London: Eating my way through Nova Victoria Part One

Food and wine at Nova Victoria
Nova Victoria

Nova Victoria has been a classic London building project. I am not exaggerating when I say I think it started about 10 years ago. I used to go through Victoria every day for work about 6 years ago and it was a building site then. As a londoner you get used to this and you learn to imagine that these huge inconvenient constructions will never finish so that you can be pleasantly surprised once they are. And this is the case with Nova Victoria – not only is it now nearly finished it is fantastic! They have done a fantastic job attracting some of London’s best restaurants and I am determined to try all of them! Now there are a few so this is just part one……..

  1. Hai Cenato – Jason Atherton

I do love anything Jason Atherton does – Social Eating House, Social Wine and Tapas (i think my favourite), Little Social – I think I have visited nearly all of his London restaurants at least once and I have had a fantastic meal EVERY time.

Menu at Hai Cenato
Hai Cenato Menu

Hai Cenato means “Have you had dinner” – a typical greeting from Italian hosts apparently. The ground floor is New York-Italian cuisine and then upstairs is a bar with seating for 70 which is very cute and cool AND it has a fantastic name – the Drunken Oyster. We started our evening with a drink up there – it is worth popping in there for a drink whether you are eating downstairs or not. They have obviously spent alot on the fit out as quality cues are everywhere with fantastic farrow and ball-esque styling in dark colours.

Hai Cenato is a bit more relaxed than the average Jason Atherton restaurant – the food and style is more about casual vs full on dining. The menu is more casual as well but no less delicious and interesting – it was difficult in a good way to decide what to have. We started with the ravioli with walnut and mint. This was a taste sensation – absolutely outstanding. W then went on to the octopus and squid with lentils which was an unexpected but delicious combination.

Delicious pasta at Hai Cenato
Ravioli with walnut and mint

Next up were the pizzas – wow wow wow!!! The base is perfection – light but fluffy but firm but perfect! We had one of each – a Rossa meat extravaganza and then a Bianca with Taleggio and Chanterelles which was the other highlight of the meal. We washed this down with a bottle of delicious Vermentino. And all at a very reasonable price.

Pizza at Hai Cenato
The Pizza

2. Rail House Cafe

From the creators of the fabulous Riding House Cafe in Soho comes the Rail House Cafe. This is much bigger than the Riding House and has a large upstairs bar area which is where I went. They also have a large outdoor area as well as a private dining room.

Bar at the Rail House Cafe nova Victoria
Upstairs at the Rail House Cafe

There was a nice big wine list to choose from. I didn’t eat but I did check out the menus – the brunch in particular looks like one not to be missed.

Glass of wine at the Rail House Cafe
Wine at the Rail House

3. Timmy Green

This was my first experience of going to a restaurant that proclaimed its cuisine as being Australian! Timmy Green is from the team behind Daisy Green and Beany Green. Unsurprisingly Timmy Green is big on brunch but I went along for dinner. It is quite a large lovely glass restaurant. There is a bar area on the left when you walk in that is a nice size.

Entrance to Timmy Green Nova Victoria
Timmy Green entrance

The staff are super friendly. We asked for recommendations and were directed to the very delicious haloumi fries – haloumi served in a fry format – no potatoes in sight. And we decided to continue the deep fried theme with the rather delicious popcorn shrimp. We then cleverly offset this with the chicken salad that came with a delectable chimichurri dressing. It would be remiss of me not to mention for all my australian readers that Timmy Green has something rather unique for London on its menu – Chicken Parmigiana! It is a giant version that serves 2. For the non aussies reading this a chicken parmy is an australian classic – breaded chicken with a tomato sauce and cheese on the top. It’s not for me but it is for many and it is quite tasty!

Popcorn Shrimp at Timmy Green
Popcorn Shrimp

And then there was dessert. So we had been pretty happy with our meal to date but we could not ignore the delicious sounding dessert menu. And oh my goodness the desserts were AMAZING and the highlight of the meal! We ordered two and shared. They are good sizes – we did not manage to finish despite a pretty good effort. We went with the Melbourne Mars Bar Cheesecake with double cream and the salted caramel brownie sandwich with salted caramel ice cream and dulce de leche. These were as good as they sounded and we rolled out of Timmy Green.

Mars Bar Cheesecake at Timmy Green
Melbourne Mars Bar Cheesecake
brownie sandwich at Timmy Green Victoria
Salted caramel brownie sandwich

4. Sourced Market

I first visited Sourced in Marylebone only a couple of months ago and was an instant fan. It is a mix of a deli, upmarket supermarket, lunch spot, wine bar and just filled with delicious looking well packaged foods! Sourced work with small artisan producers and are open all day.

I visited for lunch and had a delicious salad and quiche. They have several communal tables and it is a great buzzy atmosphere.

Nova Victoria
Nova Victoria

Nova Victoria also has a Shake Shack, Bills, Pret, Benugo and many others of your favourite high street food chains.


Also published on Medium.

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