Harden's says

In Paddington Street, Marylebone, featuring live-fire cooking over wood on a dramatic grill, a new restaurant inspired by the sokuthern Mediterranean. Co-founder Luke Ahearne is a former head chef at Corrigan's in Mayfair, and he's working with top-class ingredients.

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Have you eaten at Lita?

7 - 9 Paddington Street, London, W1U 5QE

What the Newspaper Critics are saying

The Observer

Jay Rayner confessed to being “completely besotted” by a meal at this new Spanish joint that had reduced him to “heavenly raptures”.

Everything was wonderful, from the décor – “the joinery! It’s an orgy of tongue and groove, dovetail and pocket” – to the cooking from Irish chef Luke Ahearne, who managed to transform the simple tapas pan com tomate into something extraordinary. “Sure, there is a touch of gilding of the well-polished lily. Except, by God, each piece is a brilliant mouthful: salty, sweet umami-rich tomatoes, the bare-knuckle punch of the anchovies, the toasty
bread beneath. It’s a metropolitan, deluded take on the humble beach life.”

There is, sad to report, a catch. “Those dovetail joints don’t come cheap,” Jay warned. “The two mouthfuls of tomato bread are £9,” while the cheapest bottle of wine costs £54 and 1.2kg of barbecued Galician cow will set you back £160. Lita “sells itself as a sweet neighbourhood bistro. And it is, much as Buckingham Palace is a convenient townhouse.”

Jay Rayner - 2024-04-21

Evening Standard

Jimi Famurewa had little interest in what felt like the “kajillionth venture broadly steeped in the cuisine of southern Europe” to open in London, until he was persuaded to give Lita a try by Insta-raves – “And I don’t think I have ever been happier for my gut instinct to have been so completely wrong.”

Irish head chef Luke Ahearne’s cooking was “nothing short of staggering”, and included two puddings – a Mayan Red chocolate ganache with coffee, popcorn ice cream and salted caramel, and a spin on lemon meringue pie – “that are easily the best I’ve had in months”.

Despite the “vertiginous lunacy of a bill” that includes wines starting at a heady £54 a bottle, Lita is “an impeccably crafted, legitimate contender for launch of the year”. So it comes as a relief to learn from Jimi that there’s supposedly an entry-level set menu on the way.

Jimi Famurewa - 2024-04-29

The Times

Giles Coren doubled up this week (those Times expenses!) with two new restaurants ploughing similar southern-Med furrows a couple of miles apart in central London – both of which have already been well reviewed by his fellow critics.

The main difference Giles discerned between the two was price. Lita is “a very expensive restaurant in very expensive Marylebone”, with a food bill topping £200 a head backed up by a wine list that “was a bit scary to drink whole bottles from, only briefly wiping its feet at the £70-80 mark before going straight into triple figures.”

His meal started well, with excellent snacks and small plates including “show- stopping Limousin veal sweetbreads (the dish, sautéed by Marcus Wareing at Pétrus in 1999, that made me determined to become a restaurant critic), glazed, pink, sweet, milky, with Tropea onions and pomme puree”.

Grills came off worse: a “dreary” spatchcocked Anjou poussin “tasted more like a First World War carrier pigeon scorched at the Somme than a ladylike lunchtime delicacy”, while a “dull” sirloin of Friesian was “what we who like a chewy old milker have to put up with now that the elderly Galician Rubia Gallega have all been eaten”. The solution? “Stick to the top two thirds of the menu.”

On to Morchella, which is “more gorgeous to look at… with a steepling ceiling, huge windows, enchanting light, wonderful new wood and cute gimmicks like little cutlery drawers built into the tables and eating bar”, and about half the price of Lita, at £100 a head.

Interesting, the menu followed a similar trajectory to Lita’s, with promising starters such as “brilliantly conceived and executed salt cod churros on a braised red pepper sauce” let down by disappointing main dishes.

Giles also noted that the service charge at Morchella was fully incorporated into the food prices with no tip invited, while at Lita it was a 15% bolt-on. “The Morchella route is surely the future.”

Giles Coren - 2024-05-19


Traditional European menu

Starter Main Pudding
£84.00 £87.00 £8.00
Wine per bottle £54.00
Filter Coffee £0.00
Service 15.00%
7 - 9 Paddington Street, London, W1U 5QE
Opening hours
Monday5:30 pm‑9:45 pm
Tuesday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:45 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:45 pm
Thursday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:45 pm
Friday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:45 pm
Saturday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:45 pm
Sunday12 pm‑4 pm

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