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.