There are plenty of restaurants out there these days who like to use buzz words like ‘locally-sourced’ and ‘sustainable’ but do they deliver where it matters? Lino, situated between Farringdon and Barbican puts their money where their mouth is, so it isn’t just kitchen ingredients that are sustainably sourced but they’ve also upcycled restaurant decor fittings to offer a modern, industrial sheen to the proceedings with items like salvaged light fittings.
The kitchen team at Lino are just passionate chefs at heart so they pickle, ferment, bake and cure everything they use on their menu onsite. They mould their menu around what seasonal shrubs, vegetables, herbs, and fruits that are available.
Careful consideration has gone into every dish to ensure delivering a powerful taste memory long after you leave the restaurant. Sauerkraut and cheddar croquettes with truffle mayonnaise is one of their most popular dish and it’s not hard to see why that is the case with every mouthful an explosion of umami richness and particularly heartwarming during these wintry conditions.
This was likewise the case for their celeriac and truffle soup, which was much thicker in viscosity and richness than I would normally expect from similar offerings elsewhere and it had a lovely textural contrast with the crunch from the toasted hazelnuts.
I am not normally the kind of diner that opts to go vegetarian for all my courses but I did find their Delica pumpkin ragu pasta topped with walnuts and stichelton irresistibly appealing. The dense, orange flesh of the Delica pumpkin helped to give the pasta a vivid, mouthwatering colour and the fruit itself has an intense, buttery flavour. On top, you can taste the slightly caramelised notes due to the higher sugar content.
My guest opted for the Yorkshire lamb which by all accounts was equally tasty especially as it was served with salt-baked turnips and black garlic and had a decent distribution between the fattier and leaner parts of the meat. Although we had no room to try most of the sides, it was interesting to see such a British classic like pigs in blankets appear on the menu.
Being next to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, I did wonder if most of their guests are consultants from the hospital or visitors to the hospital, but during our visit, there was a varied clientele from people on business meetings to just diners appreciative of the modern British culinary offering.