Hai Cenato in a nutshell
Jason Atherton’s casual Italian restaurant and bar, in Victoria’s modern Nova quarter development, focuses on seafood plates, squidgy pizzas and pasta dishes.
The Italian-focussed kitchen is headed by Paul Hood, who also runs Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred Soho restaurant, The Social Eating House.
What’s the vibe like?
More casual than the other restaurants in Jason Atherton’s mini-empire, Hai Cenato still manages to give the modern space a plush feel, with floor-to-ceiling red velvet curtains, deep red banquettes and a buzzy open kitchen.
How does the menu work?
The menu starts with seafood sharing-dishes on colourful plates, salads, pasta dishes and risotto (herb gnocchi, seafood linguine, braised rabbit risotto). The pizza menu is split between ‘rossa’ and ‘bianca’ pizzas, with toppings ranging from homemade fennel sausage to grilled onion and kabucha squash with goat’s curd, and confit lamb neck with spiced aubergine. There’s a grill section for hearty mains including Cumbrian pork chop ‘alla Milanese’, chargrilled lamb rump and grilled whole boneless bream.
What should we order at Hai Cenato?
Tender pieces of octopus and florettes of Cornish squid are served on a bed of glossy lentils with tiny cubes of pancetta and an umami-rich green chilli salsa verde. Or go for one of the pizzas with epic chewy crusts, a favourite being pizza bianca topped with taleggio, chanterelles and caramelised onion.
The menu must-order is the aged beef bolognese; a rich, caramelised minced beef ragu ladled over corzetti pasta (thick, flat, al dente discs with grooves stamped into them to hold the ragu) with crisp sage leaves and curls of grated English berkswell cheese.
What’s dessert like?
For pudding, the salted caramel ice cream scooped into a glazed brioche bun is particularly indulgent.
What are the drinks like at Hai Cenato?
Start with a vermouth and tonic (there are a few to choose from, we loved floral and refreshing cocchi rosa made with Aperol, grapefruit zest, elderflower tonic and rose petals). After your meal, head upstairs to The Drunken Oyster to sit at the polished mahogany bar with a dark roast, chocolatey twist on the negroni made with Mr Black’s coffee liqueur (there’s a dedicated negroni menu, featuring five permanent twists, plus a rotating monthly negroni).
Hai Cenato recipes to make at home…
Tender pieces of octopus and florettes of Cornish squid are served on a bed of glossy lentils with tiny cubes of pancetta and an umami-rich green chilli salsa verde. This recipe is easy, serves four and isn’t as scary as it sounds!
Try this Italian-inspired recipe by Paul Hood, head chef at Hai Cenato. It’s quick, easy and full of flavour… perfect for a dinner party showstopper.
This indulgent chicken recipe is created by head chef Paul Hood. It is rich in flavour, colour and the perfect Friday night dinner for two.
Blow your friends away with this chocolate fondant recipe served with a creamy crème fraîche sorbet. It takes a bit of effort but is totally worth it. Extremely indulgent, decadent and gooey all at the same time. Recipe by Paul Hood, head chef at Hai Cenato.