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Cento Uno

From the couple behind the successful neighbourhood restaurants Number 97 in Surbiton and One One Four in Teddington comes Surbiton's newest most eclectic pizzeria, Cento Uno. Buon Appetito!

THE LOCATION

Sitting proudly on the corner of Maple Road and St Leonard’s Road in this leafy part of Surbiton – a short walk from the town centre – is quite probably the hippest pizzeria in town. It’s been billed as the younger and more unruly cousin of Number 97, the trendy restaurant and gin bar next door.

Number 97 aside, Cento Uno is in pretty good company. This little corner of Surbiton is a happening little place with a great choice of restaurants, bars and restaurants.

THE VIBE

Cool and funky with a steely simplicity. The domed pizza oven takes centre stage and, as the restaurant is on a corner site, most of the tables also are also by the windows. And there are lots of windows here – so on a sunny Thursday autumn evening before the clocks went back there’s a lovely light and bright ambience. When the sun goes down, the designer lighting takes over and more cosy and relaxed ambience settles in. It’s all rather pleasing.

SCOFF & QUAFF

Food-wise, the key is simplicity. A smattering of antipasti: house breads with Tuscan olive oil and balsamic, Italian cured meats, grilled sardines and Sicilian arancini. Seven choices make up the primi (pasta) menu, and the pizza menu is similarly brief. There are also a couple of specials for those who want to swerve the carbs (grilled sirloin, red millet and baked aubergines).

Cento Uno pizza dough is made using the traditional Neapolitan method known as Biga, which is naturally fermented for 20 hours. This is followed by a 48 maturation, and the result, they say, is a soft light crust that is very easily digested. I can’t argue with that.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s go back to starters. We ordered two starters – the Sicilian arancini and the sardine grigliate (sardines with roasted peppers and tomato salsa). Both got wide smiles and a massive thumbs up.

For mains we did the sharing thing again – a calamarata pasta and a four seasons pizza – eating half each then switching plates. I loved both! And yes, that pizza crust, lives up to the hype. It’s soft and light and perfecto!

Theoretically, I could have finished there. But I do like a sweet little something to round off my dinner – and for me it was the Sgroppino, a kind of pudding-cocktail hybrid, made with lemon sorbet, Limoncello Evangelista and Prosecco. Ahhh yes! This is my kind of pudding – full of booze, but also light, sweet and very tasty. Mr M chose the Tiramasu, and while I did once catch him glance longingly at my pud/cocktail hybrid, I think he was perfectly happy with his own choice.

KID-FRIENDLY?

It’s pizza, innit? So of course it’s kid-friendly. But on the Thursday evening we went, there was also a distinctive cool, urbane vibe to Cento Uno, so it depends on how old well behaved your kids are. I’d probably leave squabbling little-uns at home.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Families, groups, couples.

Not for: I honestly can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like Cento Uno – but I suppose if you’re a massive carb avoider, then you might not love it.

The damage: Starters are £6.50-£8; pizza and pasta is £8-£12; specials (grilled sirloin, grilled red mullet, etc) £12-£18, puddings are £5-7.

Cento Uno, 101 Maple Road, Surbiton, KT6 4AW. centouno.co.uk

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