The Big Mama group is quite a big deal in Paris. With a handful of popular restaurants around the city of lights, they have now set their footprints in London – starting with Gloria Trattoria at Shoreditch, followed by Circolo Popolare at Rathbone Square in Fitzrovia.
Just like its Paris restaurants, do expect to queue. We went to Gloria Trattoria for an early dinner on a Thursday evening and we’re lucky to have got a table for three right away. But before diving into the food, let me take a minute to describe its aesthetics. First of all, if you’re wandering around Shoreditch, you won’t miss the restaurant at all – its exterior is painted in striking yellow colour with lots of terracotta planters and flowers outside. Even if you’re not going to dine there, it’s still a very pretty photo spot to stop by.
Gloria Trattoria: The Big Mama Glamour
The Big Mama Group is known for its trendy, glamorous, and atmospheric restaurants. In other words, all of their restaurants are designed to impress. For Gloria Trattoria, the restaurant spans two floors and we’ve already just mentioned its dainty aesthetics from the outside. Stepping inside the restaurant, you’d be first greeted with an impressive bar looming over you. The ground level carries an antique glamour charm, adorned with ornate lamps and reminds me of a classic luxurious Italian place (maybe from Amalfi or Capri?).
We were then being led downstairs to our table, which involves getting through a curtain (confusingly it has the bathroom sign on top), and then a stairway to reach the basement level. The bottom of the stairs led to a seductive red room that had us going “ooooooo”. One side of the curtain would lead to the bathroom (now we know why there’s a bathroom sign at the beginning), and the other side of the curtain reveals a very glamorous dining room that oozed a luxurious vibe. The dimmed lighting has also created quite a romantic ambience. It’s just as buzzing and lively as upstairs, but with a more seductive touch here in the basement.
The Food: What We Ordered
We eventually got seated by one of the sofa tables. It’s rather dark in that section of the room but the tabletop was glowing with light so it’s not one of those scenarios where you struggle to even read the menu. The tables were a bit small but it was of good enough size to create an intimate setting. Here is what we ordered.
Please note that Gloria Trattoria does not serve halal meats. Vegetarian & seafood options are available. Double-check with staff if dishes contain alcohol.
Pasta Al Tratufa (£18)
This was the most anticipated dish at Gloria Trattoria as I kept seeing this dish all over Instagram! It uses their house’s special fresh Mafalda pasta, cooked with black Molise truffle, mascarpone, and button mushrooms.
As per expectation, the aroma of truffle filled the table and the pasta dish was very visually appealing. However, flavour-wise it seemed slightly underwhelming. To me, it seemed to have at least lacked a touch of salt & pepper. Apart from that, the pasta was al dente and it was a decent dish overall.
Black Mamba (£16)
This gorgeous Black Mamba pasta is made of fresh cuttlefish in umido, candied datterino tomatoes, squid ink, and Amalfi lemon (I have checked with the waiter and emphasised having no alcohol in the dish). While lesser photographed and shared on social media than the truffle pasta above, I actually liked this one better! It’s got a unique edge of tangy flavours, which I presume it’s from the Amalfi lemons. The candied tomatoes were a wonder to the palate too with their extraordinarily sweet and tarty flavour. And of course, the pasta was cooked to al dente and the dish was simply all in all very delightful! If I were to really pick on it, I would perhaps like to see a more umami punch from the dish. But that’s just a very minor personal preference.
Moving onto desserts, the first up was the profiterole which is one massive puff pastry filled with vaniglia gelato and caramelized pecan nuts. That pool of warm chocolate ganache was poured upon serving.
No doubt this was an absolute stunner and we loved it to bits! The chocolate was so rich and velvety, and it paired so perfectly with the vanilla gelato. Despite being drenched in chocolate, the puff pastry remained lightly crispy to bite. Simply put, what a decadent and indulgent dessert to finish off the evening, and one I would definitely recommend ordering.
The Incomparable Lemon Pie (£6)
Last but not least, I don’t know about you, but this ought to be the most massive meringue layer I’ve seen! The Big Mama Group prides itself in making incomparable lemon pies like no other. I mean, I’ve certainly never seen a six inches tall meringue layer over a lemon pie so they definitely are a winner here. And as you can imagine, that meringue layer was as incredibly fluffy as it looked. The subtle sweetness from the meringue created a terrific balance of flavours against the zingy lemon custard, which was punchy but never overpowering. Additionally, the pastry outside was very crispy as well and it was definitely a wowing dish.
Restaurant Review Summary
Summing up, our dinner at the Gloria Trattoria was definitely quite an experience. The food was decent overall and the ambience added a lot to the experience. We were actually most impressed with its desserts which I’d highly recommend you save some stomach space for!
Gloria Trattoria does not offer halal meats. Vegetarian and seafood options are available.
Nearest Station: Old Street