Move over Jamie! Now Gordon Ramsay announces he’s opening a Hong Kong restaurant

Gordon Ramsay to open branch of London restaurant Bread Street Kitchen in Central two months after Jamie's Italian launches in Causeway Bay

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 4:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 6:07pm

Two of Britain’s best known celebrity chefs will compete for the attention of Hong Kong diners after Gordon Ramsay announced that he will open a restaurant in the city – hot on the heels of television rival Jamie Oliver.

Rumours that 47-year-old Hell’s Kitchen star Ramsay was bringing his London establishment Bread Street Kitchen to the city were confirmed yesterday after weeks of speculation, with a September opening slated for the Lan Kwai Fong branch.

Located in the Hotel LKF by Rhombus on Wyndham Street, the restaurant will serve "British European" food, with dishes from its London counterpart.

“This is an exciting step for the group, not only to be entering the Asian market which has such an amazing food culture but also to bring one of our concepts which has proved such a success in London,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay’s television rival Oliver revealed in March his plan to open a branch of his Jamie's Italian chain in Causeway Bay next month.

With 200 seats the restaurant on Tang Lung Street in Causeway Bay, sandwiched between Hennessy Road and Times Square, will have around twice the capacity of Ramsay's venture.

A meeting of the two chefs in Hong Kong appears unlikely for now however, as Oliver seems unlikely to attend the opening of Jamie's Italian.

Marcos Georgiou, the international chef director for the Jamie's Italian chain and his other brands, said in April that Oliver did not like to be at restaurant openings as he felt his appearance would detract from the work of the team that opened the venue.

He preferred the publicity focus to be on the restaurant rather than himself, Georgiou said.

Georgiou added that Oliver would make an appearance at the restaurant eventually.

Ramsay is yet to confirm whether he will attend the opening of Bread Street Kitchen. His group owns a total of 24 restaurants around the world, including the Savoy Grill in London and the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Las Vegas.

Oliver has some 27 restaurants in Britain and nine internationally: three in Australia, two in Dubai and one each in Dublin, Istanbul, Singapore and St Petersburg.

He is no stranger to business in the region, or in Hong Kong. Oliver's first attempt to open a restaurant in the city in 2009 fell through but he successfully launched a branch of Jamie's Italian in Singapore last July.

Jamie's Italian Hong Kong will be set up with local partner Big Cat Group, on the second floor of a new building at Tang Lung Street, home to a cluster of food and beverage outlets.

William Lyon, chief executive of Big Cat Group and of Jamie's Italian (Hong Kong and China), said the restaurant would cost "millions of US dollars" to set up. The group also pledged that ingredients from the mainland would not be used unless they met the restaurant's stringent standards and ingredients could be traced back to their source.

The Naked Chef star, who opened the first Jamie's Italian in Oxford, Britain, in 2008, had in 2009 planned a Hong Kong outlet as his first venture outside Britain. A year later, however, the plan fell through. In 2011, Jamie's Italian opened its first outlet outside Britain in Dubai's Festival City. Its Singapore outlet is in VivoCity, the Lion City's largest shopping mall.