Hai Cenato 22

2 Sir Simon Milton Square , London, SW1E 5DJ

020 3816 9320

Visit Hai Cenato

  • Hai Cenato London Italian restaurant Jason Atherton Social Company
  • Hai Cenato London Italian restaurant Jason Atherton Social Company
  • Hai Cenato London Italian restaurant Jason Atherton Social Company
  • Hai Cenato London Italian restaurant Jason Atherton Social Company
  • Hai Cenato London Italian restaurant Jason Atherton Social Company
  • Hai Cenato London Italian restaurant Jason Atherton Social Company
  • Hai Cenato London Italian restaurant Jason Atherton Nova Victoria

SquareMeal Review of Hai Cenato

Jason Atherton’s ninth London restaurant forms the buzzing centrepiece of the shiny new Nova development near Victoria station. It’s not easy to locate (take one of the passages off Victoria Street or Buckingham Palace Road), but once inside you’ll find a slickly designed, noisy space lined with plate-glass windows and a wall of chef caricatures that’s proving popular with restaurant nerds. Like Soho’s Social Eating House, Hai Cenato (‘have you had dinner?’ in Italian) is overseen by chef Paul Hood. It’s inspired by Atherton’s favourite wood-fired pizzerias in New York, although the sour-dough pizzas here are made with British-milled flour and London-made mozzarella (every month a chef mate of Atherton’s will do a pizza topping in aid of charity Hospitality Action – starting with Tom Kerridge’s spiced venison with salami and Gorgonzola). But there’s much else besides, from pasta and risottos to small plates and larger grills, all of it done to Atherton’s usual high standards. Confit guinea fowl and Barolo risotto with pancetta and Parmesan keeps the rich flavours in check with bitter radicchio; a beautifully cooked whole gilt-head bream stuffed with saffron, lemon and fennel sings of the Mediterranean; lamp rump comes deliciously rubbed with garlic and anchovy. A side order of braised cavolo nero with a hot kiss of chilli almost steals the show – though the dish most destined for signature status is salted caramel ice cream sandwiched in a brioche burger bun. With pretty much all-day opening seven days a week, a first-floor cocktail bar (The Drunken Oyster), and decent choice under £30 on the Italian-led wine list, Hai Cenato is a brilliant all-purpose arrival in restaurant-starved Victoria. Sure, it feels rather corporate (and the staff’s ultra-clean vintage-style band T-shirts look very inauthentic) but this is cooking with real heart and soul.

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6.0

Food & Drink: 6.0

Service: 7.0

Atmosphere: 7.5

Value: 7.0

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 11 August 2017

3 of us ate here last night, we arrived a few minutes before our booking time and the table before us were paying so we went upstairs to the bar for a drink, the whole place was pretty busy even at 7.30pm, a nice buzzy atmosphere, so good first impressions. Once we were seated we ordered a bottle of rose and some arancini to share while we were reading the menu and they took around 20 minutes to come, they were tasty but too salty, particularly when you have ham on top as well. We then waited approximately 20 minutes again for that plate to be cleared and for someone to take our order. The goats cheese and zucchini pizza was a big hit, the pizza bianca with smoked mozzarella, chicken and BBQ smoked corn, was bland, with not enough chicken or corn, and way too much cheese, and the beef shin ragu so was overly salted that it was inedible - I did tell the waiter and asked him to feed that back to the kitchen. All in all, it was a pretty average meal, only made bearable by the fact that the bill only came to £83, so at least it wasn't expensive and disappointing. I am a big Atherton fan, but this is nowhere near the quality I would expect. Also, it took the best part of 3 hours to get served 2 courses and the bill, whilst we were not in a hurry and I am not keen on restaurants who table-turn, we had to wave to get our waiters attention every time, we got the impression that he might be learning the job, although he was perfectly pleasant. Front of house staff on the door were good fun.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Nevine H. silver reviewer 05 April 2017

Pizza excellent, perfect base and topping. Tried salami, very average (good olives though), foccacio (not good), Pizza Bianca totally delicious and I didn't leave even a crust! For main tried the pasta bolognaise. The pasta was flat rounds like half a ravioli, sauce was very oily, not over tasteful though I did enjoy the crispy fried sage leaves. Good and friendly service. I would go back for the pizza, that's it.

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