Lina Stores is a historic institution in Soho, known for its charming, Instagram-friendly turquoise facade. Inside there is a unrivalled collection of Italian specialities and a delicatessen selling delicious Mediterranean produce.
And this Spring Lina Stores finally opened an eatery, so fans can try the delicious Italian ingredients cooked to perfection by the Italian head chef Masha Rener. Found on Greek Street, the restaurant is immediately recognisable from its signature stripy awning. Inside a counter offers an atmospheric dining experience or you can choose to sit downstairs in the cosy dining room. Food photographers like me will, I’m sure, opt for the outdoor seats, especially in balmy weather.
We were greeted with open arms and wide smiles, the staff seem genuinely pleased to see guests, despite being immediately popular with London diners. With guidance from our waiter we chose a selection of the most desirable dishes.
Favourites included the Aubergine Polpette, soft and beautifully seasoned with a crunchy coating and the simple but wonderful Toast with buffalo ricotta and spicy ‘nduja.
There are pasta dishes to suit every requirement, and the portion sizes lend themselves to sharing – I suggest 3 between 2. Gnudi is a rich but delightful vegetarian option, a flour-free pasta made with ricotta and spinach and served in a moreish brown butter and sage sauce. I also loved the delicately flavoured courgette & mint ravioli with a vibrant cherry tomato sauce and the Pici pasta with rustic woody porcini mushrooms and aromatic Umbrian sausage.
Desserts are often an afterthought at good casual Italian restaurants, but Lina excel here too. The Rich dark chocolate cake with whipped cream is perhaps the best of its kind I’ve tried in London, rich but light with a lovely moist texture. Lemon sorbet is great too, so creamy and smooth it could have been ice-cream, but I was assured it has no dairy in it!
Lina Stores is a great place to come for a snack and aperitif, quick pasta pick-me-up or a full blown Italian feast. With so many homemade pasta joints in town the competition is tough at the moment, but unsurprisingly Lina Rick every box, and I can’t wait to get back to try the rest of the menu.
More information and book a table here.