Lina Stores started life as a humble deli in 1944 but it wasn’t until 2018 that it finally launched a spin-off restaurant. Thankfully Londoners haven’t had to wait another 74 years for a follow-up and the candy-striped pastel green interiors can now be found in King’s Cross.
It’s a big site set within a Victorian transit shed, with seating for 100 on banquettes and stools at the aperitivo bar beneath the opaline globe lights – a nice homage to the original Brewer Street deli – and an outdoor terrace for summer months.
We found the cooking to be hit-and-miss. Agnolotti verdi with slices of black truffle was our standout dish, creamy and rich from the ricotta filling. Crab and scallop rondini with a bright confit of tomatoes were a close second, each parcel packed with tender meat. The 30-yolk taglioni was more subtle but no less indulgent, with lashings of brown butter, parmesan and another hefty grating of black truffle.
We also ordered the globe artichoke – as did everyone else, judging by the platefuls of roasted artichoke we saw on neighbouring tables, fanned out and stuffed with parmesan and breadcrumbs, with a side of artichoke mayonnaise. However, it was difficult to discern the flavour of the artichoke itself and it looked more impressive than it tasted. Aubergine polpette, meanwhile, were distinctly average, and we’re still not convinced that pasta benefits from the small plates, sharing treatment.
Where this branch of Lina differs to the Soho originals, though, is with a carne and pesce menu, so you can order a pasta dish as a starter to be followed by the likes of crisp and succulent seabass with a side order of candied lemon-topped fennel.
We finished with profiteroles, which were nice enough, but not as nice as a very well-executed cannolo, its crunchy exterior stuffed with a ricotta filling and a sprinkling of chocolate and pistachio. Unsurprisingly, the wine list favours major Italian wines and the cocktail list features twists on the classic such as a Limoncello Spritz.