Top chef Aktar Islam has realised his culinary dream following the opening of Italian restaurant, Legna, in Birmingham City Centre.
Legna, which is Italian for ‘firewood’ will blaze a trail for Italian cooking, championing the finest ingredients and market-fresh produce, delivered with Islam’s unmistakeable panache and attention to detail. Diners will be able to enjoy a selection of delicious hot and cold snacks, such as classic salt cold fritters, cured meats and olives to be eaten at the bar or in the dining room.
Legna is the latest venture from Aktar’s expanding AI restaurants, following the group’s upscale Indian Restaurant Opheem, which is situated close to Legna in Summer Row. Award-winning Interior Designers and Architectural Consultants Tibbatts Abel were responsible for the restaurant’s overall look and concept.
Kendall Field, Senior Interior Designer at Tibbatts Abel told Premier Hospitality: “The design concept is inspired by the name of the venue and by introducing organic and natural forms and complimentary finishes and colours; we have created a concept which works with the name and branding to create a unique venue. Warm, honey toned timbers are juxtaposed with anthracite textured concrete effects to create a beautiful backdrop. Accents of teal and copper are carefully placed within the scheme. Working with Aktar to bring his vision to life, we have delivered a moody, sensual venue that will transcend from day into evening effortlessly. The scheme has intentionally similar finishes to Opheem, using raw and natural elements but they are moodier and darker. This isn’t going to be your typical Italian restaurant, that’s for sure!”
Aktar fell in love with Italian food when he worked at the former Quod restaurant in Birmingham nearly 20 years ago.
He said: “This is the culmination of a dream for me and I am so excited about welcoming guests to Legna. We’ll stay true to traditional Italian cooking techniques; however our dishes will have a flair and innovation that diners have experienced at Opheem.
“Our chefs will focus on a relatively small number of great dishes to ensure customers’ expectations are always matched and hopefully exceeded. Gone are the days of over-long menus. Customers now want authenticity and quality, not overload.
“It was while working with Italian food that I learned about the beautiful simplicity of ingredients like ripe tomatoes, single estate olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and the finest buffalo mozzarella. Great Italian food is all about letting the ingredients speak for themselves and this will be the philosophy at Legna.”
With its emphasis on freshness and authenticity, Legna will offer just two varieties of homemade pasta, which will change regularly to give the chefs the scope to capitalise on the best seasonal produce. Rustic breads such as focaccia and ciabatta and a choice of three perfect pizzas, including a classic Margherita, will be cooked in a wood fired oven. The oven will also be used for classic slow-cooked meat dishes and seafood specials such as salt-baked sea bream.
Legna occupies the site of the former FSK restaurant, which was operated by Aktar as Mi Amore while the long-term plan for Legna was developed.
Kendall added: “It’s been very exciting to work on Aktar Islam’s second venture in Birmingham and further build on our working relationship. The site has undergone a few changes in recent years, but we feel Aktar’s vision for the regeneration of this site is most definitely a move in the right direction. We are more than excited to reveal what we’ve been working on. We can’t wait to enjoy the space for ourselves and sample the menu which will be the showstopper of this new addition to Birmingham.”