'Traditional British grub' chain shuts three out of four outlets, while Jamie's Italian brand continues to expand
Jamie Oliver's attempt to revive traditional British grub in his unashamedly nostalgic Union Jacks restaurants appears to have foundered with the announcement that three of the four outlets are closing.
The TV chef's company cited the "challenging climate" for the decision to close Union Jacks branches in Holborn and Chiswick in London and Winchester in Hampshire with immediate effect.
The remaining Covent Garden branch will continue to offer a range of "proud British flavours", including fish and chips with mushy peas at £14.95; pork belly, banger and mash for £14.50, and sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream at £6. Diners can wash it down with a range of "spectacular English wines".
The self-consciously retro menu features a message from Oliver and co-founder Chris Bianco. "Union Jacks is all about bringing back nostalgic British classics using the best of artisanal ingredients. Hope you love it as much as we do," it says.
A spokesman for Oliver said: "After a full review it was concluded that the businesses in Winchester, Chiswick and Holborn were no longer sustainable in the current challenging climate. The Union Jacks site in the Piazza in Covent Garden is trading well and will remain fully operational.
"The group is confident in being able to deliver a robust performance in 2014 and is looking forward to a number of restaurant openings, in the UK and internationally. This will include developing the successful Trattoria model which is doing well in its first location in Richmond."
Meanwhile, Oliver's chain of more than 30 Jamie's Italian restaurants continues to expand.
Last week, the company announced plans to set up a Jamie's Italian in Newcastle in a move that will create 120 jobs. It also said it was setting up a branch in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
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