Luca is a not-so-new-now but utterly brilliant restaurant from The Clove Club group and it’s a joy. A real joy. Situated in an early 19th century listed building in Clerkenwell, the windows have linen café curtains creating a feeling of cool nostalgia as you enter from bustling St John Street.
When you walk in, your eye is drawn past the upbeat and vibrant bar and beyond to the main dining area. With two private rooms – a garden, and a pasta kitchen, Luca has a low-key, very cool feel to it and serves modern Italian food using British ingredients. The restaurant is open six days a week and focuses on antipasti and pasta, observing the deeply established traditions of Italian food, but breaking the rules a little here and there.
The interior design by Alexander Waterworth Interiors is timeless Italian – think oak floors, lots of marble and brass and an excellent lighting scheme that works perfectly.
Head chef Robert Chambers has previously worked at Locanda Locatelli and The Ledbury as well as at the RAC Club with his culinary inspiration devolved from an Italian nonna, which is pretty much essential for any self respecting London chef embracing Italian food.
Let’s talk about the bread first. The old rule of avoiding bread to ensure the appetite is not prematurely sated go out the window at Luca. The bread is beyond excellent, the superbly green Fontodi organic olive oil is its partner in crime, simply put: resistance is futile.
Parmesan fries. Out of this world.
Any of the pasta dishes, all of the pasta dishes – take a look here at a typical menu but not if you’re feeling peckish…
The service is lovely – I can’t think of another word to describe it – the staff are cool, welcoming and elude a pride in their work which is so compelling. Definitely one to visit in 2018 but don’t forget to book!
Images credit, Luca