Linguini Fini was a firm favourite of mine when it was at the L Place. We saw it go from one level to two levels, back to one level and then to nowhere at all, so I think there was many a happy face across the city when they announced that they were reopening right in the heart of Soho.
The new Linguini Fini has taken over that huge space on the corner of Elgin Street that seems to have always been an Italian restaurant of some kind. Its large open front makes it instantly inviting, whilst inside you’ll still see some of the old casual yet chic LF interiors. The beautiful herb garden out the back, complete with a compost bin and outdoor seating, adds a lovely homely touch too.
Chef Vinny Lauria has kept some of the old classics on the menu, whilst also introducing some exciting new dishes, all maintaining the philosophy of nose-to-tail dining and minimal waste.
I have always loved LF’s homemade spicy pork sausage, and thankfully this has remained on the menu. If it’s even possible, this sausage has now got even better and certainly a lot bigger, because, as I was informed, when it comes to sausages, size really does matter. The texture of the crumbly sausage is spot on, and I loved the combination of flavours from the spicy pork itself, the tangy mustard and the sweet peppers and onions.
Linguini Fini has always been known for its freshly made linguini pasta (hence the name), but on our most recent visit to the new and improved LF, we tried two new pasta dishes. The uni macheroni carbonara was inspired by chef Michael White’s uni lardo bruschetta, which is apparently so good that chefs all over the world have since attempted to replicate it. Vinny’s pasta equivalent is pretty exquisite, the pasta perfectly cooked to a nice al dente and the sauce neither overly rich nor heavy.
My favourite of the two pastas we tried was the radiatore alla vodka. This is a jazzed up version of a traditional penne alla vodka that owner Todd Darling grew up eating in New York. The deliciously creamy sauce seeps into the crevices of the radiator-shaped pasta (also made in-house), so you get more goodness in every bite. What makes it even better, however, is the addition of spicy ‘nduja and melted mozzarella.
The dry-rubbed hanger steak is another dish that’s made the cut from the old menu, and I can certainly see why; this steak had a lovely tender texture and a gorgeous flavour that paired nicely with the caramelised onion aioli and roasted veggies.
If you ever visited Pizzeria Pubblico when it was around, you’ll know that Chef Vinny and his team can do a mean pizza. But these aren’t fancy schmancy delicate pizzas; these are real, ginormous, New York-style pies, all 18 inches of them. As much as you may be against the idea of sharing your pizza, here, you just may have to. The Brooklyn Special that we sampled was piled with fresh mozzarella, fried aubergine, roasted garlic and peppers, and fresh basil. And it certainly got my taste buds talking.
Having been impressed so far by the menu at the new Linguini Fini, I must say I wasn’t blown away by the desserts. The chocolate and banana cake, although lovely and moist, was very sweet, almost a little artificially so, and I could barely taste any actual chocolate.
The caramel apple pie fared better and I seriously loved that sticky caramel sauce, but I felt like it wasn’t quite sure if it wanted to be hot or cold; parts of it felt like they had come straight out of the fridge, whilst others as if they had been just ever so slightly warmed through – personally I would have preferred the whole thing straight out of the oven.
Prices at the new Linguini Fini are pretty much the same as before, with antipasti mostly under $100, pastas mostly under $180 and larger meat dishes mostly under $200. They also do a great weekday set lunch with a colourful antipasti buffet followed by a selection of favourites, starting from $88. It’s definitely great to have Linguini Fini back and I think the new menu and excellent location will see this old friend sticking around for a good while this time.
G/F, 49 Elgin Street
Tel: +852 2387 6338