One of Brighton's best pizzerias branches out to Hove
The recently opened Hove branch is Fatto a Mano’s second location, following on from their very successful Brighton branch on London Road.
You can read more about my visit to Fatto a Mano, Brighton, here but essentially, I love it. A true neighbourhood pizzeria, serving up great quality, authentic Neapolitan pizza in a cosy, friendly setting. Fatto a Mano’s Hove branch promises much of the same so I was very happy to be invited down to the press launch to check it out and as it was also Antonia’s birthday, this saved me a few bob too 😉
Fatto a Mano, Hove is on a site previously occupied by Avenue so there wasn’t too much renovation work to do, but the team did completely remove a mezzanine level above what is now the oven/bar area, which has really opened up the space and allowed light to flood into the downstairs area. They also closed up the small main entrance to the side of the building, and moved it to the front, which was a fantastic idea, as the entrance now opens onto the gorgeous, sunlit terrace instead.
The layout contains many of the best elements from the Brighton branch but on a larger scale, including a mezzanine level and open bar/kitchen with the beautifully mosaiced oven on full display.
We arrived just after 8pm and were shown to a cosy table on the mezzanine to be introduced to our lovely server, Sasha. The mezzanine is nice and intimate but felt like most of the 450-degree heat from the oven had followed us upstairs, and the small fan behind me wasn’t doing much to cool me down.
On the night we visited, as well as the normal menu, the fantastic Sussex-themed set menu for Brighton’s inaugural OctoberBEST Festival was also on offer, which included a starter, main, dessert and drink for a very reasonable £20 price-tag.
Antonia went for the OctoberBEST menu and ordered a starter of Tronchetto – Brighton Blue cheese baked inside pizza bread and wrapped in Parma ham, with a rocket salad. There’s always a bit of a worry that set menu portions will be a bit stingy, but the opposite was true at Fatto a Mano as the Tronchetto was faaaaaar too big to be a starter and could have been served as a main in its own right. Mind you, I was more than happy to help Antonia finish it and steal a few of the generous slices of indulgent Parma ham.
Alongside a refreshing (and cooling) Aperol Spritz (£5.50), I ordered the starter I always order at Fatto a Mano… The Caprese (£6.50) – buffalo mozzarella with tomato, basil & olive oil. The tomatoes, basil and olive and muddled together and topped with a whole, creamy buffalo mozzarella – it’s a thing of beauty.
Images by Emma Gutteridge Photography.
Our pizza choices were the butternut squash, ricotta, Sister Sarah goat’s cheese (from Horsham), pine nuts, mozzarella and rocket from the OctoberBEST menu and a Capricciosa (£9) – tomato, ham, mushroom, artichokes, olives, salami, basil and mozzarella from the normal menu.
I really enjoyed my loaded Capricciosa but Antonia was a little disappointed with her choice. We both fell in love with a butternut squash based pizza at Homeslice in London, but Fatto a Mano’s version wasn’t able to live up to that memory. However, we ended up taking half of it home and I found it much tastier about a blast in the oven at lunchtime!
With our bellies full and our minds wondering how anyone could manage three courses here, we were persuaded in to dessert by Sasha. The Affogato Limoncello (£5) – lemon sorbet with Limoncello sounded like the smallest and most appropriate option at this point but we ended up with the world’s largest piece of Tiramisu instead. I was a bit surprised to find out that it comes from a local bakery rather than being made in-house but it was a great dessert nonetheless.
As I said, I’m a big fan of the original Fatto a Mano and the Hove branch is a really nice extension of the brand. The location on Church Road is an ideal spot for them and I have visions of people queuing up next summer to sit on that gorgeous terrace.
The space caters for a range of moods and occasions too, whether you’re after a laid back dinner sitting at the bar, watching the Pizzaiolos at work, a romantic date up on the dimly-lit mezzanine or a weekend lunch in the sun on the terrace, Fatto a Mano has you covered.
Service is very friendly and attentive, the quality of the ingredients speaks for itself and the menu is reasonably priced with starters from £3.50 and pizza from £5.50, making it great value as well. I think I prefer the Brighton branch but both live up their tag of ‘neighbourhood pizzeria’ brilliantly.