When is a delicatessen not simply a deli? When it’s also a restaurant! And Soho deli Lina Stores is about to open a second site, a pasta restaurant, in the biggest move for the store in its 75 year history and being led by a business woman and chef at the top of her game.
Lina opened in the 1940s to provide homesick Italians with original ingredients from back home. Since then it’s done a roaring trade, not only keeping Italian Londoners cupboards stocked up, but also becoming a real hit with the locals too. We’ve been shopping at Lina for all our essential pasta needs since its inception.
And so has Masha Rener. She fell in love with the Brewer Street store two decades ago when she arrived in London from Italy and kept in touch with the store when she returned to Umbria to set up a restaurant. Now she’s sold up in Italy and moved to London to set up a restaurant here, and it was only natural that it should be hand-in-hand with Lina Stores.
The restaurant has been designed to represent the restaurants and cafés of mid-century Italy and the 51-seater will be instantly evocative of the period, but with constant reminders of the shop’s London heritage round the corner on Brewer Street.
More importantly, the menu will be a medley of classics, but with lesser-known regional specialities thrown in. All pasta will be made on-site (as it has been since 1944) using Italian flour and fresh eggs, and dishes including Tortellini in brodo, Fusi all’Arrabiata; Spaghetti chitarra with baby clams and bottarga; Gnocchi stuffed with fresh ricotta and white truffle; Farfalle with ‘Nduja and wild fennel and Pappardelle with slow cooked rabbit ragu.
The food will be accompanied with some decent Italian wines, carefully sourced and classic Italian cocktails.
This is an exciting move for what has become a Soho institution, and one which can only end in a glass of fine wine and a bowl of pasta.
Lina Stores: the restaurant at Lina Stores is set to open late spring or early summer and will be at 51 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 4EH www.linastores.co.uk