Doug and the tea house that became Vila Vila

Differences of opinion at Chinese Kitchen so ex-partners now compete

Cava’s Doug Marshall has taken over the Chinese tea house on Yi Chun St next to the basketball court and renamed it.  Vila Villa — which means “village in and village out” — now offers a mix of Hunan, Szechuan and western Chinese food, Doug said.

Doug Marshall

Columnist Steve Vines writes that Sai Kung cries out for a quality Chinese restaurant. Does Doug think he and his partners can do it?  “We certainly do.”

Doug was until recently one of the partners in the quite new Chinese Kitchen around the corner, which also serves Hunanese food.   Differences of opinion emerged, he said, and he pulled out. The Chinese Kitchen’s Chef Dun who is from Hunan has moved with him.  The other chef at Vila Villa is Siu Yi, also known as “Fat Boy” and brother in law to Doug.

The tea house was more or less a labour of love by a wealthy film producer’s family. At first they got support from movie industry people, but after the novelty-stage surge, custom dwindled and the family were happy to get out of the lease.

Doug said he is the majority owner of Vila Villa, but he has a co-investor in the background. They have not changed the decor.  “There is no need. It’s quite new and very well done.” After arriving from Scotland six years ago, Doug worked as a chef at Science Park.  He met his wife to be, Kathy, at Corner Cafe in Sai Kung.  For a while he had a golf-clothing shop at Whitehead driving range.  Eighteen months ago they started Cava, a Spanish tapas bar and restaurant.  Cava is “100% a family business”. Sisters Kathy and Maggie work there and Siu Yi is a partner.

Doug said they are satisfied with Cava’s profitability and it is a sustainable business.  “It is important for me to get the food right.  You need to listen to people. That’s why we are doing western Chinese food” at Vila Villa.

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