The much-loved Italian restaurant and deli brand Lina Stores is growing quickly.
Thanks to sizable outside investment, a Clapham branch, the group’s fifth, will soon launch in south west London. It will follow openings in King’s Cross, London, and Tokyo, Japan. That’s right: international ragu.
Lina Stores is managing to retain its status as a Soho deli institution – and not one simply on concept and heritage, but by design and practice. The pasta at Lina Stores is still executed brightly and the sauces stick. Thankfully for fans, the business has not fallen foul to overexpansion, suffering like so many before. This must be in part thanks to the guidance of its executive chef, Masha Rener.
She grew up in Umbertide, a small town close to the border between Umbria and Tuscany, and cooked at her family’s restaurant while doing so.
Her cooking is everything you might expect from a classic, traditional Italian chef, with a focus on quality ingredients above all else, and a sincere homage to homely styles that are almost ritualistic but unbetrothed to any blustering and contrived concept.
Here is her pistachio and olive oil cake, a soft slice to be enjoyed anywhere, and at any time.
200g Ground pistachio nuts
50g Plain flour
1tsp Baking powder
125ml Extra virgin olive oil
The zest of one lemon
Grease a 24cm round cake tin and preheat your oven to 160 degrees.
Mix all the dry ingredients together – polenta, pistachio, plain flour and baking powder, in a large bowl.
Melt the butter slowly and mix together with the extra virgin olive oil in a separate bowl.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add the butter and extra virgin olive oil mixture.
Juice the three lemons and the three oranges and add to the dry ingredients. Add the zest of one lemon and mix together.
Slowly mix in the egg, sugar, olive oil and butter mixture and combine together. Add the dough into your cake tin and bake in your preheated oven at 160 degrees for 45 minutes.