Jamie Oliver to open restaurant in Wellington

ROB O'NEILL
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2012
Jamie Oliver
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HEADING HERE: A scout has been looking for restaurant sites large enough to seat 200 diners in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.
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Jamie Oliver is bringing his Italian restaurants to Wellington, with a scout looking for a site for 200 diners.

He is also planning to open his Jamie's Italian restaurants in Auckland and Queenstown.

Rustic food, seasonal ingredients, freshly made pasta and a selection of antipasto are promised in a style of dining described as high-volume and affordable.

"The Jamie's Italian menu is driven by what you'd find ordinary people eating over in Italy.

"Rustic, simple dishes, the best ingredients we could find both locally and in Italy – and seasonal too – made with care but delivered without lots of fuss," is how the Jamie's Italian website describes the experience.

Steak, and burgers are on the menu next to Osso Bucco Milanese (veal), South Coast Fritto Misto (fried fish) and "Jamie's favourite" Truffled Turkey Milanese – turkey stuffed with fontina cheese and prosciutto, topped with a fried egg and shaved truffles.

Wine is served in 500ml pichets as well as by the glass and bottle, so diners can mix and match and change wines between courses easily.

The restaurants will be operated by Oliver's Australasian licensee Pacific Restaurant Group, which opened the first Jamie's Italian Down Under in Sydney in October.

Director Wes Lambert said Oliver was keen to include New Zealand in the licence because he has a big following here for his books, TV shows and website.

"Jamie loves New Zealand," he said.

Lambert said Oliver designs all the menus and is actively involved in the business.

Lambert said fine dining is struggling around the world, mainly because of perceptions of value.

Many customers were instead seeking out the mid-market and a more casual style of dining.

Oliver is expected to visit the Sydney Jamie's Italian for the first time next month.

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