Union Jacks: Oliver’s British Pizza

The latest Jamie Oliver concept, Union Jacks, has gone live online. Www.unionjacksrestaurants.com is the first glimpse of Oliver’s new Anglo-Italian concept, where ‘wood-fired flatbreads meet great British flavours’. Intriguing, but not as confusing as the bra advert on the homepage.

An excerpt from the site says: ‘At Union Jacks, [we] want to take you on a journey of discovery through Britain and reintroduce you to familiar flavours, cooked and presented the Union Jacks way. Our incredible flatbreads and wood-fired cooking methods nod to traditions that are universally loved, and nearly all of the ingredients for the toppings are unabashedly local.’

The Union Jacks concept is an interesting symbiosis of British food trends combined with long term consumer demand for Italian cuisine. Using of the word ‘flatbreads’ rather than pizza enables the concept to straddle two cuisine types effectively without alienating one another.

Chris Bianco, founder of the renowned Pizzeria Bianco in the US, has been helping Oliver mastermind the ‘flatbread’ offering at Union Jacks and is a Director of the new Jamie Bianco Ltd. Biancio opened his first Pizzeria in 1987 and has since received wide acclaim for his ‘world class’ food. The presence of Bianco on these shores demonstrates Oliver’s aspiration to compete with the major pizza players in the UK, albeit with a British twist.

The roll-out of Franco Manca and the out of London expansion for Rossopomodoro are all clear signs that the UK pizza market is entering a more mature phase where multiple operators are concerned. It seems that Jamie wants a piece of the pie.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing how the concept hangs together. With such an experienced management team, led by Simon Blagden, its hard to see the restaurant ding badly, its more a question of how quickly the roll-out occurs.

Union Jacks:
opening in November

Central St Giles
London WC1H 8AG