Jamie Oliver's first Jamie's Italian restaurant opens today in Oxford (2 June).
Restaurants in Bath in September, Kingston in November and Brighton and Cambridge in early 2009 will follow.
Caterersearch revealed Jamie Oliver's plans last autumn. Jamie's Italian will be the celebrity chef's first owned restaurant venture as Fifteen, which he helped to create, is owned and run by the Fifteen Foundation charity.
Jamie's Italian will serve classic Italian food inspired by the dishes in Oliver's cookery books with affordable pricing and a neighbourhood restaurant feel.
As many as 20 outlets are planned in the next five years, although Oliver has said the idea is to create a restaurant collection rather than a chain.
The menu offers a range of pasta dishes freshly prepared on site as well as a selection of fresh breads, antipasti, salads, grills and Italian desserts. Pasta dishes will be priced between £5 and £8, with lunch costing about £10 a head including drinks.
"It's all about bringing my food to the public and offering them the best value for money they can get," Oliver said.
For more on the launch see Jamie Oliver.com.
Sample dishes from the menu…
(starters) Selections of Nocellara or Gaeta olives.
Bruschetta with a variety of toppings including sweet tomatoes, garlic and basil; rocket and parmesan pesto; and preserved marinated mushrooms with herbs and pecorino.
Catherine-wheel shaped sausage and polenta mash with tomato 'Ragu'- sausage from Naples served with tomato & basil sauce, polenta, parmesan and herbs.
"Hot fingers" crispy lamb chops - proper grilled lamb chops served with dressed salad greens and Italian mint sauce.
By Chris Druce
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