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SquareMeal Review of Luca

Gold Award

The second outing from The Clove Club’s Isaac McHale, Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis proves that the Young Turk trio are more than one-hit wonders. Luca, they say, is a ‘Britalian’ restaurant – ie Italian cooking recast with British ingredients. It’s a clickbait-friendly concept, although the most striking feature of the place is its styling, which suggests 1950s Italian design adapted for current London restaurant trends: no tablecloths, fabulous lighting and a pasta-making room that transforms into a private dining space once the day’s work is done. Meals follow the classic four-course format, but go easy on breakout stars such as the Parmesan fries (actually gloriously gooey churros) if you want to make it to dessert. Pasta was the unequivocal highlight for us, from spaghettini laced with Morecambe Bay potted shrimps (blitzed into a buttery, bisque-like sauce) to classic pumpkin and chestnut ravioli, still with some stiff al dente bite. Elsewhere, we also liked softly crusted roast scallops sitting on an earthy splodge of Jerusalem artichoke purée, with ’nduja butter bleeding down the gutters of their shells, and a hefty rump of Hereford beef lined with a crisp sliver of pancetta – although a delicious plate of Hebridean lamb chops with rosemary breadcrumbs and mashed swede seemed more ‘gastropub’ than ‘gastronomia’. The only real let-down was service, which was standoffish, slow off the mark and dodgy in the wine department. Alternatively, nibble on sandwiches, salads and small plates in the bar, which is as beautifully designed as the rest of the restaurant. 

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Good to know about Luca

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Italian
Ambience
Cool, Lively
People
Group dining [8+], Special occasions

Luca Also Offers

Luca
Private Group Dining

Special offers from Luca

5-course Chef's Menu at £68

From: 17 April, 2019
To: 31 July, 2019
Max: 6
Let our Chefs write a five-course menu especially for your table, showcasing the finest ingredients and dishes that Luca has to offer, served in our main dining room. Perfect for special occasions.

Location for Luca

88 St John Street, London, EC1M 4EH

0203 8593 3000

Website

Opening Times of Luca

Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -5pm)

Reviews of Luca

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3 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

David H

Good cooking here .
20 January 2019  
Our first visit on a Saturday lunchtime; I mentioned on the phone that we may try the set lunch, for which we were banished to the bar rather than the restaurant proper. A bit strange in that we ended up with 4 courses, and they were on the phone initially keen that we sit on bar stools rather than at a table or booth- which we've decided isn't the way we like to eat a restaurant meal, but sensibly they relented and we got a perfectly comfortable booth. Still don't really understand why we couldn't get in a half empty restaurant though? Anyway the meal we had today was delightful- tasty spicy lamb arancini snack; followed by a small course of Gnocchi with cacio e pepe. This was to both of us the highlight , the sauce emulsified perfectly and strongly flavoured as it should be, the gnocchi bearing no relation at all to anything you might buy at a supermarket. They were light, almost floaty , with a supremely delicate flavour. Frankly just give me 3-4 courses of that and forget the rest! Not that the rest was in any way poor. We both picked the duck confit from the 4 mains on offer, and whilst this is something I'd tend to associate with a gastropub rather than an Italian restaurant, it was cooked and presented very nicely with green lentils and a side of wonderful roast potatoes with fennel seeds . Dessert was an intensely flavoured lemon tart with a little fennel ice cream. We enjoyed our bottle of a Puglian Primitivo too. Service was pleasant and decently paced throughout. The 3 course set meal is £23 and we thought this was extremely fair for food of this quality, albeit that portions tend to be small. With service and a bottle of wine , we left with a bill for £92. Go again- I'm sure we will, just so long as they don't refuse to give us comfortable to sit!
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Ms/Mrs. Chris H

Garden Room
12 September 2018  
We had another great celebration lunch in the Garden Room last week. The staff were very efficient. The food as good as ever. Their wine list is exceptional. Well worth a visit.
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Ms/Mrs. Chris H

Private Dining
29 June 2018  
As a result of seeing a recommendation by Square Meal last year regarding private dining rooms, we booked the Pasta Room at Luca for our 2017 Christmas celebration for 10 people and then booked the Garden Room in June 2018 for 8 people to celebrate a 60th birthday. We selected the £55 per head set menu and the restaurant accommodated all the various dietary requirements we have. They have an excellent wine and drink list. We plan on returning to Garden Room in September 2018 for another celebration.
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