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Luce e Limoni, Holborn, London

limster Nov 3, 2013 10:22 AM

Credit goes to Deansa, who spotted this newish (well, at least to us) Sicilian place on Gray's Inn Road. It's excellent, high calibre stuff in a down-to-earth atmosphere.

Excellent air-dried tuna "prosciutto" -- thin slices of tuna with a concentrated meaty flavour, salty and almost hammy, slightly supple in texture if a tiny bit fragile. A pleasant artichoke and green olive salad on the side, vegetal and tangy for contrast.

A broad bean soup had good beany flavour, rustic and slightly coarsely textured without being lumpy. Topped with grilled squid that balanced tenderness and resilience.

The light thin tomato sauce over the basil ravioli with sea urchin and ricotta was outstanding, vivid and clear and tangy, lifted by the basil. The thin delicate, ravioli had just the right bite of al dente to them, the ricotta within dominating the filling, with a lovely background of ocean from the sea urchin and bits of its sweetness.

Intense sun and sea in the bucatini (again, just the perfect resistance in each bite), big flavours from capers and sun-dried tomato sounding off one another, along with raisins that bring complex layers of sweet and sour to sardines. Topped with toasted breadcrumbs for tiny bites of crunch and crackle. (Would have loved some pine nuts in here, but nobody's perfect.)

Great lightly toasted pistachio coating a semifreddo, with a melon jelly that seemingly tasted of watermelon and cinnamon.

Classic cannoli, filled with lightly sweetened ricotta, coated with small chocolate chips on one end and crushed pistachio on the other. The shells were light and crisp.

The zibbibo handled the food well, the aromatic fruit and flowers, along with the dry acidity complemented the bucatini best imho.

A marsala superiore (Carlo Pellegrino, NV) was pleasant but nothing extraordinary, a woodsy sherry-like sweetness. More complexity from a Passito di Pantelleria (Carlo Pellegrino 2011) with orange and citrus zest.

Starters ~£10, pasta ~£11, meat & fish ~£15, desserts ~£6.

http://luceelimoni.com
91-93 Gray’s Inn Road
02072423382

  1. a
    astereilla Jan 9, 2014 12:35 PM

    Went on Wednesday evening without a booking - it appeared quite empty which is a shame. We didn't try that much because we weren't that hungry, but between the two of us we had the bread, tortellini, and saffron risotto.

    The bread basket contained focaccia studded with cherry tomatoes, breadsticks, and some thin slices of dense bread with a little plate of olives. I really enjoyed the focaccia and the olive oil they had.

    I had the saffron risotto and it was as good as you made it sound! I love grouper and hardly see it on the menu unless in Chinese restaurants. However it might have sat too long under a heat lamp or I was just slow in eating because it became quite stodgy and lumpy in the end. Generous portions, though.

    We shared the cannoli for dessert and they were great - light, sweet bites to end the meal.

    The only waitress working at the time seemed quite stressed, as by the time we left (around 9:30pm) it was about 70% full and she was the only person working the floor. She had to call her sister to come and help, so service was taking a bit longer.

    Having said that, this is a place I'd love to return to and try more of the menu! Thanks for posting this. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: astereilla
      limster Jan 9, 2014 01:00 PM

      Many thanks for your update! Good to hear more about it. I haven't tried any of the main courses, hope others can chime in about them.

    2. j
      JFores Jan 3, 2014 01:21 PM

      Shamelessly posting this so that I don't forget to check this place out when I get back to London. I know it's going to disappear into my pile of CH favorites and bookmarks otherwise!

      1. limster Dec 27, 2013 01:33 PM

        Had another meal there -- superb. Excellent flavours in the the baked mackerel timbal, the samphire drew a lot of admiration from the table, Lovely roasted aubergine with cheese. And wonderfully rich and creamy burata.

        I loved the pistachio sauce with the pumpkin gnocchi, both components showing depth and nuances of their respective flavours. Beautiful texture on the gnocchi -- tender, but still holding well together.

        The crab in conchiglioni (a shell pasta) was also wonderful, showing a bit of wit and plenty of flavour.

        Bucatini as good as before.

        Good saffron risotto, brilliant flavour, tender grains of rice with a slight smooth resistance, well calibrated al dente. Grouper on top was cooked to the right texture.

        Very enjoyable cuttlefish ink linguine, pairing well with a fish ragout.

        The Sicilian cassata is a thing of beauty -- very subtle sweetness in the very moist cake, coming across with milky creamy flavours (evoked condensed milk in my mind), and iirc dotted with candied fruit, but no marzipan.

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