90 Bartholomew Close EC1A 7EB
Tucked away behind Smithfield Market in the no-man’s-land between Barbican, St. Paul’s and Chancery Lane, Lino, with its expansive, chic interior and considered menu, is a welcome addition to the Square Mile.
We don’t know what we were expecting décor-wise, but walking in here, we were seriously wowed. The former warehouse space is huge, comprising a standalone central bar, banquette and sofa seating, a PDR, a casual dining and coffee space and additional downstairs seating. It’s rare to see a restaurant this big that hasn’t been packed out with tables to squeeze in extra covers; there’s a real feeling of space and room to breathe here. Décor wise, it’s simple and classic: think marble tables, velvet sofas and banquettes, dark wood panelling, gold plating and of course – lino accents.
Richard Falk (The Dairy) has done well to create a seasonal, low-waste menu that doesn’t feel like a mish-mash, but a considered combination. You’ll notice a lot of pickled and preserved elements on the menu, but they work: we loved the sauerkraut and cheddar croquettes, the game pâté en croûte and the marmalade accompaniment to our croissant bread pudding – surplus is being used inventively here. If you’re a meat eater, you’ll be in your element – both our lamb and pork belly were outstanding, and benefitted from BBQ baby gem on the side.
Lino is equal parts bar and restaurant, so drinks are high on the priority list here. The cocktails are a highlight, and there’s a chance to have some fun with white Russians and tequila sunrises. In fact, the cocktails are so good that our guest decided to stick with them throughout the meal.
Our seats. Try and request the blue sofas: a sofa each and a low table makes for cosy, intimate dining.
Don’t just consider Lino for dinner – it’s an all day affair and the breakfast menu looks GOOD. The space at the back would be great to have a coffee and get some work done, too.