Fruit and Veg

How La Luna di Luca get their weekly seasonal menu inspiration

Written by Tom Moggach
October 19, 2017

“It’s just something you have in the blood. You only do it if you have a passion," says chef Jamal Kaddouri, describing long days in the kitchen and midnight dashes to the market.

His restaurant, La Luna di Luca, is perched high on a hill in Richmond. He runs it with co-owner Martina Mohanty, a veteran of the restaurant trade. 

Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Exterior
Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Interior

This trattoria and pizza restaurant is a cosy place with a highly seasonal menu - inspired by his trips to the market two or three times a week. 

"Whatever looks good will be on the menu the rest of the week,” explains Mohanty, serving a burrata with butternut squash puree, rainbow chard and parsnip crisps. 

Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Martina Mohanty Portrait
Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Burrata

Many chefs don't make this extra effort of shopping in person at New Covent Garden, preferring deliveries instead. 

But for Kaddouri it is an essential routine: "Sometimes we finish at 11 or 11:30pm then we go to the market, back at 2am and start again at 10am ... The day is never ending. But by going to the market you are prepared to do more - you go there for one thing and end up buying something else.” 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report October 2017 Fridge
Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Tomatoes

He's excited by his new autumn menu, which includes dishes such as squid with rocket (pictured below), half a dozen pastas and seabass served with fennel braised in Pernod. 

“Once it gets cold we’re going to have a soup with butternut squash and chestnuts and more meat on the menu with puntarelle, chicory and Cavolo Nero.” 

Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Squid

Although his mother and brother are chefs, Kaddouri learnt most of his skills once he met his future business partner Mohanty. 

She had run a string of restaurants and spotted his potential. "He's got such a passion for his job," she says. "He could work in a Michelin-starred restaurant any day."

Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Fillet Fish

She trained him up, working alongside Kaddouri in the kitchen for five months before they opened their first restaurant La Luna di Luca five years ago. 

(The pair have two restaurants with the same name. The other, just up the hill, is mainly used for bespoke tasting dinners and special events). 

“We spent five months in the kitchen cooking - in tears sometimes,” she recalls.  

Fruit And Veg Customer Profile October 2017 La Luna Di Luca Pans

Kaddouri learnt fast. “I do everything in the kitchen and she does everything outside. We’re a strong team,” he says. 

On the market, he has learnt his way around and buys from a range of wholesalers. “The first time I went there I was expecting somewhere very loud but it’s not like that - it’s a very nice environment. And everything is super fresh."

La Luna di Luca

46C Friars Stile Road, 

TW10 6NQ

07747 104827


Comments

Subscribe to our emails

Join thousands of food and flowers businesses and get what’s in season delivered to your inbox every month.

The story of J Prentis Greengrocers

Since 1887, the Prentis family have bought at Covent Garden. "I'm number five," says John Prentis (pictured right, with his brother Chris), as he traces back the generations.

Read more

0

Loading more blogs...

End of content

No more pages to load