Authentic Italian restaurant bar Lena opens in Shoreditch today, serving the kind of food Mama used to make in a dining room more suited to her offspring.
Named after owner Alex Foley’s Sicilian mother, the restaurant encompasses the Italian traditions of ‘conviviality and inclusion’ in a chic, modern environment, alongside a traditional menu of Southern favourites.
Head Chef Walter Benenati has created a menu inspired by Lena’s upbringing, including dishes such as Pasta con N’Duja and Pesce Spada all’Aghiotta. In addition, the menu will consist of traditional Italian favourites like Antipasti of warm salad of Steamed Octopus, olive oil and lemon dressing; primi piatti of Carnaroli rice, Porcini Mushrooms, Parmesan and linguini with fresh Clams, Garlic, Chilli and White Wine, and Secondi of Rack of Wild Boar, Red Berry salsa and Roasted Pumpkin.
A daily changing set lunch menu is moderately priced at £12.50 for two courses and £15 for three.
Downstairs an Italian-inspired cocktail bar with banquette seating and a deep aubergine theme, provides a relaxing atmosphere in which to listen to live music provided by a pianist and jazz band.
Foley also currently presides over The Chapel Bar in Islington, but sees the opening of Lena as a move toward reflecting his passion for his Italian heritage.