If you go to Italy and they say Hai Cenato then say no. Why? Because it translates to ‘Have you had dinner?’ and if there is the chance for more food, especially in Italy, you’ve always get to say yes. If someone here asks if you’ve been to Hai Cenato then you’ll want to say no too. Why? It’s also the name of the next restaurant from The Social Company and you then have an excuse for your friend to take you…sneaky.
Opening in Nova next week, it’s the second time that Jason and Irha Atherton have collaborated with Chef Patron, Paul Hood and they will be serving up casual New York/Italian dishes and classic Italian cocktails.
Coming over from Naples are two large hand-crafted Stefano Ferrara ovens, which will be used to cook the pizzas – alongside classic toppings you can expect more adventurous offerings such as confit lamb neck, spiced aubergine, ras el hanout, mint and yoghurt. Each month, they’ll be inviting guest chefs such as Tom Kerridge and Paul Ainsworth to create their own pizza with a £1 from each sold going to Hospitality Action. If you needed another reason to justify pizza, make it that you’ll be doing a bit of good.
Elsewhere on the menu you’ll find home-cured seabass crudo; Fowey Estuary oyster frittes; egg taglierini with duck yolk; confit pheasant and Barolo risotto with trevise, pancetta and parmesan. For pudding, there’ll be homemade gelato and sorbets in flavours such as vin santo, amaretto, milk or quince as well as pannacotta with blood orange and vincotto. Head there for breakfast and start the day with eggs cacio e pepe on sourdough or visit the deli. Here you’ll find 30-month prosciutto with castelefranco, spinach and a soft-boiled egg as well as Italian pastries, porridge and fruit pots. Quite the choice. Lunch will range from salads such as charcoal baked beetroot with pine nuts, goat’s cheese, red chard and a Chianti vinegar dressing to hot sandwiches, soups and, of course, take-away pizza.
Upstairs you’ll find The Drunken Oyster (anyone else think of Family Guy’s The Drunken Clam?), a cocktail bar designed to echo a vintage railway carriage – a nod to the fact they are so close to the station. The cocktails bring together Italian classics with British ingredients. No doubt we’ll be ordering the Negrosé, The Drunken Oyster’s sparkling interpretation of the star of Italian mixology made using Fords gin, strawberry and tonka bean Campari and Cocchi Rosa vermouth. You’ll also be able to get taptails – spritzes on tap.
Russell Sage Studio are looking after the interior – it’s going to emulate the traditional Italian family restaurants with vintage light fixtures, deep blood-red snakeskin banquettes and layers of wallpaper peeled back to reveal an imagined history. You’ll want to get a seat at the counter where you can watch the chefs cooking the pizza.
The question is, Hai Cenato?
Hai Cenato: Opens 7th February 2017, 2 Sir Simon Milton Square, Victoria, SW1E 5DJ, www.haicenato.co.uk