It’s not usually polite to call a lady big.
But Gloria is truly huge, bombastic, larger-than-life, over-the-top, and generally massive in all the right places.
She’s an Italian trattoria in Shoreditch and she comes to us from the Big Mamma Group, meaning she already has a couple of sister restaurants in Paris. This is their first venture overseas. And right from the outset, Gloria seems to announce her refusal to simply blend into the industrial East London background, dressed from the outside with sunshine yellow awnings, ivy-covered walls, and literally dozens of terracotta pots overflowing with greenery.
Inside, things continue just as ritzily as you would expect, with two lavish dining rooms: one upstairs coated in marble, with ’50s-style fittings and explosions of flowers, the other downstairs: a darker, moodier, ’70s-esque space with a sunken open kitchen, and a mirrored ceiling reflecting the ornately decorated carpeting below. And just when you thought that the place was about as maximalist as it could get, you see the menu…
The starters include a warm & fluffy focaccia with wild Sicillian fennel and “London’s longest grissini” breadsticks; and some Culatello Con Contenna (a rare ham which comes from Parma) which they helpfully explain “is to ham what Wu-Tang Clan is to hip-hop”.
The larger secondi include a ten-layer lasagne; a little lobster risotto (and by ‘little’ we mean ‘a vast sharing portion large enough for two people’); some classic carbonara made before your eyes in a giant wheel of pecorino cheese; and house-made crimped ribbons of mafalda pasta served with fresh black Molise truffle and mascarpone. There are Neapolitan-style pizzas too, covered with the likes of smoked mozzarella, fior di latte, candied onions, black truffle cream, san Marzano tomatoes, and more.
And to top it all off? There are outlandishly inventive cocktails like their Trophy Negroni (bumped up with porcini mushroom wine & truffle foam) and their Tehran Twist Margarita made with tequila and saffron – plus desserts that include a wedge of lemon meringue pie standing over half a foot tall, and a single profiterole the size of a shot put.
Yes, this lady has big balls.
NOTE: Gloria is open daily – and there are no bookings for dinner. You can find out more at their website right HERE.
Gloria | 54-56 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3QR
While you’re in the neighbourhood… you should check out the neighbourhood.