The hottest restaurant to open in London this year is already cashing on its success. Big Mamma — the Parisian restaurant group owned by Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux — opened Gloria Trattoria on Great Eastern Street in February, a modern Italian restaurant covered in plants and floral patterns which has simultaneously caught the attention of minted Mayfair types and Shoreditch hypebeasts. It is comparatively affordable, and somehow cool; both an unmitigated success and exhibitionist two-finger salute to London’s Brexit anxieties.
In June, Big Mamma will double-down and open its second London restaurant, Circolo Popolare — a site that was all but agreed before Gloria opened — in Rathbone Square, Fitzrovia. Where Gloria is loosely inspired by the Amalfi coast in the 1970s, Circolo “will bring Sicilian coast sunshine to the heart of Fitzrovia.” However, the 280-cover restaurant’s references to cicchetti (Venetian), burrata (Puglian), and San Marzano tomatoes (Neapolitan) point to a more pan-Italian offering.
Like Gloria, which from the outside is almost completely obscured by foliage, Circolo, too will be a “heavily planted Italian paradise.” Over 20,000 bottles of spirits lining the walls, and thousands of festoon lights will be fitted to the ceiling. It will also feature a 60-seater outdoor terrace.
A self-styled “generous” and “slightly over the top menu” will be similarly rooted in excess: metre-long pizzas, “OTT 1L Sundae”, served with giant cookie chunks, and pastas served in hollowed-out cheeses, according to Bloomberg. Elsewhere, “show stopping centerpieces from the Sicilian Grill,” will include calamari e lemoni and pork skewers al arrabiata.
In addition to Gloria, the group runs seven trattorias and the La Felicità food market in Paris. Lugger, Seydoux, and Circolo head chef Salvatore Moscatto say the “can’t wait to bring their second hit of crazy Italian food and fun times to London.”