Cafe Luca, Liverpool Street, London.
Updated: Feb 24
Meeting a mate from the country at Liverpool Street station, we wandered into a pub called The Bull for what we thought might be a pleasant little dinner and a few civilised glasses of wine. This plan went a little awry, and we could only have a sausage roll at the pub, so we rolled up the cobblestone street and found ourselves at Cafe Luca. What a most lovely surprise it was. This is some seriously good food and a sensible wine list to boot.
We enjoyed a Blanc de Blanc, Château Oumsiyat, Bekaa Valley from Lebanon, the second time in as many weeks that we have found a good Lebanese white. We will provide a seperate review for this soon.
Not sure how hungry we were, we kicked off with a 'Rip & Dip' - soft potato flat bread & five Mediterranean dips. This is no tzatziki and hommus - there was a pesto of sorts, pickled fiery tomato, something that resembled hommus but with a garlic dip and pesto, a yoghurt based number with crushed nuts, and smooshy walnuts and onion in olive oil and chili. If this was going to be the quality, we were hooked.
On to the next courses. A spiced buttermilk in a chicken bun was a burger type arrangement with cherry tomatoes, aioli, crispy kale. Those who know me understand my distaste for kale but this was incredible. Paper thin, magnificently crisp and melt in the mouth. The chicken was lovely and each element worked in unison with the other.
A lamb shawarma followed which was a melange of spiced lamb, farinata crepe, caramelised onion, dill yogurt, fresh salsa. It was marvellous and pretty much the best kebab I have ever eaten. I wanted another but stopped myself. A warm halloumi salad was probably unnecessary but it was a mix of butternut squash, orange segments, yogurt, honey, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds.
Luca is the Mediterranean writ large - a mix of the many countries who call part of its 2,500,000 square kms theirs. Italy, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and the northern African nations Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the many island countries dotted across the sea. They are all on the plates at Cafe Luca and the friendly and efficient service is indicative of the mix. The two who took care of us were Argentinian and Italian, and were fantastic. Nothing was any trouble, including our cheeky attempts to flirt with them. They were great fun.
Cafe Luca is such a treat and can be found just a short walk from Liverpool Street station. Its decor is contemporary and fun, with low tables, high rounds with stools and greenery everywhere and delivers on their vision of bringing people together to celebrate the Mediterranean's regional diversity.
Cafe Luca is at 17 Devonshire Row, Liverpool St, London
Open Tues - Sat from Noon