Gloria, London EC2: restaurant review
Try platters of ruby beef carpaccio bigger than the table, ‘godsent’ smoked stracciatella and pasta served in a whole wheel of pecorino at Shoreditch’s crazy new Italian
Looking for restaurants in Shoreditch? Read our review of Gloria, and check out more suggestions for eating in Shoreditch here.
Gloria in a nutshell
A Paris export bringing top-quality Italian food to the streets of east London in its own quirky, seriously OTT way.
What's the vibe?
Gloria might call itself a “pure and traditional Italian trattoria” but this is signature Shoreditch (by way of Paris) – expect long queues thanks to a no-booking policy for groups under six, one-way-glass in the loos (yes, really) and overflowing plants, everywhere. In a nod to 50s Capri, the dining room mixes Carrara marble with colourful antique Italian ceramics, mirrored ceilings and velour banquettes. It gets raucous, tables are crammed in and you very well might need a torch to read the menu once it gets dark.
What's the food like?
All produce is sourced from Italy and it shows. Order smoked stracciatella (if you can resist burrata from Puglia), accurately described on the playful menu as “bloody godsent”. Crocchè (think croquettes) with black truffle béchamel, guanciale (face bacon – better than it sounds) and a cloud of parmigiano melt in the mouth and deserve a new moniker: golden balls.
A Big Mamma platter of carpaccio is really too big for a table of two (but we couldn’t resist, and made a gallant dent) but is a definite must-order if you’re hungry and/or in a gang. This is seriously decent beef, dressed with vibrant fresh basil pesto, toasted hazelnuts and suitably generously shavings of more cheese. There’s plenty more on the menu you’ll want to order, too, before you even get to the main attractions – we’re looking at you deep-fried artichoke with a cacio e pepe sauce.
If Instagrammable dishes are your bag then look no further than the La Gran Carbonara, for two to share, served in a giant wheel of pecorino, and the “incomparable” lemon pie with a promised 5.9-inch meringue layer – but we opt for more truffle and button mushrooms, beaten into mascarpone, clinging to the curls of fresh mafalda pasta. It’s an umami knockout. Neapolitan-style pizza is as it should be, too. Big, blistered crust; a sloppy, well-seasoned San Marzano tomato sauce heart – and the spicy “Robert de Nitro” toppings of mozzarella, ricotta, candied onions and salame piccante, leaking its amber oil, were a dream.
And the drinks?
There are plenty of classic cocktails to choose from but Gloria’s trophy negroni is unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere in London, with unusual additions of porcini mushroom wine and a truffle foam. Wines are all Italian, naturally.
The service is as chaotic as the décor, so be prepared. Expect to have to shout your order above the thrum – we had to repeat the order of our cocktail four times and it still arrived wrong – and pack your own food into boxes at the table if you want a doggy bag (and trust us, you will). Plus, if it’s your birthday, expect to be serenaded, loudly.
Gloria, 54-56 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3QR
Words by Laura Rowe
Photographs by Jérôme Galland, Joakim Blockstrom and Joann Pai