First there was Gloria. Now, there is Circolo Popolare.
Sophomore efforts are a tricky business, especially when your first hit was Gloria, a smash-hit Italian eatery known for their elaborately over the top dishes. Still, the Big Mamma team have displayed the nous to pull it off, so we’re eagerly awaiting follow-up Circolo Popolare, set to open in Fitzrovia this June.
There’s a different name, different food, different decor, but the intention remains the same: laudably outlandish dishes that leave you utterly stuffed. Whereas Gloria was more of a catch-all Italian joint, Circolo Popolare focuses on the cuisine of Sicily and the Mediterranean, with small, easily-digested plates like their metre-long pizzas on offer.
Other dishes include Sfoglia Norma – gigantic sheets of pasta topped with tomato and aubergines – and pork skewers al Arrabiata. Dessert evokes the ludicrous spectacle of Gloria’s lemon meringue pie, with the ‘OTT 1L Sundae’ featuring coma-inducing amounts of ice cream and giant cookie chunks.
Circolo Popolare will aim to bring the style of the Sicilian coastline to Rathbone Square, with an armada of plants, lights festooned everywhere, and 20,000 bottles of booze lining the walls. Optimistically, given the British weather, they’ll have space for a 60-seater outdoor terrace – and if they can bring sunshine as dazzling as their food, we’ll be pretty chuffed.
Find Circolo Popolare in Rathbone Square, W1T 1JN. An opening date is TBC, but it’ll be June sometime.
Also published on Medium.