Lina Stores was one of the first Italian delis to open in Soho in 1944. 75 years later, they have just opened their second restaurant in King’s Cross, following hard on the heels of the Soho restaurant – in Greek Street – which opened last year. The chef is Umbrian Masha Rener. The King’s Cross branch is an all day restaurant, decked out in the familiar Lina Stores eau de nil.
At lunch, we start with an Amaro Sour which has an enjoyable bitter orange flavour and a non-alcoholic Nogroni, made with Seedlip Spice 94, alongside deliciously fat aubergine polpette. Two small pasta dishes are next: 30-Egg Yolk Tagliolini, with parmesan and black truffle (and those 30 yolks are pleasingly evident in the richness of the pasta) and crab and scallop rondini, with confit cherry tomatoes. These plump parcels are expertly judged but there are only four of them – you might need some steering from your waiter if you’re (understandably in Britain) accustomed to thinking of pasta as a main course. We then have enormous king prawns and a separate, roasted fennel dish which is slightly overwhelmed by the confit lemon it’s served with. There are exemplary sorbets for dessert and a tiramisu ice cream sandwich which will either have you wondering why you’ve never eaten one before or make you shake your head that they have dared tamper with a classic. Whatever your feelings about tiramisu, Lina Stores King’s Cross is a calm, comforting restaurant in a beautiful room that manages to be cosy and glamorous at the same time.