a pant button, but just can’t finish a meal without ordering a dessert. Naturally, I fell into the latter category so we went with two light desserts: Tangy Pineapple & Frozen Yoghurt ($68) and the Chocolate, Pear & Honeycomb Pavlova ($68). Both desserts had a unique combination of ingredients that worked really well together and they weren’t too heavy to eat after a big meal.
Jamie’s Italian TST has some thumbs-up dishes on the menu and a great venue in which to eat them, however, the kitchen needs to work on adding more robust flavours to certain dishes so that they taste just as good as they sound on the menu. I really like the ambiance and decor of the restaurant, and would consider going back for that alone (and the beef, of course!).