A new neighbourhood Mediterranean restaurant, which has “taken influences from Tel Aviv,” will open in Notting Hill this September. Haya, which will open on Kensington Park Road, is inspired by founder Victoria Paltina’s visits to the Israeli city and head chef Oren King’s — an alumnus of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Roka — background in Tel Aviv. The duo want to focus on “simple Mediterranean sharing plates and nutritious, seasonal ingredients.”
Haya is the latest in an ever-growing number of modern Israeli restaurants opening in the capital. In addition to Yotam Ottolenghi’s group of cafes and more formal spots Rovi and Nopi, restaurants unified by a broad reimagining of Sephardic Jewish cuisine — often positioned as “Middle Eastern” — include Palomar, Barbary, Coal Office, Scully, Berber and Q, and the soon-to-open Bubala.
Paltina and King’s all-day operation will begin with breakfast, where Haya will serve cold-pressed juices, coffee, and morning dishes such as yoghurt with granola and honeycomb, goat’s cheese and egg white omelette, and porridge with mango puree and seasonal fruit.
Lunch is said to take cues from the “informality of Mediterranean dining culture” which could just as easily mean London’s own affection for bright and seasonal all-day dining. Dishes will include burrata, loquat compote, and citrus vinaigrette; quinoa salad, crumbled feta cheese, and pomegranate seeds; and spiced lamb cutlets served with honey yoghurt. Weekend brunch will feature shakshuka, as well as fried polenta cakes with parmesan and fried quail eggs.
At dinner, the kitchen will deploy another crowd-pleasing tactic: sharing plates, which here might include zaatar duck breast with freekeh risotto; crispy prawns, spiced yoghurt, and harissa; grilled octopus, with rainbow chard; and seared tuna with dukkah and homemade labneh.
The wine list will feature Israeli wines from the country’s five producing regions, as well bottles from the Eastern Mediterranean “Old World,” and a small number of organic bottles.
Press materials describe an open kitchen, lots of natural light, sash windows, oak flooring, textured concrete walls, plants all over the ceiling, and a ground floor dining room fitted with millennial pink marble tables, plus “velvet and terrazzo effect” fabric: It is Instagram-ready.
A basement will be designed differently but with a similar goal. It hopes to “take on the warmth of a Tel Aviv household” — with a large white marble sharing table and coloured walls with mirrors and art. It is described as having a “subtle nod to the Art Deco era.” The whole space has been designed by Alessio Nardi of A-nrd, the interior firm behind Darjeeling Express, Casa do Frango, Cocotte, and Noizé.
Founder Paltina said: “Haya means a lot to me — this is my middle name and is translated as ‘life’ in Hebrew. The word encompasses everything that I envision the restaurant to be: lively, social and familiar.
Having family spread all around the world allowed me to live and grow up between cities including Moscow, New York, London and Tel Aviv, so Haya takes inspiration from all of them and represents the best of each.”