In Italy, it means “have you eaten?”
And in London, it means you’re about to. Very well.
Because if you’re walking under the neon sign bearing these hallowed words, you’ll imminently be arriving inside the second collaboration between Jason Atherton and Chef Patron, Paul Hood – who’s thus far had his hands slightly full over at the Michelin-starred Social Eating House. It’s a huge vault of a space, with warm red and orange hues giving you the impression of sitting inside a giant calzone…
…which is probably intentional since here, the menu is taking on an Italian bent. There’s pizzas with some seriously experimental toppings like confit lamb neck, aubergine, ras el hanout and yoghurt, which are cooked up in two giant ovens imported straight from Naples that stand imposingly behind the counter. That’s not all though; you can also expect more sophisticated dishes like confit pheasant and barolo risotto, small plates like oyster fritte and home-cured sea bass crudo, and pastas like the duck egg yolk and guanciale (cured pork cheek).
Upstairs on the mezzanine, meanwhile, is a bar inspired by vintage railway carriages, with spritzers on tap (as woefully few modern trains do), and reinventions of classic Italian concoctions like the Negrosé; with gin, strawberry and tonka bean Campari, and Cocchi rosa vermouth.
And for pudding? No self-respecting Italian joint could go without home-made gelato – and this particular joint is producing it in flavours like amaretto and vin santo, which you officially have to try.
Because as they say, when in Rome…
…you’re missing out on this place.
NOTE: Hai Cenato is open daily, and you can make bookings on their website HERE.
Hai Cenato | 2 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ
Need more Atherton? Get thee to Berners Tavern or Pollen Street Social.