Eat this: Lina Stores, playing with Italian classics

The cult Italian outfit has decided to bring together its two concepts – deli and restaurant – and launch in King’s Cross.

2 July 2019
italianmeatpastarestaurant openingrestaurants
  • The Gist: A deli with Italian pantry essentials meets a restaurant where fresh pasta takes centre stage
  • The Chef: Masha Rener
  • Location: 21 Stable Street, King’s Cross, London N1C 4DR
  • Food in 5 words: Making old school Italian hip
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How did we get here?

Its 75 years since Lina Stores, the Italian delicatessen, opened in Soho. Not one to be rushed on expansion plans, it opened its first restaurant on Greek Street last year.

Now, it’s ramping things up with a deli and restaurant coming to Kings Cross, both housed under one roof for the first time. The combination site will open this autumn within a Victorian transit shed behind Granary Square and seat 100 people.

It’s following a trend that Food Spark noted last year where the lines between retail and restaurant are being blurred, with the likes of Tart, On The Bab and Tortilleria El Pastor also investing in the concept.

“Lina Stores has always welcomed Italians seeking a taste of home, people travelling to visit from across the UK and Londoners who return again and again to stock up on quality Italian ingredients,” said Marina Dentamaro, who has managed the deli at 18 Brewer Street for a decade. “We can’t wait to have a restaurant and deli all under one roof in King’s Cross.”

What’s different about it?

Diners and shoppers can watch as fresh pasta is made by hand while enjoying an espresso, freshly made-to-order sandwich or an after-work aperitivo.

The theatre of the open counter kitchen will be a big draw card of the new space, while sunken booths and long banquette seating will be illuminated by the glow of the same opaline globe lights which first lit the deli at Lina Stores 75 years ago.

The deli at King’s Cross will feature salumi, cheeses, antipasti and fresh pasta to eat in or take away.  Meanwhile, at the restaurant, the menu will remain simple and traditional, including signature pasta dishes from Brewer Street and Greek Street alongside new dishes.

“Over the course of its 75-year history, Lina Stores has become a beacon for Italian culinary culture in London and I’m so proud to be a part of it,” said Lina Stores head chef Masha Rener. “It’s been a really exciting year opening our restaurant on Greek Street, uncovering traditional recipes found across Italy, as well as celebrating Lina’s age-old recipes and my own families. We’ll be adding even more to our menu in King’s Cross and I can’t wait to open our doors later this year.”

While pasta is the focus, there will also be a pared back selection of secondi such as overnight beef cheeks in Barolo as well as seasonal fish, seafood and vegetarian options.

A traditional Italian dessert trolley will feature classics like rum baba, a yeast cake saturated in syrup, Genoese cake, Monte Bianco made with chestnuts, chocolate and whipped cream, crostata di frutta (fresh fruit tart), tiramisu, cannoli and the chocolate and almond Caprese cake, as well as home-made gelato.

You’ve got to try...

Osso bucco ravioli with bone marrow butter. Transforming this dish of veal shanks stewed in wine and veg is another trend creeping onto the Italian scene. More commonly, it has been seen in pizzas, which are taking inspiration from pasta sauces, but it’s part of a movement towards reinventing Italian classics in a new format.

Veal is also said to be making a comeback in conscious foodie circles, with Gizzi Erskine posting a pasta dish of veal ragu recently on Instagram. More specifically, it’s all about ruby veal – a cut with more intermuscular fat because the calves are raised on mother’s milk and they graze on grass, rather than the practice of a low-iron, milk-based diet to keep the meat white.

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Duck egg yolk tagliolini with parmesan and fresh truffles, putting a spin on this ribbon pasta with the use of different eggs.

Go if...

You want playful takes on pasta.

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