He who has not heard of the restaurant East Mamma lives probably reclusive like a hermit at the bottom-end of the catacombs. Even before its opening, the buzz was already huge, and now – several months later – the place is always packed. To grab a table at East Mamma, you must get up early. I took me 5 times before succeeding! At the little sister Obermamma in Oberkampf, same story. Well, you should ask, but why these two restaurants are full every afternoon and evening (even at 7pm!)? Well, for these 5 simple reasons:
Although the team is (almost) 100% Italian, the service itself is the American way: impeccable hospitality, ciao ciao here and there, a glass of water once served and the carafe filled, a tap on the shoulder and a complacent chat, it is the service that is lacking in a cold and marmoreal Paris that I cursed so much. And that my friend, feels good.
Arrivals every week from Italy, the products are absolutely perfect and come directly from the producers: the smoked stracciatella is creamy to perfection, the pasta is fresh and homemade everyday with organic wheat semolina, one pizza can feed a family of 7, the coffee is brewed the Neapolitan way, the wine is “nature”, and tutti quanti.
Driven by la mamma, Stella Di Viesto, with her recipes of yesteryear, the young Neapolitan chef Ciro Cristiano frives his team, formed in the family kitchen in Corso San Giovanni. At his side and behind the wood oven, his cousin Pasquale Giordano makes pizzas dance since he was 12 years old. With Brooklyn caps on their head, their busy team fuss around, run, sweat and twirl pizzas in the air or simmer pasta.
Tigranes Seydoux and Victor Lugger, at the origin of the Big Mamma project, gambled on the English designer Martin Brudnizki (Jamie Oliver’s restaurants), and they were right. Green marble countertops under an industrial glass roof, open kitchens where you can see a monumental wood oven, quirky and mastered graphics on menus, retro wall lamps on the aged wooden walls, flowery tableware and copper pots, in short, a good mix to feel good.
In Italy, you eat well everywhere, even on a motorway service area or in a shabby cafe. The pizzas do not exceed a few euros and here, it’s the same, the price positioning of a typical trattoria: from 12-15 euros for pasta and 9-15 euros for (huge) pizzas. And my favorite part: the killer aperitivo served with an pple basil spritz cocktail in the evening!
And that is why we are going there and we want to go back every week! Mamma Mia!