Lina Stores is a legendary central London joint, located in Brewer Street, bang in the middle of ever changing and ever happening Soho. The Italian delicatessen has been trading its fine produce since 1944 – fresh pasta made in-store and its must-have cannolis included.
I have been in love with Lina for the past 15 years – that is the longest relationship I have ever had. I mean who wouldn’t fall in love with fresh made pasta, exquisite wine and the broadest smiles in London?
When I first entered though its corner wooden door, the delicatessen was a profusion of fragrant tomatoes, pannetones, fresh past hanging to dry and cold meats. That was 15 years ago. Working in Soho has never been so tasty since – veggie antipasti or the breads and sandwiches. If you can, don’t miss the prosciutto di parma with mozzarella or the ventricina and taleggio cheese paninis, and specially the cannolis, a Sicilian dessert of deep-fried pastry filled with sweet ricotta – made world famous after The Godfather.
The store, a family business at its roots, was given a very smart rebranding recently, without loosing its original charm and familiar ambience with the addition of a nearby restaurant.
The restaurant opened to great delight of a loyal clientele of the delicatessen. Just around the corner from the original address, the Greek St space – the street itself is a must-go-to destination as it has become an incubator of new restaurant concepts in town – was designed by architects Red Deer, who took inspiration from the original store.
The interiors and exterior are a retro inspired tale of the brand’s trademark pistachio colour that accents the décor – beautiful green tiles, retro bar seats and furnishings – all offset by a black and white façade, mosaic floor and diner like retro chairs and tables. The 53-seat space exudes art deco aesthetics with ground floor 12-seat bar, sleek aluminum and formica countertop, comfy padded pistachio-green leather stools, fluted glass panels and globe lighting.
The graphics were produced by London design agency Everything in Between, adding an elegantly cool touch to the tables, inlaying the letters of the restaurant’s name in each corner as well as in the mirrored shelves.
Lina Stores is a seminal part of the story of Italian food and culture in London. It is alive with a vibrant Genovese energy that nurtures food to nurture the soul.