Luci, the new venue from Aqua Restaurant Group, is now open on Covent Garden’s Long Acre. Luci is London’s first Italian Dining Bakery – with a long ‘bancone’ counter showcasing 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.

Spread across two floors, Luci shares the same heritage as the grand Milanese cafes. On the ground floor and at its heart is a stunning 18 metre long ‘bancone’ – an expansive colourful counter laden from morning until evening with a bountiful selection of tempting Italian goods, which customers can order for eat-in or takeaway. Executive Chef Andrea Pesenti (formerly executive chef of Princi in London) heads up the kitchen team. Guests can start the morning with Italian viennoiserie and freshly baked bread, accompanied with Luci’s own-roasted coffee.

Advertisement

At midday, a selection of thin focaccia Genovese, delicious ciabatta and weekly-changing wood-fired pizza by the slice – all topped and stuffed with artisanal Italian cheeses, ham and seasonal vegetables. Luci’s ‘al forno’ baked goods are all made on the premises and served fresh from the oven throughout the day. Pizza Al Taglio (by the rectangle) and Pizza Napoletana (hand-stretched, thin and crispy base) will both be on offer, with options like the Focaccia Alle Zucchine (£6.50) combining thinly sliced yellow and green zucchini with soft and sweet Stracchino Bergamasco cheese, and sprinkled with Grana Padano. The colourfully sliced zucchini laid on the fluffy focaccia base presents a beautiful design reminiscent of fish-scales. The Napoletana (£6) pizza by the rectangle is topped with a rich tomato sauce, Lecchino olives, Sicilian capers, fresh basil and anchovies originating from the Mediterranean Sea which gives each bite a sweet finishing flavour. A staple in Italian pizza culture, The Napoletana combines the simplest of ingredients together to make a masterpiece for the sensations.

In the afternoon and into the evening, guests can stop by to choose from either the bancone or A La Carte menus. From the bancone, hearty oven-to-table Italian classics are on offer including Melanzane Parmigiana (£9.50), a classic Italian dish made fresh in Luci daily, oozing with fresh tomato sauce and layered with thinly sliced aubergine, strings of mozzarella cheese and sprinkled with melted Parmigiana. Other dishes include Polpetti di Agnello (£12), succulent lamb meatballs, and Corn-fed chicken Alla Cacciatora (£11), a classic and rustic Italian stew baked with juicy chicken thighs and flavoured with hearty vegetables and herbs, as well as a range of salads including a delicious vegan pesto fusilli pasta salad (£8.50), made with fresh Italian basil, toasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, Taggiasche olives and rocket – available to eat in or takeaway.

From the A La Carte menu, the homemade Ravioli with smoked Scamorza cheese and Datterini Tomatoes (£9) takes centre stage. Sourced from Italy, the sweet and rich flavour of the tomatoes enhance the sweet piquant depths of the smoked Scamorza cheese. Luci’s stunning pizzas will also be a highlight of the menu, with options including a Culatello di Zibello e Rucola (£17) which showcases the cured meat ‘culatello’ originating from the province of Parma. Offering a tender and delicate taste against the sharp flavour notes of rocket. Guests are able to enjoy the A La Carte menu either downstairs, or in the upstairs seating area – located in a beautiful, intimate room with a stunning feature bar. Luci serves a wide selection of Italian wines and cocktails from 12pm.

Homemade gelato, sorbet and cakes that capture the essence of Milan are available all day. A ‘must try’ from the dessert menu is the Torta al Limone (£6), flaunting an impressive charred meringue top, the lemon cake is filled with a zesty curd sandwiched between light and fluffy layers of vanilla sponge cake.

Luci offers affordable all-day Italian dining, whilst sharing the same philosophy and focus on ‘wow’ dishes as its sister outlets in Aqua Restaurant Group. The interior has been designed by award-winning designer Robert Angell and Aqua Restaurant Group founder David Yeo, with a look that captures the charm of the grand Milanese cafes past and present and combines the spirit of London with the sunshine of Italy.