Eat this: Circolo Popolare

Big Mamma group’s first London opening was described as ‘pleasantly deranged’ and ‘kitsch, orchestrated chaos’ by the national press. The follow-up is promising to be even bolder.

10 May 2019
dessertitalianpizzapastarestaurant opening
Plates from Gloria
image credit: Big Mamma
  • The Gist: An Italian trattoria that believes bigger is better
  • The Chef: Salvatore Moscatto
  • Location: Rathbone Square, Fitzrovia W1T 1EB
  • Food in 5 words: Brash, in your face bites
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How did we get here?

French restaurant group Big Mamma made its London debut with Gloria in Shoreditch this February. Open for breakfast through to dinner, Gloria’s menu of pizzas and pastas was designed to shock: dishes have names such as Fillippo’s Big Balls and the YouPorn Pizza. In a somewhat unique move, the restaurant sources most of its food and drink from Italy, dealing directly with 180 producers for everything from cheese, olive oil, charcuterie and vegetables.

Founded in Paris in 2013, Big Mamma also operates six trattorias in the French capital, as well as an Italian food market that claims to be the biggest restaurant space in Europe.The aim of all its sites is to transport people to Italy.

“We want to create places that when you pass through the door you’re in Italy,” Big Mamma co-founder Victor Lugger told Food Spark’s sister site Big Hospitality. “Why? Because we’re not feeding people – there’s supermarkets and Deliveroo for that – we’re trying to create an Italian experience. It’s not putting Italian music on the speakers or a gondola in the bar, it’s more subtle and way more simple than that.”

Now that Gloria is bedded in, they are going even bigger with their second London restaurant, called Circolo Popolare.

What’s different about it?

Circolo is going for the wow factor, greeting diners with over 20,000 bottles of spirits lining the walls and thousands of festoon lights adorning the ceiling. The new restaurant will accommodate 280 covers – 60 of which will be seated on the outdoor terrace.

But it’s not only the interiors that are going to be over the top.The menu will showcase homemade, generous meals, from metre-long pizzas to Instagram-worthy desserts.

This will include Sfoglia Norma, a giant silk handkerchief pasta, and dishes from the Sicilian grill, like Calamari e Lemoni and Pork Skewers al Arrabiata, alongside a selection of homemade gelato in flavours like Bronte pistachio, Amalfi lemon and Nocciole del Piemonte (hazelnut).

You’ve got to try...

A metre-long pizza loaded with San Marzano tomato and burrata from Puglia.

Sparkie also likes...

The dessert called the OTT 1L Sundae, served with giant cookie chunks.

Go if...

You want to feast with your eyes and mouth.

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