The second London restaurant from French favourites the Big Mamma Group, it’s already proving just as irresistible as big-sister restaurant, Gloria in Shoreditch.
You can spot Circolo from afar from the queue stretching far up the street. But it’s well worth the wait.
For one thing, it’s beautiful. Dazzlingly, jaw-droppingly, grab-my-phone because this is Insta-gold beautiful. Twinkling fairy lights sparkle from the ceiling, half-hidden by swathes of lush greenery. The warm light bounces from the numerous bottles that line the walls - there are 20,000 of them - reflecting an amber, warming glow. Combined with the packed tables and chatter resonating around the restaurant, there’s a true ambience of sun-warmed Sicily that’s infectious.
The food is 100% homemade, and even a read of the menu will put a smile on your face. Puns and cheeky asides abound - the Crudo Crocante is ‘A MUST’ - and indeed these lettuce cups of sea bass with olive, tomato and orange are pockets of pure Mediterranean bliss. The burrata is a snowy globe that pools into a gooey mess, white cheese merging with vivid, garlicky pesto. Paired with a Vermentino that’s ‘light and easy like a Sunday morning’ and we were off to a flying start.
If pizza is your dream meal, rest easy - you can enjoy an entire metre of it to share. Pasta can’t be missed, and the La Gran Carbonara is served at your table, with spaghetti and egg yolk mixed into a whole round of pecorino. It’s pure theatre and exactly what Circolo is all about. However, it was the decadent curls black truffle-covered Mafald Ine Al Tartufo that we were spooning from our plates, even when we were undeniably full.
But, to skip pudding at Circolo would be poor form indeed. Anyone who has experienced the Insta-famous Lemon Meringue Pie at Gloria will know that Big Mamma take show-stopping desserts rather seriously. As well as the wedge of citrus-meets-marshmallow pie, the Tiramisu is as good as nonna used to make, scooped direct from the dish. Beach body, you’re on the bench.
Circolo not only has space for 200+ covers indoors, but there’s also a large outdoor terrace where guests can soak up the sun and pretend they’re abroad as they tuck into authentic cicchetti and a chilled glass of wine. Good times are also guaranteed with big tables that seat up to 12, turning the space into a bustling hotspot when the party gets started.
Some names in the restaurant business just equal joy. Resplendent, hearty, hip-shaking, belly-laughing joy. Big Mamma Group is one of them. The title says it all, really - an Italian matriarch welcoming everyone into her kitchen, intent on feeding them until their stomachs groan with incredible homemade dishes. Circolo doesn’t disappoint. After a visit to this vibrant Italian trattoria, you’ll be planning your next visit before dinner’s even done.
Follow Big Mamma Group on Instagram: @bigmamma.uk
|What||Circolo Popolare restaurant review|
|Where||Circolo Popolare, 40 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1HX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
|Website||Click here for more information|