Test Drives

roomAs the pizza box reminds you - Big Mamma doesn't do subtle.

What can you tell us about Gloria?

Gloria, in Shoreditch, was the first London restaurant from France's Big Mamma Group to open in London - followed later by Circolo Poplare in Fitzrovia. Big Mamma have had big success with their Italian restaurants in Paris and quickly became just as successful in London.

They're best known for going big (or "extra") with wild designs in their restaurants, huge pizzas and desserts and a general lack of subtlety. But don't let the full-on-ness of it all fool you, the restaurants are backed up by a top-quality menu of classic Italian cooking with a modern twist or two.

With the restaurants closed, both of them have moved to a delivery format - but can they replicate that OTT vibe at home? We decided to find out. 

What's the delivery range?

About a 2.5-mile radius from either the Shoreditch or Fitzrovia restaurants. 

Are the menus the same from both?

Broadly, yes. There are just a couple of tiny differences - but everything we had below is available at both venues. For an online selection - it's quite extensive. Sections include antipasti, pasta, pizzas, charcuterie, cheese and dessert. Most of the well-known (i.e. well-Instagrammed) dishes from the restaurants are on the menu with some small changes.

Here's what we had. 

roomBurrata with pesto heart - one of the famed dishes from the restaurant. Alas - the pesto didn't quite stay in the heart on our delivery, but otherwise it's just like the restaurant dish. It's hard to go wrong with good burrata.

roomFilippo's Spicy Meatballs Burger - beef and pork meatballs, nduja sauce, spinach, home-made bun, garlic and herb mayo, parmigiano fondue. So, so messy but in a great way. This was just wonderful (and huge). Perfect texture to the bun too. Our favourite dish of the delivery.

roomBaby Wilfred - San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, fresh mozzarella di bufala, fried aubergine (£10) - those fried augergines were amazing. 

What about dessert?

Big Mamma are very well known for their desserts. The huge slices of lemon meringue pie are legendary - but there was a question of how they were going to achieve that spectacle for home delivery. Well, they definitely pulled it off.

room"The Incomparable Lemon Pie" (£8) We've been digging into the creamy lemon meringue topping - just to show this goes all the way through. This is delivered in its own extra-high container to make sure it arrives pristine. Easily enough for two, this is excellent value - a must-have. Although, you will need a lie down afterwards. 

roomIl Tiramisu (£6) - something of a letdown presentation-wise when compared to the meringue, but still a top-notch tiramisu as far as flavour goes. 

What drinks are available?

Cocktails are available by pouches, with separate sections for garnishes and there's a large beer and wine selection too. Wines are well priced, starting at £14 a bottle for a Sangiovese.

roomZoom Service (£7) - Wild Turkey Bourbon Whisky, apple & sherry cordial, coffee syrup, chocolate bitter. Again, good value for an excellent cocktail. 

Anything else?

In addition to the traditional takeaway dishes, they also have a couple of cook-later pasta kits - the Famous Carbonara and the Mafaldine al Tartufo below. They also have a deli section, with fresh pasta, flour, olives and more on offer.

pasta kitWe tried their malfadine al tartufo kit - fresh pasta with a truffle, mushroom and mascarpone sauce - it also comes with a generous packet of Big Mamma's own 24-month-aged Parmesan, crumbled and ready to scatter over it. The whole thing takes less than five minutes to throw together.

Overall thoughts?

Big Mamma has aimed big with their home delivery service. The heavy hitters from the restaurants are on offer and there's a taste of the spectacle in here too - particularly with that lemon meringue pie. All that showmanship would be for nothing without the quality though - and that's clearly in evidence. At the heart of all of this is a great Italian menu that's very well priced. Recommended. 

 

More about Gloria and Circolo Popolare

Where are they? 40-41 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1HX (Circolo Popolare), 54-56 Great Eastern St, Hackney, London EC2A 3QR (Gloria)

When does it start? 30 April 2020 (from 7pm)

How to orderVia their online shop 

Find out more: Follow them on Instagram @bigmamma.uk.

Hot Dinners received the delivery courtesy of Big Mamma. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 

 

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