Italian chef Nicola Batavia is opening his first UK restaurant in London next month, which he says will be a “luxury Italian home” serving “fine-dining Italian cuisine”.
Due to open on 1 June in west London, Casa Batavia will aim to bring a taste of Batavia’s home town Turin to the UK, both in terms of food and atmosphere.
“What I want to bring here is my own philosophy: clear, Mediterranean food, in a warm atmosphere,” said Batavia. “When you come to my restaurant it’s like you’re coming into my house. Maybe it’s a luxury house, but it’s still my house, and when I receive customers here I need to give the same welcome as I do in Turin.”
“The glasses, the cutlery, everything is from Italy. Not because I don’t find good glasses in the UK, but because I’m bringing my home here,” he told BigHospitality.
Batavia currently runs two restaurants in Italy, Ristorante Birichin in Turin and La Kava on the Liguirian coast.
He is partnering with restaurateur Paolo Boschi in his first UK venture. Boschi, who has been in the UK for the past 40 years, has previously headed up several restaurants in London including the eponymous Da Paolo.
Located at 135 Church Street, Casa Batavia is spread over two floors. The ground floor includes a bar and 28 covers, while the first floor will offer private dining for 15 people.
The interior is designed to be “simple and elegant”, with natural colours and black and white artwork from modern Italian artist, Osvaldo Cavandoli. The private dining room is decorated with photos of Turin and books about the city.
The menu will be based on “good ingredients and simple food”, overseen by head chef Daniele Mirconi, with a meal priced at £40 and over.
Dishes will include rabbit salad cooked in extra virgin olive oil, artichokes and green sauce, linguine with baby squid, wild fennel and smoked ricotta and chocolate and amaretto soufflé, chilli truffles and hot chocolate sauce.
Batavia said he’ll be importing many of the ingredients from Italy.
“Turin is one of the food and wine capitals in Italy. Every time I go, I meet small producers – and I bring their products back to the UK,” he said.
“A month ago I brought over 55 kilos of food – from herbs (wild fennel from the south of Italy), to cheese (Castelmagno, from Piedmont), to salt from Sicily – because that’s how I recognise my taste.”
Batavia said he has no plans to expand his restaurant to other UK locations for the time being, as he will continue to split his time between London and Italy.