Called Ave Mario, the 295-cover venue is billed as a cheeky interpretation of a church where ‘sins are forgotten, not forgiven’.
Divided into three sections, the space features a large skylight-lit dining room with a 3,500 bottle wine wall, two outdoor terraces and a 70s-inspired basement with a sunken kitchen.
The kitchen at Ave Mario will be run by Big Mamma’s youngest-ever head chef, 23-year-old Andrea Zambrano.
He has drawn inspiration from across Italy to create a menu of entirely new dishes, with no crossover with the group’s other London restaurants, the equally irreverent Gloria and Circolo Popolare.
Example dishes include carbonara ravioli filled with pecorino cream, egg yolk and guanciale; and Cotoletta alla Milanese, aka veal Milanese (veal cutlet coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter).
The pizzas will be based on dough using the Italian pre-fermentation technique biga to create ‘the pillowiest pizza dough you have ever eaten’.
Big Mamma has form for showstopping, Insta-famous desserts and Ave Mario will be no different, offering up a 60cm tall stracciatella ice cream cake marbled with chocolate spread.
The opening was first reported in late 2019 following the lodging of a planning application with Westminster City Council to merge the buildings of 29-30 Maiden Lane and 15 Henrietta Street to create a ‘high quality destination’ restaurant.
French company Big Mamma, which is run by Tigrane Seydoux and Victor Lugger, launched in the capital in early 2019 with the opening of the 172-cover Gloria and Shoreditch.
This was followed up with the opening of 300-cover Circolo Popolare in Fitzrovia’s Rathbone Place. Both restaurants have so far proved popular with Londoners, with queues outside at peak times.