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Jamie Oliver's HK restaurant guests left starving?

What do preview guests at Jamie Oliver’s first Hong Kong restaurant have to chew on?

Nothing much, it seems.

The South China Morning Post reported that guests at last Friday's preview event were left hungry after the celebrity chef’s team provided miserly morsels.

Ge Er, who runs food and travel blog Coco the Sailor, described Jamie's Italian – which opened to the public yesterday – as an impressive space dressed with a wall painting, a high ceiling and a semi-open kitchen.

“But I was surprised that there was so little food,” she said.

Stunning interior, not so hot about the limited food

Her group of friends, standing by the kitchen door for half an hour, saw a grand total of two trays of appetisers being taken out.

Jamie’s Italian’s Hong Kong publicist said the event was to host friends and business associates to preview the restaurant space.

“It was never the intention for this to be a grand opening [or] red carpet event or a full service tasting experience,” the publicist said in an email.

Oliver, star of The Naked Chef television show, proposed setting up shop in Hong Kong in 2009.

But the plan fell through and his chain opened instead in Singapore last year.

Awkward

Oliver was in a reflective mood as he prepared for the opening.

“I’m a living brand: It’s quite an awkward thing to be,” the British chef told Bloomberg Television in an interview in London.

“Even Richard Branson -- It’s not called Richard Branson Airlines. He’s got Virgin in the middle.”

The Hong Kong restaurant, which seats 200, is a joint venture between Oliver and local partner Big Cat Group.

In June, fellow celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay announced that he will also be opening a restaurant in Hong Kong.

Sources: South China Morning Post, Bloomberg

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