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This July, Aqua Restaurant Group will launch Italian bakery, café and pizzeria, Luci, in The Yards, Covent Garden. Reminiscent of Milanese bakeries once popular in Soho, Luci will be open all day and evening for delicious freshly made Italian pastries, pizza and pasta from Executive Chef Andrea Presenti (ex Princi) and team. The finest Italian produce will be mixed with the spirit of London’s bustling nightlife to create a place to sit from dawn ‘til dusk.

The new opening will see the group’s brand of modern Italian food and hospitality find a new and more casual home in a beautiful three-storey building on Covent Garden’s Long Acre, providing an all-day dining destination within the vibrant surrounds of the West End’s, The Yards.

Luci will spread across two beautifully designed floors, created by award-winning designers Robert Angell Studios. Luci boasts 200 covers, set across a first-floor restaurant and a ground-floor grab-and-go counter, both of which exemplify the charm and accessibility of Italian food culture. Under the guidance of Executive Chef Andrea Pesenti, the restaurant will serve relaxed and indulgent takes on classic, regional Italian pastries and dishes from breakfast through to dinner and everything in between, including homemade gelato.

Whether it be a flaky freshly-baked buttery Cornetto or a gorgeously crunchy Ricotta-filled Cannoli finished with candied Amalfi lemon rind, or sampling any of Luci’s house made pastries and breads alongside a barista-made Cappuccino, the venue will be open all day.

For the savoury tooth, guests will discover Luci’s signature dishes including Fusilli pesto pasta with fine shavings of Reggiano Parmigiano, or the timeless classic Panzanella, delicious sandwiches (aka Panino) like the Treccia filled with Mortadella and Provolone cheese, or Focaccia with Roasted Peppers and Tallegio. For something more substantial, guests can choose from Parmigiana di Melanzane, to Chicken Cacciatore, to Lamb meatballs in a rich San Marzano Tomato sauce and finished with fennel. Artisanal pizza will be a central point of the offering, all beautifully burnished using an authentic wood-fired Italian oven.

An all-day-dining venue, Luci will provide a welcome ambience similar to those of a Milanese cafe – with an offering that will move seamlessly from day to night. Wines will be available on both floors, by the glass or bottle, as well as a succinct but carefully tailored list of cocktails including Italy’s most famous spirits – Campari, Aperol and the like.

On the ground floor, the bancone counter will be a cornucopia of delicious goods for those looking for a quick bite or to take food away, starting with a gelato counter and followed with an abundant range of freshly baked sourdough loaves, traditional Italian sandwiches, topped focaccia slices, sweets and pastries and delicious hearty salads on offer. In addition to one of London’s best line-ups of home-made gelato, Luci’s bancone makes it the perfect pit stop for coffee, lunch or dinner, for those who work in the area or for weekend visitors to the West End.

The restaurant, meanwhile, will specialise in handmade pastas and wood-fired pizzas, with a compact menu featuring seasonal, Italian-inflected pasta dishes, and classic and contemporary pizza toppings, as well as antipasti, cheese and charcuterie and artful, thoughtfully curated small plates. The intimate restaurant will benefit from a world-class supply chain, with seasonal produce and authentic ingredients sourced from across Italy taking centre stage throughout the food offering.

Luci will be a more accessible, relaxed venture for the successful Aqua Restaurant Group, which operates successful and acclaimed restaurants and bars including Aqua Nueva, Aqua Kyoto and Aqua Spirit in Soho, Hutong and Aqua Shard in London Bridge and Shiro in Broadgate Circle, as well as venues in Hong Kong, New York, Miami, Beijing and Dubai.

David Yeo, CEO and founder of the Aqua Restaurant Group, says of the opening: “Luci was born from a love of Italian food, and we want to bring that passion to The Yards, Covent Garden. No matter what time of the day, we want our customers to be able to enjoy delicious, top-quality food and drinks, whether a Cappuccino and a pistachio cornetto for breakfast or a slice of pizza and a Negroni as a nightcap. That is where Luci will fill a gap for Covent Garden.”

On behalf of Longmartin Properties Ltd, Abi Labbett, Asset Manager at CBRE, also said: “Aqua Restaurant Group is a globally recognised, culinary empire with some of the most ground-breaking restaurants in the industry, and we’re delighted that it has selected The Yards as its destination of choice when expanding its portfolio within the capital. Over the last year, we have welcomed several new restaurants to The Yards, curating a destination which delivers authenticity, vibrance, and choice. The arrival of Luci will elevate this even further, providing visitors with a bespoke Italian experience that can be enjoyed day or night, reinforcing The Yards’ position as a go-to destination in the West End.”

With the benefit of the Aqua Restaurant Group’s wealth of experience at the top level of international hospitality and the group’s passion for modern Mediterranean cuisine, Luci is set to be one of the most anticipated openings of the summer and an exciting addition to Covent Garden’s thriving food scene.

Luci will open at The Yards in Covent Garden at the end of July 2023.


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