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Classic Italian at Lina Stores

I’ve been wanting to go to Lina Stores for ages but every time I went to book, they didn’t have any availability! That’s how popular it is. I finally managed to get a table for lunch on Saturday, so was it worth the wait?

Lina Stores restaurant on Greek Street

Lina Stores, the deli on Brewer Street, has been a Soho institution since 1944! It’s an absolute treasure trove of Italian delights and it’s where we go to buy our guanciale for making amatriciana. They also make fresh pasta and sandwiches on site, every day. Back in May 2018, they decided to open a restaurant around the corner, on Greek street and apparently they’ll be opening another in London soon.

The restaurant is styled in the same way as the deli – a gorgeous mint green with black and white touches. It has a real 50s feel to it. In fact, the glass fridge that houses their fresh pasta is from the 50s and apparently took six people to carry it into the restaurant!

Upstairs is counter seating only and it’s where you can watch the chefs making the pasta. We were actually sat downstairs but when we were leaving, one of the managers was chatting to us about the restaurant and I took a photo of one of the chefs in action.

Chefs in action at Lina Stores

Downstairs there are a number of tables as well as the bar, where there is seating for four people. The tables are fairly close together so we chose to sit at the bar. There’s no natural light at all downstairs and it reminded me of some of the basement restaurants we’ve been to in Italy that feel a bit like being in a cave (in a good way!).

Bar seating at Lina Stores restaurant
Downstairs tables at Lina Stores Restaurant

The concept at Lina Stores is that everything is small plates that is meant for sharing – even the pasta. We started by ordering some bread and two starters, whilst we decided on which pastas to go for.

The bread was toasted and absolutely delicious. They brought the bread with our starters, where I would have preferred it being brought straight away (as I was ravenous!). Next time we go, I’ll order it as we sit down!

Bread with olive oil at Lina Stores

We opted for the arancini with Trumpet mushroom and Taleggio and arancini with Gorgonzola and the Polpette di Melanzane, which is aubergine ‘meatballs’.

Arancini from Lina Stores

Both the arancini were delicious! And as they both had cheese, they were really oozy when you bit into them. YUM. You only get one of each so if you’re a fan of arancini, order two portions!

Oozy arancini at Lina Stores

I really liked the polpette di melanzane. Really crispy on the outside but soft inside. Super tasty!

Polpette di melanzane from Lina Stores

We ordered our pasta dishes as our starters arrived and chose the Pici alla Norcina, the Cappelletti in Brodo, the Ravioli di Zucca and Pappardelle con Ragu di Vitello.

The Cappelletti were filled with veal and the brodo was traditional – chicken stock. It’s very similar to Tortellini in Brodo, which is one of Bologna’s most famous dishes. They poured the brodo at the table, to keep it warm, and we started with this pasta. It was very good and the brodo was given the thumbs up by my husband. We both enjoyed this dish!

Pouring the brodo
Cappelletti in Brodo from Lina Staores

Next we started on the Pici alla Norcina. Pici is a type of pasta and it was served with Porcini mushrooms and Umbrian sausage meat. The flavour was lovely but I personally don’t like Pici as I find it quite stodgy. So I left my husband to eat it whilst I started on the ravioli.

Pici alla Norcina from Lina Stores

Luckily my husband isn’t a fan of ravioli with butternut, which meant more for me! It was served with a sauce of butter, sage and crushed hazlenuts from Piedmonte. It was quite al dente, and I think the pasta could have been slightly thinner, but it was delicious and I’d order it again.

Butternut ravioli from Lina Stores

The last pasta was the Pappardelle with veal ragu, rosemary and sage. It was very flavoursome but I think we made a mistake ordering four pastas as once because by the time we got round to eating it, it was lukewarm. Next time I think we’ll order two and then two mid-way through.

Pappardelle with veal ragu from Lina Stores

We were a bit full so didn’t order dessert, although the Amarena Cherry & Almond Tart caught my eye on the menu… My husband did have a macchiato though and declared the coffee ‘ very good’, which is high praise indeed from an Italian.

Macchiato from Lina Stores

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Lina Stores and will definitely be returning, especially as they change the menu every couple of months. Next time I’d like to sit upstairs though so I can see the chefs cooking the pasta!

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Classic pasta dishes at Lina Stores

2 Comments

  1. January 29, 2019 / 12:12 pm

    Ooh, I’d love to try this place! Will definitely add to my list for when I’m next in London x

    • Kirsty Marrins
      Author
      January 31, 2019 / 10:36 am

      It’s really good Rosie! Just be sure to book in advance! Tables seem to be like gold dust… x

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