Test Driving Lita - a rare, immediate hit for Marylebone

lita marylebone restaurant reviewThe front section of the restaurant at Lita

So what do we need to know about Lita?

This is the latest opening from the increasingly prolific restaurateur duo George Bukhov-Weinstein and Ilya Demichev. Fresh from having opened Wild in Notting Hill and taking on Belvedere in Holland Park, they've landed in Marylebone for Lita. But this time they're brought in Canadian-born restaurateur Daniel Koukarskikh as a partner.

Who's the chef?

Running the kitchen is Luke Ahearne, a 2024 addition to our Murphia List. Luke's previous gig was as head chef at Corrigan's Mayfair (before that he was at Luca and The Clove Club). At Lita, his menu roams around the southern Med for inspiration.

lita marylebone restaurant reviewHead chef Luke (on the left) with his team in the open kitchen

Where is it?

You'll find it just off the top end of Marylebone High Street (it took over an old Carluccio's).

Where should we meet for a drink first?

Just across Marylebone High Street is The Italians wine bar which is handy for both cocktails and a wide selection of Italian wine by the glass.

Where should we sit?

There's plenty of choice, although on our visit the place was rammed, so you might want to make your preferences known ahead of time. The space is loosely split into three sections. The front dining room (which is probably the best place to sit), the middle section which is a series of booth tables and the back section. close to the open kitchen. There's also a lot of counter dining, both at the bar and by the kitchen if you like being in the thick of it. There's also a decent-sized terrace at the front on Paddington Street with room for 20 diners.

So what's on the menu?

Lita is primarily billed as a "neighbourhood bistro" with a bit of a focus on southern European/Mediterranean dishes (very much the thing at the moment), locally sourced produce and its live-fire cooking. But in some ways, it's a difficult menu to pin down to any really obvious influences. If we were to point in any direction, it's probably a little Brat-ish in its approach. The menu's a mix of small and larger plates (the price tag mainly tells you which is which), all primarily for sharing, concluding with some key dishes cooked on the open-fire grill.

We did a fairly extensive tour of the menu, so here's what we had:

lita marylebone restaurant reviewChopped Hereford beef with Amalfi lemon and a mound of shoestring fries (£18)

lita marylebone restaurant reviewFuentes Bluefin tuna, corno peppers, coriander, capers (£25) - a standout crudo dish that may be the best we've tried in London this year so far.

lita marylebone restaurant reviewTerrine of ham hock, chicken, foie gras and black winter truffle with a Yorkshire rhubarb compote (£18) - SUCH a good terrine, served at the perfect temperature.

lita marylebone restaurant reviewMorels, wild garlic, lardo di Colonnata (£24) - a tour of the best of the UK's current spring produce.

lita marylebone restaurant reviewLimousin veal sweetbread, pomme puree, calcots (£26) - we find it very hard to say no to a sweetbread dish and the super smooth mash this came with was the perfect pairing.

All of this was wonderful, but the piece de resistance was yet to come:

lita marylebone restaurant reviewWhole Cornish turbot. Yes, it's expensive at £140 for 1.3kg, but this was a wonderful fish, cooked perfectly and priced accordingly. It would easily feed three, or four if you had a few more of the smaller dishes first.

Room for dessert?

After all that, one of us could only manage a small bowl of (excellent) fior di latte gelato served with Sicilian oil and Maldon sea salt (£8). The other had this...

lita marylebone restaurant reviewMayan Red 70% ganache, coffee, popcorn, salted caramel - very, very good and definitely the dessert to have (and not too heavy for a chocolate dessert, either). 

What about the wine?

On the main menu, there's a shortlist of wines available by the glass, carafe and bottle, with entry points at a punchy £54 for a Picpoul. But the full wine list is where sommelier Kristina Gladilina (ex-Firebird) gets to enjoy showcasing old-world wines and grower Champagnes. She's clearly hoping that the well-heeled clientele here will occasionally want to push the boat out for a Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscan winemaker Gianfranco Soldera at £1400.

Overall thoughts:

Barely two weeks in and Lita is already a bona fide scene in Marylebone. The place was wedged but the restaurant was running like a well-oiled machine. Until now Chiltern Firehouse has had the run of the A-list action in this part of town but we expect that'll change with the arrival of Lita.


More about Lita

Where is it? 7 Paddington St, London W1U 5QE

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @litamarylebone

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Lita. Prices correct at time of publication.


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