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If Big Mama were a real mama she would be passionate, full of life, give lovingly suffocating hugs, and insist on feeding you her very best cooking. Big Mama's is a restaurant for the romantic tete-a-tete, the family dinner, and Italian-sized celebrations. The front dining room feels homely with Italian charm. Retro paintings bestowing the virtues of Italy add colour to the rustic exposed brick wall. The owner Michael mingles between tables chatting to guests and topping up wine. The bar resembles an antique home mantelpiece and is lined with Italian liquors including the homemade Lemoncillo.
Outside, the courtyard has Tuscany running through it. The warm terracotta paint creates an earthy atmosphere and the strong tree trunks around which the restaurant is constructed can be seen climbing through the building's seams. The upstairs dining room reflects a touch of modern Milan. It is seamlessly stylish with white walls, silver framed mirrors, and a dramatic post-modern painting as the feature of the room. Sleek Italian waiters serve lightly roasted wagyu girello with tuna mayonnaise and baby caper sauce, which whets the appetite excitedly for main. The hard choice between pasta dishes is defeated by home-made pappardelle with brasato di manzo which is a favourite of the regulars. The zuppa di mare is fish, king prawns, black mussels, scampi, crab and scallops, served in a fragrant tomato broth with garlic crostini to soak up the remnants. Finally, the restaurant is known for its tiramisu which you will not want to share. The coffee and Amaretto liqueur savoiardi biscuits are layered with mascarpone so light it feels almost misty. Whether you have never been fed by Big Mama before, or she is the soul of your family, the restaurant is sure to wheedle its way onto your list of fond favourites.