If you’re a foodie like myself and scour for the best restaurants regularly, you’ve probably come across Paris’ famous Big Mamma Group. Marking its fifth opening in London, Carlotta has been on my radar after hearing about its boujee bathrooms and gorgeous interiors. Plus, I've only been to Gloria before so I was excited to see what this iconic brand had to bring to the table - literally - I've have been dying to try its truffle pasta. So did the venue live up to its hype?
Situated in Marylebone, the restaurant certainly delivered when it came to décor. Walking in, we were met with one of the prettiest and sleekest gold bars I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Meanwhile, the main dining area was a nod to Italian culture, thanks to its red leather banquette seating, golden draped curtains and gold finishings. Plus, there were framed photos of Italian weddings peppered across the venue to add a bit more of an authentic feel to the eatery.
My friend and I sat down and kicked off our evening with starters. We opted for the arancini al pistachio (£14) which was a mix of mozzarella and smoky provola cream, accompanied by a zesty pesto. Arancini has been my latest food obsession so I had high expectations but between the cheesy pull and the herbaceous flavours, it was a homerun. For drinks, I started off with the lo sgroppino (£14)– a homemade bergamot sorbet with Italicus liqueur, limoncello, and a dash of Champagne. Sweet and summery, it contrasted from my friend's tipple, the raspberry shrub (£7) a mocktail that was just as fruity but had a bit more of a tart kick exuding notes of ginger and lemon.
As for mains, I ordered the Big Mamma classic carpaccio (£18) and each thin slice of meat was accentuated with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and 22-month-aged parmesan. As tasty as this plate was, I think it would suit much better as a smaller starter than a full meal. However, my pal went for the fettuccine alfredo al tartufo (£23) which is suitable for two people. She shared a portion of hers with me, and luckily, our carb-heavy bowls were topped with freshly shaved truffle which the waitress did right in front of us. Dinner and a show is always welcome in my books. While the truffle added a bit more flavour, the alfredo alone wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
After indulging on our fare, I excused myself to the bathroom, which was a whole experience in itself. I ascended up the stairs and got my phone ready for the moment – this was Big Mamma’s specialty after all. Red light bulbs were glowing as I entered the room and gawked at a huge Virgin Mary underneath a grandiose chandelier. There were also phrases like 'thinking of you' and mirrored walls - ideal for all those selfies.
Finally, we were ready for dessert. My friend scooped up the Carlotta’s wedding cake (£14) – layers of almond génoise and raspberry, paired with a lychee hibiscus coulis and crunchy meringue which was revealed as the waitress poured it over. Apart from the theatrics, the dish was sweet, creamy and showcased a complex profile. Meanwhile, I opted for the burnt vanilla cheesecake (£9) and the decadence of this slice was incredible. I’m a sucker for the classics so I’d give this one an edge over the wedding cake.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Overall, this Big Mamma Group restaurant delivered on interiors and Italian vibes. While the mains didn’t give me the wow-factor I was after, the starters, desserts and drinks more than made up for it. I also couldn’t fault the interiors – that gold bar and the red-lit toilet definitely stood out to me, but I also appreciated all the details put into this venue. And while I’ve only been to one other Big Mamma Group restaurant, this trip to Carlotta definitely made me want to visit the rest of these London hotspots. So what’s next? Circolo Popolare? Jacuzzi? Stay tuned…
💰 The damage: Around £100 between two, plus service charge.
📍 The location: 19-23 Charlotte St., London W1T 1RW.
👌 Perfect for: Cute date nights and boujee dinners.
⭐ Need to know: There's also a super sexy basement on the lower floor.