Located between the Barbican and Farringdon, the focus at Lino is on sustainability – the buzzword of the day, but an important lifestyle choice to be made in the long-term. Housed in a former linoleum factory, the team here describe their ethos as one to “re-use, re-love and re-imagine”.
So what exactly does that mean for a restaurant? Their interiors feature salvaged light fittings and sustainably sourced materials. As such, they ride on the semi-industrial look very well: think open kitchen, central bar and overhead network of puffy silver vents, softened by dusky-toned armchairs and velvet-lined lounges for their table seating.
And more importantly, how does sustainability translate to the kitchen? The chefs here adopt a no-waste approach to food and bake their own open-crumbed sourdough bread and culture their own butter. They’re also big on fermentation and in terms of their deserts, they refashion pastries into a croissant bread and butter. Apparently, that’s one not to miss (although I didn’t try).
Moving on to the main menus, sure enough, the à la carte is compact and shows confidence. Split into small and large plates, both offer brilliant vegan and vegetarian options. I went for the suitably seasonal Autumnal salad of smoked beetroot and quinoa, kale, blackberries and cashew cream (£10). That plate, with its wonderfully vibrant appearance, was brilliant. Filled with a variety of textures – crispy kale, chicory, spinach – the leaves paired very well with the solid chunks of smoky beetroot and the creamy cashew addition.
Also excellent was the side of Potato flatbread with cannellini bean hummus (£6) (I can never resist an opportunity to sample a hummus variation). Smooth and well-seasoned, it complemented the beetroot salad very well.
The cooking at Lino is all exceptionally accomplished and good value, as you would expect from a chef like Richard Falk who has worked alongside Robin Gill at the Dairy in Clapham. Lino also offers notably well-crafted breakfast and brunch menus, and I hear it’s an excellent spot for after-work-drinks around the very attractive central bar.
Lino is an excellent asset to the no-mans area near the Barbican and conveniently closed to the City. I’m already planning my next visit for dinner to sample their pastas!
Lino, 90 Bartholomew Cl, London EC1A 7EB