SquareMeal Review of Lino
A former linoleum warehouse doesn’t sound like the sexiest of spaces to open a restaurant, but that’s exactly where Lino has decided to set up shop, with its chic all-day restaurant and bar. Lino’s name is one of few subtle nods to the venue’s past life, including exposed pipes and sanded-down wooden doors. Mostly though, this is a stylish proposition, completed by powder-blue and salmon-pink furnishings, and brass fixtures.
The menu is a timely snapshot of London dining culture: it’s big on fermentation and pickling (Lino cultures its own butter and bakes excellent sourdough in-house), it champions vegetables alongside meat – seen in the pairing of flank steak with the humble likes of watercress and horseradish – and the menu lends itself to sharing-style dining.
From the snacks, we were most taken with the crisply-coated croquettes which burst with the umami taste of sauerkraut and Montgomery cheddar – they’re served in a portion of three though, so prepare to fight over the last one. From the more substantial dishes, a lean fillet of grilled mackerel is complemented by oyster mayonnaise and sharp discs of house pickled cucumber, while a velvety meat-free lasagne makes the most of autumnal ingredients: buttery folds of pasta conceal puréed pumpkin and Jerusalem artichoke, topped with a generous helping of parmesan shavings.
At dessert, the school dinner staple of bread and butter pudding is given a much welcomed update, swapping out standard bread for a croissant base and glazed with shimmering marmalade, resulting in a delightfully playful mix of sugar and stodge. Fair pricing and cool, casual staff add to Lino’s appeal – perhaps it’s a little too on-trend or a little too manufactured, but unlike some style-over-substance offerings in the Square Mile, Lino backs itself up with a considered and well thought-out menu.
Conveniently located between Barbican and Farrington stations Lino is a bar, restaurant and private hire space housed in a converted Linoleum factory and promising a new, innovative approach to drinking and dining in the city. Everything in the restaurant is based around recycled, reused and reloved products from the food through to the décor. Sustainability is at the heart of Lino’s ethos and the team work tirelessly to salvage rubies in the rubble and provide a quality dining experience that people can enjoy with a clean conscience. Baking, fermenting, pickling and curing are just some of the methods employed by the chefs to ensure that nothing goes wasted that could otherwise be enjoyed.
The venue’s interiors are warehouse style with exposed brickwork, pipes and pendant lighting adding to the casual and informal atmosphere. Tables are well spaced and a large accessible bar area makes this a popular stop for post-work drinks.
In keeping with current trends, the menu is split into small and large plates with a strong focus on local, ethically sourced and seasonal ingredients. From the smaller dishes diners will find the likes of sauerkraut and cheddar croquettes with truffle mayonnaise; grilled Cornish mackerel with Porthilly oyster mayonnaise and pickled cucumber; and ‘wonky’ butternut squash noodles, seaweed broth, seasonal greens and cashew. From the more substantial options, highlights include Middle White pork chop with LINO barbecue sauce, hispi cabbage, bacon crumb and smoked apple; spiced aubergine, crispy chickpeas, black rice and hung yoghurt; and beer battered haddock with triple cooked chips, peas and warm tartare sauce.
Dessert choice is limited but enticing. For something sweet diners can choose between a nectarine and croissant frangipane with crème fraiche ice cream and a chocolate and peanut tart with raspberry sorbet or for a savoury option a selection of Neal’s Yard cheeses comes accompanied with seasonal chutney and levain crackers.