Review: Fatto A Mano's Hove restaurant opening
Fatto a Mano arrived on London Road with a bang last summer, immediately creating a buzz amongst pizza lovers as a new contender for authentic Neapolitan pizza. With a lively neighbourhood atmosphere for friends and families alike, Fatto has secured itself as a real Brightonian favourite in just one year.
Needless to say, us Brighton Girls were pretty excited upon finding out that Fatto planned to expand their family and open a brand new restaurant on Church Road in Hove. Imagine our exhilaration, then, when we were invited along on opening night to experience a little bit of Naples in Hove!
We arrived at the brand new restaurant on a beautifully sunny evening and marvelled at the European-esque open front spilling onto the street, already full of happy patrons. We were welcomed by Helen, the new Hove manager, who showed us to our seats.
Not ones to miss out on an opportunity for an after-work tipple, we ordered an Aperol Spritz and pint of Poretti whilst we perused the menu. Eyes bigger than our bellies, we decided to start with garlic pizza bread with mozzarella and some Campania fries, which are seasoned with garlic, rosemary and sea salt.
The garlic pizza is your first opportunity to experience Fatto a Mano’s wonderfully pillowy dough, and it does not disappoint. Decked in mozzarella and fresh chopped garlic slices, the flavours are further infused with the drizzle of olive oil on top for an indulgent and satisfying starter.
Now, the Campania fries come in a massive portion so we would definitely recommend sharing these between a few people! Whilst exactly the type of fries I’d usually look for, crunchy and golden on the outside with soft, squidgy potato inside, they left us a little disappointed on the seasoning front, as the garlic went pretty much undetected and the rosemary was fairly sparse. However, they were incredibly moreish and we found ourselves unable to stop from devouring the entire plate. Waistbands already feeling tight by this point (mom jeans were a bad, bad choice that day), we took a short breather before the pizzas arrived.
Fatto a Mano are one of an increasing amount of pizzerias to offer white pizzas on their menu – pizzas without any tomato base whatsoever, usually topped with more mozzarella or creamy ricotta. Once a huge sceptic, I am pleased to say I have since become a white pizza convert! We ordered the Salsiccia e Friarielli (fennel and garlic sausage, Neapolitan broccoli, chilli, basil, mozzarella and parmesan) and the Rucola Prosciutto (parma ham, rocket, cherry tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and parmesan).
Fatto’s soft dough and top notch ingredients are proof that pizza does not need a tomato base in order to be tasty, so disbelievers pay attention! The fennel and garlic sausage of the Salsiccia e Friarielli was immensely flavoursome and brilliantly complemented by the Neapolitan broccoli (which tastes like the highflying lovechild of spinach and broccoli by the way). Put together with mozzarella, parmesan and chilli, I’m happy to say this is a serious contender for one of the best pizzas this Brighton Girl has ever eaten.
In the case of the generously topped Rucola Prosciutto, the Parma ham was silky, sweet and slightly salty, perfectly harmonising with the crunchy, peppery rocket, juicy cherry tomatoes and creamy mozzarella – a crowd pleaser to be sure. With a taste party like this going on inside your mouth, any thought for a tomato base would be long gone! We quickly admitted defeat and had our pizzas boxed up, but not Before another cheeky Aperitvo cocktail (the Hugo this time and hands down a clear winner of the two – elderflower liqueur, gin, soda, lime and mint).
Compared to its big sister restaurant, the Church Street site has tonnes of space, including split-level upstairs space overlooking the kitchen, an open front that expands onto the street and even a downstairs party room that can be booked out for larger parties. This new expansion for Fatto means everyone can get a slice of the action without big waiting times, as its sister can sometimes be known for on a Friday or Saturday evening!
For an opening night, and the first impression for many customers, the team absolutely nailed it, which can hopefully only mean good things for their continuing success. The atmosphere was already very much that of your favourite neighbourhood pizzeria and all of the team had smiles on their faces. With this alongside the incredibly reasonable pricing of the food, we’re already thinking about the next Brighton Girl pizza outing!