A kitsch take on a traditional trattoria that’s become big news
Gloria is the first UK export from the Big Mamma Group, which oversees a handful of Parisian trattorias and bistros that are a huge hit with the Instagram set. Rolling out its sunny yellow awning onto cool-kid Great Eastern Street (which continues to hold on to its credentials years after it first hit our radar), you can tell this new Italian joint is something to pay attention to from the outside: ivy-covered trellises and terracotta pots make it stand out from yards away. Poke your head round the door and you¡¯ll find a retro bar ¨C white marble, brown leather stools, fringed lamps and a kooky Jesus bust all signal you¡¯re about to go back in time.
Upstairs, the dining room is a re-imagining of a Fifties-style trattoria for an aesthetically-obsessed 2019 crowd: there are pink and blue striped booths, more ivy, and ceramic plates hanging on every wall. There¡¯s a huge downstairs kitted out in Seventies-style moody browns for a lounge vibe, where you¡¯ll also find the bathrooms; though these are not usually something to think about when making supper plans, make sure you check them out: one-way mirrors mean that you can see out while you¡¯re going about your business, but no one can see you. It¡¯s trippy as can be, but a fun photo-opportunity if nothing else. Altogether Gloria is over the top and energetic: a cheeky re-imagining of what a brilliant Italian restaurant should be with some tongue-in-cheek additions. Plus, it¡¯s open until 2am Thursday to Sunday, making it an ideal spot to start or end your night.
The menu is huge, in both contents and physical size. The waiters ¨C all Italian, of course ¨C are puppy-dog eager to give you their recommendations. Start with the smoked stracciatella (order some warm focaccia to use as a boat for the gooey cheese – it has an aniseed flavour with fennel seeds and flaked with chunks of sea salt) which is, indeed, very smoky with a wonderful soft texture, as well as the wafer-thin San Daniele ham. Mains come as solo portions or sharing plates, if that¡¯s more your scene, with all sorts of pastas to try. The most popular of the lot is sure to be the carbonara, which is finished at the table in a giant wheel of parmesan before being dished up. The black mamba pasta, made with cuttlefish and fresh tomatoes, is jet-black and intense. Elsewhere on the menu there¡¯s a 10 layer lasagne (maybe skip the starters if you plan on taking that on) and some classic Neopolitan-style pizzas (think chewy, pillowy crust and a foldable base). For pudding, embrace the retro-Italian vibe and order the tiramisu: it¡¯s served at your table from a huge ceramic dish, with your waiter asking you encouragingly, ¡®More?¡¯ until you find the restraint to ask him to stop.
The bar is the focal point of the upstairs, linking the lobby with the two dining areas and stacked floor-to-ceiling with bottles that wouldn¡¯t look out of place in your granny¡¯s drinks cabinet. Order a Trophy Negroni (given a twist with porcini-mushroom wine and truffle foam) before moving on to the wine list, which is reasonably priced and extensive. We can vouch for the Montepulciano, which is fruity and goes wonderfully with the rich pastas.
Take a big group ¨C Gloria Shoreditch is one of the few spots in London big enough for you to get a table ¨C and order some of those ginormous sharing plates and lots of wine. You won¡¯t want to leave until closing time.
Address: Gloria, 54-56 Great Eastern Street EC2A 3QR
Like this? Now read:
Our favourite Shoreditch restaurants
The 20 best Shoreditch restaurants20 Slides
By Cond¨¦ Nast Traveller and Tabitha Joyce
The best restaurants in London right now
Best restaurants in London: Our editors’ favourites right now54 Slides
By Cond¨¦ Nast Traveller, Tabitha Joyce and Sarah James
Italian restaurants in London
The best Italian restaurants in London41 Slides
By Tabitha Joyce and Sarah James