Lina Stores — London, UK
Legendary Italian delicatessen Lina Stores has been a Soho institution since 1944, with many an ardent pasta fan making a pilgrimage to its Brewer Street corner site. Now, almost 75 years later, the owners have opened a restaurant a few blocks away on Greek Street.
Architects Red Deer, unsurprisingly, took their cues from the original store, echoing its distinctive pistachio green-tiled, black and white facade in the new space’s interior and exterior colour palette. Diners are greeted by a mosaic floor embedded with the restaurant’s name, a green- and white-striped awning, and pale green cement tiles, leading into the two storey 53-seat space.
Art deco aesthetics flow through the ground floor 12-seater bar, with its sleek aluminium and formica countertop, padded green leather stools, fluted glass panels and globe lighting, and continue downstairs into the intimate basement restaurant, which sports a vaulted ceiling and raw whitewashed walls. Graphics, meanwhile, are by London design agency Everything in Between, who added a neat touch to the tiny tables, inlaying each corner with the letters of the restaurant’s name.
When this place is busy, which it invariably is, the poor acoustics mean you may have to speak loudly to your dining companion, but it’s a fair sacrifice for the hearty offerings of pasta, all handmade daily on site, tossed with simple but tasty ingredient combinations. A ricotta and herb gnudi with sage and brown butter was hard to desert, but leave room for dessert as there are top-notch cannoli on offer. Lina Stores’ restaurant looks on course to be another Soho institution.§