On the newly redeveloped Bartholomew Close, by Barts Hospital and at the end of the road round the bend after the Neaman Practice, you will find LINO, a new all-day every day restaurant in the Barts Square zone. The name of the restaurant was chosen because the building used to be an old linoleum and carpet warehouse. The new interior has fondly kept the warehouse feel with original brown glazed tiles and 12-foot high double doors.
The whole of this area, as you may know, has been gutted or rebuilt, so it is a credit to the designers that they have salvaged some of the décor for the cavernous interior. Huge windows on 3 sides and outside seating create a warm welcome into the enormous clover-shaped, waxed tulipwood bar in the centre of the room, plush sofa and bucket seating around the circumference and clean polished concrete floors.
The bar has hooks which is always a tick on the plus side for me.
The restaurant has a Back Room which is a bit more informal with wooden tables, school chairs and stools where you can have drinks and snacks or grab something to take away in the morning. With the enormous spacing inside LINO, any part of the restaurant and the Back Room are wheelchair accessible.
The tables in the restaurant are marvellously robust and marble-topped so you won’t suffer any table wobble here, and the waiter offers water for the table as soon as you come in, which is another tick from me.
LINO bake, ferment, pickle and cure onsite and pride themselves of making the most of what’s available with the seasons.
In addition to a comprehensive breakfast menu there is a weekday a la carte menu served through the day, weekend brunch menus for Saturday and Sunday and a special Sunday lunch menu.
There is plenty to choose from on the wine list which includes a fair selection by the glass or 500ml carafe too, plus a selection of orange wines; instead of removing skins after grapes are pressed (as is standard for whites), the juice for orange wine is fermented in contact with skins which gives the colour and emboldens the flavour.
Along with craft beers, an innovative, freshly made cocktail list and some recommended wines from the dessert menu, there should be something to suit every palate.
LINO’s take on the classic Snowball, but I’m also confident that the bar staff could rustle up any cocktail combination if you had an out of scope request!
The À La Carte menu doesn’t have starters and main courses, but Small Plates and Large Plates. The smaller dishes are very generous for starters so you probably wont need two courses unless you are ravenous.
We tried the burrata salad, beef tartare and goat cheese and onion tart.
I haven’t knowingly eaten burrata before; it looks like a huge ball of mozzarella but it has a tastier, buttery cream flavour and a succulent stringy texture. It’s almost the cheese equivalent of a rare fillet so I’m now a big fan.
Burrata, hazelnut dukkah, pear and endive salad £10
The tartare (which can be enjoyed as a smaller or larger dish) was a moist, rich but rough and rustic blend of beef and bone marrow so if you are not a fan of bone marrow then avoid this one, although the little pearls of fat are ludicrously nutritional and fantastic for keto diet followers.
Aged beef tartare, bone marrow and smoked duck egg £10
The goat cheese and onion tart included a base of delicious flaky pastry and was another of our favourites. With baking done in-house and their daily breakfasts, LINO have definitely mastered pastry-making; I’m really looking forward to trying their croissants!
Goat cheese and onion tart £5
Other Small Menu options include:
Grilled mackerel, oyster mayonnaise and pickled cucumber £7
Roasted beetroot, grilled leaves, black garlic and dates £8
Sprouted grain salad, cauliflower, cavolo nero and celery £7/£12
After our first drinks, we shared a carafe of the house red, which was a Languedoc . As the ‘main’ course, we chose a mushroom risotto and steak.
The mushroom risotto was made with healthy grains which gave it an ever so slightly more textured structure. Goodness knows how they chef preps the grains to perform like rice, but it was gorgeous: creamy, ‘just sticky enough’ and full of flavour.
“Risotto” of grains roasted in brown butter and winter mushrooms £15
The oxtail and potato hot pot had already run out (a testament to its success) so we chose the steak.
The flank steak was moist with intense flavour and (as to be expected) tougher (but much cheaper) than fillet. Personally, I loved it; prepared rare to medium, it was a very decent couple of thick slices. My partner, however, favours a well-done steak and you just can’t cook flank like that or it ends up losing the flavour and being too tough.
Grilled flank steak, watercress and horseradish salad £17
Other options from the Large Plates menu include:
Lasagne of pumpkin, Jerusalem artichoke and parmesan £14
Oxtail and potato hot pot with Brussel tops £14
Steamed pollock, poached salsify and seaweed butter £17
Pork belly, cavolo nero, celeriac and white cabbage choucroute £18
Lamb loin, glazed heritage carrots, crispy shallots and rainbow chard £24
To share – Grilled lemon sole, salt baked potatoes, purple sprouting and mustard vinaigrette £60 (for two, allow 30 minutes / pre order recommended)
In hindsight, our meal choices didn’t need side dishes, but we tried the chips and salad anyway.
Triple cooked chips £4
Cornish leaf salad, horseradish, vinaigrette £4
Other choices from the Sides menu include:
Sweetheart cabbage, butter and lemon £4
Salt baked celeriac, chicken sauce £4
As another testament to their pastry and breakfast prowess, their bread and butter pudding is becoming a signature dish for LINO. As you may know, I love all puddings, but this bread and butter deliciousness has to be tried. The restaurant uses leftover pastries from the breakfast kiosk to magic up a moist, delectable mixture of croissant, marmalade and creamy ice-cream. This plate comes with a coffee included in the price, so I was actually saving money (I persuaded myself!).
Croissant bread and butter pudding, marmalade and coffee £6.50
LINO is owned by Wright & Bell (backed by the Imbiba Partnership which also has a stake in Temper). Kitty Hawk in South Place was Wright & Bell’s first project and LINO is their third. They have another 3 sites planned so it should be another exciting year for the former head chef at Robin Gill’s the Dairy in Clapham, Richard Falk, who is overseeing everything.
The easy-going atmosphere makes LINO the perfect spot for everything from a quick stop for a morning coffee/croissant or Friday night cocktail, to a full-on Sunday brunch, and its flexible layouts make it an ideal location for events.
LINO is offering a discount of 25% on food until the end of January to Barbican Association members
Opening times have now changed to:
Monday: 5pm – 11pm
Tuesday to Thursday: 11am – 11pm
Friday: 11am – 11.30pm
For reservations call 020 8016 5199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.