Exclusive: Jamie Oliver visits his new restaurant in Norwich’s Royal Arcade

PUBLISHED: 17:48 23 July 2012

Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant is about to open in Norwich Royal Arcade.
Photo: Bill Smith

Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant is about to open in Norwich Royal Arcade. Photo: Bill Smith


Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has today paid a special trip to Norwich to take a look at his new restaurant due to open soon in the city.

Jamie Oliver facts

- Jamie was born on 27th May 1975, in Essex.

- He has always worked with food, starting off in his parents pub ‘The Cricketers,’ where he used to help out in the kitchen.

- Jamie first appeared on television in 1997 with his cookery show ‘The Naked Chef’, which won him a BAFTA in 2000.

- His television shows are broadcast in over 40 countries, such as in the USA where he tried to launch healthy eating plans in ‘Jamie’s American Food Revolution.’

- He has written many best-selling cookery books, starting off with ‘The Naked Chef.’ ‘Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals’ became the fastest selling book of all time in the UK in 2010.

- He was made an MBE in 2003 for his contribution to the hospitality industry.

- ‘Jamie’s Italian’ was founded in 2007 and now has many popular restaurants across the UK.

- The restaurants aim to create authentic, affordable Italian food in a comfortable setting.

The latest Jamie’s Italian restaurant is opening its doors at Norwich’s Royal Arcade - in the former Waterstone’s bookshop - and today Jamie went to meet the new restaurant’s team ahead of the official opening on Monday.

He said he was excited to be opening a new restaurant in Norwich, describing the new eatery as one of the Jamie’s Italian “gems” and the new 80-strong team working at the restaurant as “absolute stars.”

“The Royal Arcade is beautiful - this is definitely one of the little gems,” he said.

“Hopefully you will feel like we have done the arcade and the era it was built in justice in the restaurant, bringing a bit of life and heart into it.”

When asked what diners can expect from the new restaurant, he said: “We are trying to make something very frenetic, exciting, visual and simple - we focus on good ingredients and trying not to get it wrong!”

He added: “I think it is fair to say we have done what we have promised we would do. What we try and do is make a beautiful restaurant in a beautiful place accessible to pretty much everybody. You can dress-up if you like, or not, and you can eat food from £12 to £30.”

The new two-storey restaurant seats about 250 people and the designers have tried to echo the Art Nouveau style of the Royal Arcade - which was built in 1899 by architect George J Skipper - in the restaurant’s interior.

The restaurant includes an antipasti bar and a semi-open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs at work, and the menu is inspired by what ordinary people eat across Italy.

Some of the highlights on the current menu include Bream Acqua Pazza - pan-fried whole royal bream with olives, garlic, wine, capers, parsley and baby plum tomatoes - and Penne Arrabiata - tomato, garlic and basil sauce with Scotch bonnet chillies and crunchy breadcrumbs.

Among the desserts is Jamie’s Italian chocolate brownie - a chocolate, raspberry and amaretto brownie served with vanilla ice-cream.

The are about 30 Jamie’s Italian restaurants across the country and also ones in Sydney and Dubai.

• Do you have a story about Norwich’s retail scene? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email

• And don’t miss Jamie Oliver in EDP Norfolk Magazine’s new August issue - out this week, with memories of his childhood holidays on the Broads.

• For more about Jamie’s visit see tomorrow’s paper.

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