It was a cold Friday night in London. I had just come out of a long meeting in St. Johns Wood & was ravenous. I met my eating partner (I mean boyfriend) in the area with the hope of enjoying a nice meal to start my weekend. However unbeknown to us, there weren’t very many restaurants to choose from & we didn’t fancy exploring around the area with roaring bellies & freezing cold toes. Instead, we decided to head back home & eat somewhere more local.
As our train arrived at our last stop & we digged into our pockets for our car keys, we realised that neither of our cars were at the station! This meant that our only option was to go somewhere along the walk home down Station Road in Chingford. The first restaurant our eyes set sight on was an Italian which instantly got our mouths watering for this type of cuisine. This particular restaurant didn’t look that busy which to me, especially at 8pm on a Friday evening, doesn’t look so promising.
We thought we would walk down & see if there were any others which is when we came across Mamma Mia. Not only was it the most modern & spacious restaurant out of the 3 we saw, it was jam packed. As soon as we entered my nose was pleasured with the beautiful scent of garlic – just what I want from an Italian restaurant (even if it doesn’t want me lol!). The shabby wooden decor, striped table cloths & friendly waitress gave the restaurant a real homely & authentic aura. I truly felt like I was in Mamma’s kitchen!
Shortly after being seatedp, we were offered the wine menu aka the worst part of eating out for me as I’m no wine connoisseur! All I know is that I like Rosé & lot of it so asked for a large glass! To my disappointment it was a bit too strong & dry but hey, at least I got a true feel of Italy! I would ask for a sweeter one next time.
As we were so hungry & had the privilege of walking home to burn it all off afterwards, we ordered two starters. Or so I thought..
Pizzetta all’aglio – Thin crispy garlic bread
Calamari Fritti – Deep fried breaded squids
This easily could have been a main meal but we certainly weren’t complaining! #fatties. The bread had just the right amount of sauce on to avoid it being soggy & lived up to its “crispy” description. You could tell it was homemade & fresh. If you don’t like a lot of garlic then this isn’t for you as it was quite strong but this is perfect in my eyes.
Being Greek, I have had a lot of calamari in my time & I’ve got to say that this is up there as being one of the best. It wasn’t chewy, the breadcrumbs weren’t soggy & it came drizzled in something I’ve never tried it with: balsamic vinegar. It worked so well & added so much moisture that I didn’t even use the garlic dip it came with. I now know which condiment I will be asking for when I next order calamari!
Penne al pollo e pancetta – Pasta quills in cheese sauce with diced chicken, crispy bacon & balsamic syrup.
Ravioli ripieni di pollo e pesto rosso – Homemade chicken & red pesto ravioli served with dolcelatte sauce.
On first sight, I was so happy with my choice. I normally refrain from ordering ravioli at restaurants because you are generally served a maximum of 3 parcels! However as you can see, the portion here was brill. Although it was delicious & I couldn’t fault it, I think my boyfriend chose the better dish. I definitely could have chosen something much more exciting from their fine menu. What intrigued me to try this meal was the “red pesto” because I love normal pesto, but it didn’t taste a thing like it. In fact it tasted very similar to mascarpone sauce. This is when it dawned on me that the dish was basically a posh & far better version of those packet raviolis from the supermarkets which you boil for 3 mins with a tub of microwaveable mascarpone sauce. When I return, I will definitely be trying the chicken & bacon pasta or a pizza. I do have to say though, their burger looked amazing too!
It has kind of become a tradition between my boyfriend & I that if crème brûlée is on the menu, we are definitely ordering it whether we have room or not. We 100% made the right decision! I think that it is quite difficult for this dessert to taste considerably unique in different restaurants (well, unless the mix is lumpy or tastes too eggy) as it is a pretty simple recipe. As a result it is always interesting to see how different places present the afters as well as what they serve it with & I’m glad to say that Mamma didn’t disappoint. Chocolate was involved which you can never go wrong with as well as a strawberry, but most importantly a crunchy almond biscuit-type thing! This complimented the softness of the crème brûlée perfectly.
Overall, we had a great evening with the wholesome food at Mamma Mia Cucina. We can’t believe it has taken us so long to #discoverdifference at this little place considering that it is around the corner from us! It has a very cosy & homely feel which makes it ideal for an evening out with a partner or family. It has a vast array of options for a light lunch or a meatier meal after sunset. Would definitely recommend for Valentine’s Day which as you can see from the picture at the top of this post, they are very ready for! Call them on 020 8524 133 to book your table in time.
Been here before? Share your experience in the comments section below…