This Spring, iconic Soho delicatessen Lina Stores will launch its first restaurant, ‘Lina Stores – 51 Greek Street’, with a menu inspired by the authentic ingredients that their Brewer Street store has become so synonymous with over the years.
Since original founder Lina opened the doors to the deli nearly 75 years ago, Lina Stores has become a Soho institution, providing homesick Italians and in-the-know Londoners with the very best ingredients that Italy has to offer. Head Chef Masha Rener fell in love with Lina Stores, the people and its unique atmosphere when she herself was a young Italian living in London and searching for authentic Italian produce nearly 2 decades ago.
After returning home to open a restaurant on her organic farm in Umbria, Masha remained a close friend and member of the Lina Stores family, as she travelled back and forth between the two countries sourcing ingredients, sharing recipes, and visiting family who lived in the capital. It was only when Masha sold her restaurant and returned to London that the Lina Stores team finally decided to open a restaurant, with Masha at the helm.
The menu will see Masha recreate many of Lina Stores’ beloved classics alongside lesser-known regional specialties and family recipes handed down through generations. All pasta will be hand-made every day at the 18 Brewer Street deli (as it has been since 1944) using Italian flour and fresh eggs. Dishes will include 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 prosciutti, cheeses and antipasti that Lina Stores has become so famous for over the years, will of course also be available as starters alongside a small selection of carefully sourced Italian wines, classic Italian cocktails and mush loved desserts.
The fifty-one-seat restaurant, set over two floors, will be evocative of the original Lina Stores deli and its instantly recognisable green, white and polished aluminium aesthetic featured throughout. Guests will be greeted by an open kitchen surrounded by an intimate twelve-seat bar with reclaimed globe pendant lighting and leather stools. Striped green and white floor tiles will lead guests down to the lower ground floor where a further thirty-six covers will be divided between bar seating and green tiled banquettes, complete with traditional terrazzo flooring.
“When Lina Stores was first founded, Soho was home to a thriving Italian community of Italian butchers, delicatessens, shops, restaurants and bars. Most of these independent businesses have slowly closed their doors but Lina Stores has remained a constant, a home away from home for many Italians like me in London,” says Head Chef Masha. “Many of our customers have been coming back to Lina Stores for years and we can’t wait to open our first restaurant, creating another destination where simple Italian cooking can be celebrated at affordable prices by all of our customers (old and new) for another 75 years to come’ she adds.