The year before I moved to London I worked and studied in Florence, Italy. I fell in love with the city, the people, the way of life, but more importantly…the food. For years after moving to the UK, I would take every chance I could get to return to Italian soil, to sit in the sun with a bowl of pasta and a glass of chianti, and get lost in the moment. This was my idea of heaven. I remember sharing that, with a friend who was over from San Francisco. She had spent many summers in London with her parents and knew a thing or two about eating in the Big Smoke. After waxing lyrical about my time in Italy, she instantly picked up her phone and declared, “I’m taking us to a place in London that IS Italy. Forget waiting. I’m about to change your culinary life in London.” On that day, we sat outside at Lina Stores together for the first time. I knew then it would be the first of many. This was the closest I’d come to feeling back in Italy without ever boarding a plane. The smells from the kitchen, the kindness and knowledge of the staff and the incredible selection of Italian grocery items was, before this moment, never matched outside of Tuscany. So, it was with great excitement that I visited the newest location for Lina Stores in London at Kings Cross just before Christmas. It’s taken Lina Stores 75 years to move from Soho to Kings Cross, but the latest addition to their restaurant group was well worth the wait. This is Lina Stores Kings Cross.
I suppose the big question on everyone’s mind is, “does it feel the same?” That’s always the worry, isn’t it, when a treasured eatery expands? Well, let me put all your worried minds to rest right here and right now. The Lina Stores Kings Cross is everything you love from Soho, but taken up a notch in size and with what’s on offer. For starters, the seating means you stand a chance at actually getting a table. Although, let me warn you – it’s still tough going. It took all of one day for news to spread of the opening of the new location before they were operating at full capacity. So, the lesson to pass on here is to get in early! And when you do get in, here are the non negotiables…. you must order: