You know those meals that you can’t help but want to rave about to anyone who will listen!? Last week I visited La Mia Mamma and despite having very little free time to write these days, I felt compelled to share it on my blog – it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve had this year.
Set in one of the most beautiful areas in London, this Chelsea-based restaurant is stunning inside, with bare brick walls, an open kitchen and a beautifully rustic bar.. there’s even a tiny kitchen area at the front where the mammas whip up some of their favourite dishes.
The concept is wonderfully unique – they bring over real Italian “mammas” from different regions of Italy to cook real, homemade food – it doesn’t get any more authentic than that! With a focus on simple, honest Italian cooking, these “mammas” aren’t professional chefs by any stretch; they’re just incredibly talented home cooks who want to share their favourite traditional dishes which they’re so proud of. With a passion that’s infectious, it’s impossible not to love them – the way their faces light up when they’re describing the dishes means you can’t help but share their excitement.
They have an a la carte menu which features dishes from all over Italy, but we tried the Mamma’s Menu, and I highly recommend you do too! The meal starts with a mix of antipasti, which change depending on the mammas’ mood. Thankfully there are no decisions to be made – the starters just consist of bowl after bowl of deliciousness. We were lucky enough to try two different types of frittata, meatballs, a ham and cheese stuffed meatloaf, deep fried breadcrumbed peppers, a roasted vegetable cous cous and a wonderfully creamy ball of stracciatella – a beautiful soft cheese not dissimilar to burrata. Of course there was bread – multiple baskets in our case – inside was a lovely focaccia but my favourite was a slightly denser, wonderfully savoury soft bread – I don’t know what they put in it but it was some of the best bread I’ve ever had.. I even asked for an extra basket to take home afterwards!
Choosing mains was difficult, and whilst I loved the octopus, I’d actually advise sticking to the pasta dishes. For someone who usually opts for meat and fish if there’s no pizza on the menu, the pasta dishes blew me away. There are five on the menu and I’d have been happy with any – like any good Italian the focus here is clearly on ingredients of the highest quality. After much deliberation we went for the Cavatelli con pomodorini e pancetta di maialino dei Nebrodi (pasta shells served with Sicilian cherry tomatoes & Italian bacon) and the Pasta ‘ncasciata del detective Montalbano(oven baked rigatoni with beef Bolognese sauce, cooked ham, boiled eggs, mozzarella and parmesan cheese). Both of them were cooked to perfection – the pasta al dente and the ingredients marrying up perfectly with each other and with the sauce. Combined with more bread I couldn’t have been happier!
As if that wasn’t enough, the mammas came round mid-meal to offer up one of their favourites, straight from the pan! Bread stuffed with different types of cheese before being breadcrumbed and deep fried – if that isn’t heaven then I’m sorry I don’t know what is!
Neither myself nor my friend are a fan of Italian desserts – tiramisu, panna cotta and zabaglione are possibly some of my least favourite out there and I actively avoid any cream-based desserts. On the Mamma’s Menu though, dessert is included and as soon as we’d finished our mains they were brought over without us even asking! Never one to even entertain the idea of wasting food I dug straight in and honestly, I was incredibly impressed. The semi freddo was firmer than I was expecting, wonderfully sweet and absolutely packed full of toasted nuts. The little pot contained a slightly tangier citrus cream with chocolate chips spread throughout and a wonderfully indulgent chocolate ganache spread liberally on top. Considering I was going to turn down dessert in favour of cookies at the nearby Ben’s, I absolutely inhaled them both (and probably would do again given the option!).
Everything about this place made for the most wonderfully memorable meal – the food, the atmosphere and most importantly the mammas themselves; from the moment you step inside you’re made to feel so welcome it’s as if you’re family – trust me when I say you have to try this place!
They’re sampling Sicily until the end of September, after which a new rotation will begin, to allow diners to sample traditional dishes from a different region – with twenty regions in total, I suggest you get yourselves down before the end of September as it’s set to be a while before the Sicilian mammas will be back!
Link to their website: https://www.lamiamamma.co.uk