Hai Cenato, Victoria: restaurant review
Wunderchef Jason Atherton turns his hand to pizza, pasta and other New York-Italian fare at his new dining spot in the Nova Victoria complex in SW1
- By Lydia Winter -
What's the draw:
Its name may not begin with that telltale 's', but Hai Cenato (which means 'have you had dinner?' in Italian) is the latest opening from relentless restaurateur Jason Atherton. It's the ninth space he's opened in London in the past six years, hot on the heels of British grill Temple & Sons. This time, though, Atherton has turned his hand to Italian cooking, with a menu of pasta, pizza, and authentic small plates.
What to drink:
Atherton's almost as good at bars as he is at restaurants, and the offering at Hai Cenato doesn't disappoint. Above the dining space is The Drunken Oyster, a sleek, New York-style bar serving Italian-style drinks. It's an elegantly lit area, decorated with tongue-in-cheek neon lighting, that offers spritz-like 'taptails', signature cocktails, and an array of vermouth and tonics. As for wine, there's a respectable selection of Italian varieties, from trebbiano through to chianti. We were particularly pleased to see the sparkling moscato d'Asti, an indulgent treat to go with dessert.
What to eat:
Pizza aficionados won't be disappointed here: the sourdough, British-milled flour bases are light and puffy, with a satisfying chew. The toppings are light-handed, too, designed to showcase the London-made mozzarella – we enjoyed the taleggio and chanterelle pizza, but keep your eyes out for the unusual monthly chef's specials. Elsewhere, guinea fowl and barolo risotto was rich and flavoursome, while the standout was the octopus and Cornish squid with braised lentils, cured bacon and green chilli salsa verde. We finished with the brioche and salted caramel gelato sandwich. Yep, that really is a thing, and it's as delicious as you'd think.
Pizzas from £12 and small plates from £8; wines from £4 by the glass. Cardinal Place, 2 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ; haicenato.co.uk