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Jason and Irha Atherton and The Social Company to launch Hai Cenato, a New York-Italian restaurant in the NOVA development in Victoria

Hai Cenato dish
On Tuesday 7th February, The Social Company will open the doors to Hai Cenato, the group’s first Italian restaurant. Launching within the NOVA Food development in London’s Victoria, the all-day eatery is the second collaboration between Jason and Irha Atherton and Chef Patron, Paul Hood, who also heads up Michelin-starred Social Eating House.

Translating as ‘Have you had dinner?’, the typical greeting from Italian hosts to their family and friends, the venue will be set across two floors, a 60-cover restaurant on the ground floor serving New York-Italian cuisine and a first floor 70-cover cocktail bar serving classic Italian cocktails with a twist and a selection of sparkling ‘taptails’.  

The casual New York-Italian style menu will span small plates, pasta and risotto, grills and specials, as well as the all-important selection of pizzas. Created in two large hand-crafted Stefano Ferrara ovens imported from Naples, the selection will include rossa and bianca bases, ranging from the classics to more unexpected flavour combinations such as confit lamb neck, spiced aubergine, ras el hanout, mint and yoghurt. Each month the menu will also feature a special created by a guest chef, a £1 of which will be donated to Hospitality Action, with forthcoming creations from Tom Kerridge and Paul Ainsworth in the pipeline.  

Small plates such as home-cured seabass crudo and Fowey Estuary oyster fritte will feature alongside pasta and risotto options including egg taglierini with duck yolk, aged guanciale and black peppercorn and confit pheasant and barolo risotto, with trevise, pancetta and parmesan. To end the meal, an assortment of homemade gelato and sorbets, in creative flavours of vin santo, amaretto, milk or quince, join the likes of pannacotta with blood orange and vincotto. Breakfast will also be served in the restaurant, with Italian-influenced dishes such as eggs cacio e pepe on sourdough.  

Bringing a neighbourhood feel to Victoria, the restaurant will also encompass a deli, with a large selection of breakfast and lunch dishes available to take-away from the deli counter throughout the day. Breakfast options will include 30-month prosciutto with castelefranco, spinach and a soft-boiled egg and smoked bacon and sweet balsamic onion sandwich on olive oil focaccia as well as Italian pastries, porridge and fruit pots. Lunch selections 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 take-away pizza.  

Located upstairs will be The Drunken Oyster, a striking cocktail bar designed to echo a vintage railway carriage in a nod to the site’s location next to Victoria station, situated on a mezzanine-level above the restaurant. Overseen by The Social Company’s Group Bar Executive, Jamie Jones, the drinks menu will feature a selection of cocktails inspired by Italian classics paired with British ingredients, including a selection of spritzes available on tap, dubbed ‘taptails’. These cocktails include 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.  

The interiors, overseen by Russell Sage Studio, are inspired by traditional Italian family restaurants with vintage light fixtures and deep blood-red snakeskin banquettes which evoke a simple and 'much-loved' hangout. Layers of wallpaper, peeled to reveal an imagined history, endow the space with a sense of heritage, with the pizza ovens located at the centre and forming the focal point where customers sitting at the counter can watch the chefs cooking the pizzas.

Commenting on the launch of Hai Cenato, Jason notes, “I’m really excited to be collaborating with Paul on another restaurant, he’s an incredible chef who I’m sure will repeat the success he’s had at Social Eating House in Victoria. We’ve taken some research trips to New York together and were really inspired by the amazing quality yet super casual, buzzy atmosphere of the Italian restaurants out there – that’s what we are trying to recreate in Hai Cenato.”

Reservations for Hai Cenato will go live on Wednesday 18th January.

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