Little Birdy, the new Australian rotisserie specialist tucked away on New Street off Queen’s Road West in Sheung Wan, offers free-range rotisserie chicken in a laidback ambiance, featuring an industrial interior and red neon wall-art resembling Chinese letters ‘有鳥到’ (a pun that ties to the homophone of the word “bird” in Chinese, suggesting a we-do-chicken-right kind of attitude). We sat down with the owner Danielle Giambattista to talk about the challenge of being a restaurateur in Hong Kong and her ambition to change the local food scene.
As a chef / owner how do you deal with local challenges when setting up a restaurant?
Opening a restaurant is challenging in itself. No matter how prepared you think you are, there are always lots of surprises. I have been very fortunate to have been involved in many restaurant openings on various different operational levels here in Hong Kong as well as New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Shanghai. In terms of local challenges, they will always pop up. It all comes down to the core opening team on the ground. We have to all stick together. Only the strong will survive!
How do you cater for local tastes?
Little Birdy is the best of both worlds, we are an Australian style rotisserie chicken shop with healthy salads and sides as well as our naughty corner items which include lots of indulgent chicken burgers. We find that the locals love chicken, in many forms! We don’t have any issues catering to the local clientele.
How do you think about promoting your menus?
We promote mostly via Instagram, and facebook along with local publications.
What is your best opening of a venue? And what about the biggest disaster in the restaurant business?
The most intense opening I have ever participated in was with Gordon Ramsay in Los Angeles. We received a Michelin Star in under 6 months, it was incredible. It made all those long stressful days worth it. It was an amazing achievement for all of us. In terms of the biggest disaster, I have never really been involved in any full on disastrous openings or operations in general. During an opening, lots of things always go wrong, each day, each service. This is what I personally love about the business and I am sure many others do as well. It is so unpredictable, it will either eat you up and spit you out or you will come out shining on the other end.
What was your most under pressure moment
The most pressure I have ever felt in my entire career has been with the opening of Little Birdy.
As the first restaurant I have ever owned and operated, I find it to be like is like a daily test. I would not trade it for anything in the world. I do have to say that the only thing that keeps you sane in the business is finding time for yourself among the craziness of your days. This is something I have only recently started to practice and it has relieved a lot of the stress and pressures.
What’s next for your restaurant / group?
Our company plans to expand both here in Hong Kong as well as in other parts of South East Asia.