Sunday, 5 February 2017

Hei Cenato - Have you had dinner?

Jason Atherton, ignores recent downturn in the service sector and opens yet another restaurant, Hei Cenato, for our delectation and delight. Temple and Sons, based in the City, opened to rave reviews a few weeks ago and now he's heading south into relatively unknown territory, Nova, Victoria. 

This is Jason's first venture into the Italian restaurant scene and I sense a possible theme that could be replicated in other parts of the UK...Jamie Oliver watch your back!

Frustratingly, this restaurant is very hard to find. Located in the middle of a building site and well hidden from obvious view it is only 5 minutes walk (when you know where you're going) from Victoria main line and underground stations.

Nova, is a massive development boasting 17 restaurants. A smorgasbord of culinary delights, including Shake and Shack, Aster, and Greenwoods, to name just 3.

The restaurant officially opens on 7th February but I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of what to expect. Once through the curtained doorway your straight into the restaurant and immediately two huge pizza ovens grab your attention. This is where all the action is and the closeness of the tables to the kitchen adds to a buzzy but relaxed atmosphere.

The menu is extensive with a wide variety of 'small plate' starters, pizzas, pastas and desserts. Many dishes are available to share. This will suit  the business brigade and hordes of hungry shoppers looking for a glass of Prosecco and pizza combo before heading home. Early morning commuters will also be able to pick up their caffeine shots and pastries to go.

This new venue also has its own bar, The Drunken Oyster, which will serve classic Italian Cocktails with typical Jason Atherton twists. of Octopus and Black Bean and Sea Bass are beautifully presented on colourful plates. Whilst presentation is fairly minimal and some might even say rustic the overall flavour and tenderness of the octopus was awesome as was the ceviche of Sea Bass which was again full of wonderful flavours.
It should be said that the team are full of energy and keen to explain every element of the menu. Unsurprisingly, they almost all seem to be Italian!
Artichoke Pizza - New York
Obviously, pizza, features heavily on the menu. Each pizza is presented on a stand which encourages you to share with your dinner date. 
In comparison to a typical New York pizza from Artichoke Basille, these have been scaled down to suit the UK waste lines and it just goes to prove that size isn't everything especially when it comes to pizzas! The fennel sausage topping was delicious and not at all overpowering, perfectly balanced.
Artichoke Pizza - New York
Whilst starters and main courses received high praise I could not say the same for my dessert, Brioche and Gelato Burger,  which had me beaten. It was just too much after pizza. It didn't help that it was also lacking any colour.
Overall a promising start and an enjoyable and tasty meal. Fairly pricey for an Italian. Jason and his team seem to have every hour of the day covered!

Hei Cenato - 2 Sir Simon SW1E 5DJ, Milton Rd, London SE24 0NL


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