Authentic Italian dining in the heart of Covent Garden

Luci, London’s first Italian dining bakery

Nestled in the heart of busy Covent Garden is Luci. Claiming the title of London’s first Italian dining bakery, the enormous venue is definitely one to impress. With classic and retro Italian prints adorning the walls, high ceilings and sweeping staircases, it’s hard not to be blown away when stepping off the busy street.

What really draws the eye on entry, is the long ‘bancone’ counter, which showcases a huge selection of tasty ‘al forno’ baked goods, freshly made on the premises in Luci’s ‘forno’ (ovens) and which change to reflect the time of day. Guests can take away or eat in with a sit-down menu of Italian classics served upstairs.

Today, we were dining, so we climbed the beautiful and grand sweeping staircase, to an equally enormous  and impressive restaurant and dining room upstairs. Once seated, we could really enjoy the mouth-watering smells of freshly made pastries and wood fired dough from downstairs. It definitely gets you in the mood to eat.

To start, we enjoyed some classic cocktails, expect lots of Italian-inspired Spritzes. The food menu was crafted by Chef Andrea Pesenti (formerly executive chef of Princi in London). To create the dishes, he spent time scouring his Italian homeland for the finest produce to elevate even the simplest of dishes. One of Pesenti’s signatures is a thin Florentine-style focaccia, topped with green and yellow zucchini, sliced thinly and laid like fish-scales on top of the focaccia. 

To start, we enjoyed simple, yet flavourful antipasti which weren’t ostentatious in size and left room for the all-important pastas and pizzas. We opted for the Burrata Pugliese served with delica pumpkin and a Crispy Artichoke Heart served with parsley dressing, both were very tasty and seasonal.

For the main event, my guest had pasta and opted for the Cavatelli which was served with lamb meatballs and pecorino. The lamb was tender, pasta al dente and the dish was wholesome and generous. Unable to resist the smell of freshly made pizza, I went for the Piccante 2.0, a thin crisp base topped with tomato sauce, basil, fior di latte mozzarella, nduja and spicy honey which was the perfect balance of sweet and spice.

Given its strong bakery credentials, it would be criminal to skip dessert, so we went for the Panna Cotta with salted caramel, which for me was a little too sweet and syrupy. Although, my guest’s dessert – the Trio Gelato – combined thick creamy Italian ice cream. Flavours included pistachio and hazelnut Agri Montana and domori chocolate.

Ideal for date nights or a pre-theare bite, Luci does Italian cuisine well and creates a warm, inviting and friendly destination in the heart of London’s theatre-land. Be sure to check out their highly authentic Aperitivo Hour which combines small dishes, alongside custom-designed Campari cocktails. Guests can choose two cocktails and snacks for just £13.00. How can you resist?

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