try something new

Gloria brings Italy to Shoreditch

The UK’s favourite food isn’t really British at all. And even with the diversity in London, an Italian restaurant can still be found on most streets in the city centre. And while the food may be Italian, the atmosphere and décor are usually totally London. So we were pleasantly surprised when we walked through the door of Shoreditch’s new addition, Gloria, and were transported to Italy.

Images: Instagram

In the middle of Great Eastern street, Gloria sticks out with her cream awnings, yellow painted exterior and jungle of pot plants. It looks so out of place that it fits perfectly in Shoreditch, and actually looks like it’s been there for years.

The restaurant would look more at home in a small town in the heart of Italy, but luckily for us, it isn’t. The inside is perfectly decorated in true trattoria style, from the wicker chairs and tree (not real) in the middle of the room, to the marbled and mirrored bar area.

Everything rings with authenticity, including the staff, who are almost all Italian and incredibly friendly. The guys wear a uniform of a striped shirt, matching the booths, and the women are in floral shirts, matching the foliage adorning the restaurant.  

The whole aesthetic is so pleasing and entertaining that it would be easy to forget the main attraction – the food. But there’s no chance of that. For a generously sized menu, the food is done to perfection. It is split into small plates, large plates and (of course) pizzas.

Gloria mixes traditional Italy with a London twist, with the likes of the duo di salami Toscani – truffle and fennel salami — or the fry me a river, which turns out to be deep-fried fondant octopus tentacle with saffron zabaione.

The secondi piatti (mains) are a delicious amalgamation of Italian classics and innovative ideas. There are three “big sharer” options for two people – a simple but expertly executed carbonara served in a whole round of pecorino; spicy lamb pasta with wild garlic and a sprinkle of heat; and seafood risotto with langoustines, mussels, catch of the day, cuttlefish, bisque and octopus tentacles.

While the menu does feature a wide array of delectable meat options, the veggies are not forgotten. Gloria’s pasta al tartufo with black truffle, mascarpone and button mushrooms is again simple, but the quality of the ingredients and the chefs’ love of food really shines through in a well-balanced and delicate meal.

And the pizzas are not just well named — try the BrexItalia, the Regina Instagram or the Robert De Nitro — they taste amazing too.  The Youporn, with smoked mozzarella, crema di parmigiano, dried fennel, broccoli, sausage and olives is our favourite, but each has its own defining feature.

Any trip to a trattoria is incomplete without a tiramisu, and Gloria’s is up there with some of the best we’ve ever had. It is light, creamy and a perfect portion size after everything else we’ve had. Gloria is big on the details, from the intricate decorations to the way the food is served (in that whole wheel of pecorino or a little saucepan). It’s obvious there is a huge amount of passion behind the venture, and with queues out the door most nights we have no doubt this quirky trattoria will be around for a very long time. But we advise you get down there asap to see exactly what we mean.