Clerkenwell has always been a home for great restaurants – from the ground-breaking St John to the pioneers of the gastropub movement at The Eagle and the ‘foodie’ street of Exmouth Market.
One the former site of Portuguese restaurant Portal, Luca is a stunner.
A cool, dimly lit bar with green leather banquettes leads through to a beautiful space with gorgeous dark wood floors and atmospheric lighting.
The open kitchen adds more life to the buzzy dining room with the white flowing curtains giving a peak of the outside courtyard, which will be the place to be in the summer.
The food at Luca has been described as “Britalian”, and I like the description used on their website: ‘British seasonal ingredients through an Italian lens.’
Garganelli with pork sausage, tomato, anchovy and mint was a joyful bowl of pasta that I would gladly return for every week (picture above from my Instagram feed), likewise the grouse ravioli with potato sauce and whisky (pictured below).
Favourites from the main courses were the rump of Hereford beef stuffed with smoky pancetta and Cornish lamb chops with rosemary breadcrumbs and crushed vegetables.
The best dish of all, perhaps, is the plate of ‘Parmesan fries’, similar in apapearance to a churro but filled with cheese.
These are available as snacks at Luca Bar, along with a selection of sharing plates, salads and sandwiches.
Try the Montgomery cheddar and Wiltshire truffle toast and the potatoes ‘cacio e pepe’ with a few cocktails.
Luca is both a restaurant to impress and a neighbourhood favourite to pop in to for a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine, and I would gladly do either every week.
The Bon Vivant Journal
Sign up to the blog here.