SL Reviews: Gloria Trattoria

SL Reviews: Gloria Trattoria

Big Mamma Group’s first London outpost, Gloria Trattoria, only opened last month but has already become an Instagram sensation. We headed to Shoreditch’s newest hotspot to find out why people are queueing up for a table…

The concept…

Since the launch of Gloria Trattoria in March, much of Great Eastern Street has been occupied by a well-dressed queue, partly due to the restaurant’s no-bookings policy and partially down to the warm welcome the venue has received from fêted restaurant critics and Instagram snappers alike. The venue is the newest restaurant from Big Mamma Group, the team behind Pink Mamma, La Felicita and Popolare in Paris and Le Bellezza in Lille. Specialising in laid-back trattorias, the group offers high-concept spaces executed impeccably, menus filled with Italian-sourced ingredients and all-Italian staff, for that extra nod of authenticity. Filled with picture-perfect interiors, it’s fast become a London must-visit, and – we discovered – with good reason.

The setting…

The two-floor 160-cover restaurant is inspired by the look and feel of 1970s Capri. Upstairs features a statement bar made of marble from Carrera, an abundance of climbing ivy and pastel-striped and fringed banquet seating. Next door to the main dining space, a semi-private panelled wine room is filled with 3,000 bottles of Italian wine, while downstairs is resplendent with gloriously garish carpet, a mirrored ceiling, pink curtained walls, orb table lighting and bottle-green corduroy banquettes, all centered around a sunken kitchen. Here, guests can enjoy the theatre of the chefs working at the pizza oven. Even the exterior is something to write home about: painted yellow and festooned with hanging baskets and potted plants, it makes Covent Garden’s famously verdant Sarastro look restrained.

The food…

Overseen by Big Mamma chef Filippo La Gattuta, the menu is vast and demands repeated visits. Everything from the pasta to the gelato is homemade, and it shows. The team’s commitment to Italian-sourced ingredients shines brightest in its prodotti and cicchetti sections of the menu, where simplicity rules, and is all the better for it – think three types of burrata, including smoked stracciatella with green olive oil; hot focaccia; thick ribbons of San Daniele ham and deep-fried octopus tentacle.

When it comes to mains, expect something a little more extravagant. Spaghetti carbonara for two is served in a whole wheel of parmesan; the ‘Ten Level Lasagne’ is as decadent as it sounds and Big Mamma’s signature dish la vera pasta al tartufo – fresh pappardelle, black Molise truffle, mascarpone and button mushrooms – is beautifully presented at the table in a vintage copper pan. We also enjoyed the 'Robert De Nitro' Neapolitan-style pizza, topped with mozzarella fior di latte, San Marzano tomatoes, fresh ricotta di bufala, salame piccante and caramelised onions, and the girella, hand-made ravioli filled with polenta and ricotta, topped with rabbit ragu, candied garlic and celery sprouts.

Don’t forget to leave room for retro puddings like profiterole napoletana and some of the best tiramisu we’ve tried outside Italy, scooped straight from the serving dish at the table. ‘The Incomparable Lemon Pie’ is exactly what you’d expect: a colossal slice of lemon pie, topped with a six-inch layer of meringue. Make sure to send this off in style with a glass of the team’s homemade limoncello.

The drinks…

Away from its four flavours of limoncello, the team also manufactures its own coffee and beers. There’s also a lovely strictly-Italian wine list which covers all budgets – we enjoyed a glass of £6 Montepulciano with our mains. But you must try the cocktails. From the selection of 17 tipples, we liked the 'Colada Me Later', a flaming version of a classic piña colada served in a retro glass, and a twist on a negroni, topped with truffle foam. The 'Spritz Veneziano' – bitter select, Plymouth thyme gin, Cinzano prosecco, sparkling water, blood orange bitter and an olive – is available for a very reasonable £6.50 and there’s a decent selection of grappa to end the meal on a traditional note.

The verdict…

Given that this opulent den is open late on Thursdays to Saturdays, we can imagine this being the perfect place for parties. We also recommend dining as a group, so you can take advantage of the sharing showstoppers and the fact you can book tables for six to 12 guests. If you're fewer than six, make sure you get there early or opt for an early-week dinner if you want to avoid a wait.

Does Gloria Trattoria live up to the hype? In short, yes. For a start, it’s much more upmarket than other themed trattorias around London and the food is genuinely good. It might not be authentic in a traditional sense – there are no nonnas or chequered tablecloths to be seen here – but above all, this place is fun and friendly. To be honest, there’s not much more we want from a meal out.

54-56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3QR


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