When Ask Italian moved from the Lansdowne and into the Bh2 complex in early 2017 there were a lot of questions about who could possible fill their shoes. Would another national chain make its home in that prime corner of town or would a bold independent take this rare opportunity to make their mark on the town’s burgeoning restaurant scene?
We didn’t have to wait long before giant pizza ovens and big-personality branding was spotted being carried up the steps and through the archway of this striking venue and the Hungry Oven immediately made its mark.
Swipe, order, eat
Now, while the town has had a recent rush of new Italian kitchens something at the very heart of the Hungry Oven is the way you place your orders. The owners Matteo and Gustavo commissioned a dedicated app customers can use to make their order from their table whenever they’re ready. Simply download from your chosen app store, browse the menu and scan your table number. You can even pay through the app or pay at the bar – whatever suits you.
The Hungry Oven has a really laid-back approach to its business. They take reservations but also welcome walk-ins and the décor and menu are friendly, fun and emanate a passion for simply good Italian food presented with home-grown hospitality.
While the restaurant seemingly sprung up from nowhere the founders worked painstakingly to piece together their dream. This attention to detail went so far as to fly in an Italian chef to help them develop their signature style for resident chefs Costantino and Ricardo to share with the town.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfasts range from a full English and butter and jam or Nutella on toast to prosciutto ham and mozzarella grilled toast.
The main menu is bursting with simple, yet sophisticated dishes, beautifully considered and presented. The extensive list of nibbles ranges from the thrilling Pizza Montanara (fried pizza dough filled with melted mozzarella and topped with tomato sauce, parmesan and basil). The creamy Arancino risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella are simply mouth-watering while other highlights include tasty homemade polenta sticks and a delicious eggplant parmigiana.
You’ll find some quirky but tempting specials on the menu like the Elephant’s Ear (giant breaded veal chop), plus treats like a handmade burger before you move on to the real Italian kitchen.
Giant pan pizza
The Hungry Oven offers just three varieties of pizza topping but they’re more than enough to handle! Prepared and baked in a giant, deep paella pan, your Margherita, Pepperoni or Hawaiian is served by the slice (think 350g wedge) or as a whole for a full 2kg of pizza in six giant slices! The pasta menu is equally lavish, inspired by their mum Lorena and their auntie Nadia with delectable dishes such as the Pasta Nadia, a five-hour traditional tagliatelle with tomato ragu sauce and baby ribs scattered with parmesan.
If the kids are a little less adventurous there is a selection of unintimidating dishes to suit their tastes including mac and cheese, nuggets and chips and, of course, a pizza slice and there’s even a couple of salads thrown in there if you can manage to draw your eye away from the giant pizza oven long enough to consider a lighter option.
A refreshing change
If you’ve any room for afters there is a selection of cakes and ice creams for dessert but the cocktail menu is really where you should focus your attention. There’s an extensive line-up of all the popular classics including Margheritas, Mojitos, Caipirhanas and Espresso Martinis plus a decent wine list and selection of soft drinks too.
If you’re looking for an Italian Kitchen with big flavours and even bigger ambitions, pop in and check out the Hungry Oven the moment hunger strikes. You’ll be sure of a warm welcome and fairly priced Italian light bites and plates all ready to go at the touch of a button – simply swipe, order, eat.