The Experience Journal: Carlotta Trattoria Tradizionale, Mayfair

Here at Faber, we believe the secret to success in the hospitality industry is the creation of a seamless experience—as opposed to a particular type of cuisine or decor. It occurs when a business knows exactly what it’s about, demonstrates it in every detail, and executes it consistently. We call this Immersive Hospitality™. And The Experience Journal puts a spotlight on venues that have achieved this to give readers an insight into what makes them special. 

In our latest edition, we get the lowdown on London’s Carlotta from our resident restaurant lovers: Graphic Designer Aimee and Founder Tony (who are just as happy creating venues as they are eating at them!).  

Extravagance is the order of the day at Carlotta Trattoria Tradizionale, which honours the evolution of the ‘bellissimo!’ of its motherland’s food to the ‘bada bing!’ of Italian-American kitsch cuisine, including a show-stopping ‘wedding cake’! 

Specialising in fresh, handmade pasta, the bold new venue pays homage to retro Italo-America. The latest addition to the Big Mama restaurant ‘famiglia’, Carlotta tells a love story with maximalist decor and portions as big as Mama used to make. 

A visit to the Mayfair venue makes for a unique experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously and stands out amongst the vast offerings of the Capital. Even the toilets have gone viral! But most importantly, Carlotta manages to have fun while remaining true to the ‘Italian way’: staying focused on the food… 

Aimee’s experience: “Walking into a Big Mamma restaurant you have high expectations, and Carlotta certainly delivered. Personally, I would say it’s now one of my favourite restaurants”. 

“On arrival, we were greeted outside the door and taken into a lobby bar that I wasn’t expecting at all. The whole place is lit up with bubble-filled acrylic rods that line the walls, creating a golden feature that wraps around the whole space. It sounds almost crude but the effect it gave was amazing. We were a bit early so we sat at the bar before our table was ready. It took quite a while for our order to be taken but the space was so mesmerising that we didn't really mind. And it almost added to the unapologetic Italian-Americanness!”. 

“A couple of minutes later we were taken to our table where the waiter came over with the menu and introduced himself. The decor is fabulous, it’s like being in a ‘60s Italian living room when you’re sitting in a busy restaurant. It feels as if it’s all been collected over time, even though it's brand new. And nothing feels overly designed; the boxing memorabilia, framed Gucci scarves, and wedding photos help to tell the family story”. 

“It’s not just Carlotta's interior that creates the experience though, the food adds to it too. Freshly made pastas are served from pans at the table onto handmade Italian plates. Nothing matches…which just adds to the charm and endless things to feast your eyes upon. The dessert we ordered was also a spectacle: a piece of Carlotta’s wedding cake! When it arrived at the table its sleeve was lifted to reveal a cascade of cream and jam, swimming with little sticks of meringue. And it was so light and morish, I would definitely recommend!”. 

“The stairway to the toilet is lined with family photoshundreds of themand when you arrive it couldn't be further from what you might be expecting. A shared sink is central to the room; the curved walls are lined with faceted mirrors and everything is illuminated by red light. Each cubicle is emblazoned with a neon word spelt backwards to be revealed when you look in the mirror. And a large statue of the Virgin Mary presides over the room which is becoming a popular selfie spot". 

“The whole interior, along with the food, feeds into the story of Carlotta’s family. As you sit at your table, taking in all the details, you feel like you're getting to know them…”. And it’s clear that the chintzy West-End venue has also made a big impression on our Founder Tony: “The thing with Carlotta, like all of the Big Mamma restaurants in London, is that so much of the experience is due to the design. Not just the interior, but also the tableware which is handmade and somewhat mismatched, the antique cutlery (also mismatched), and the staff uniformsit all combines to tell a story”.

“What impresses me most about Carlotta is how it appears as though it's not been designed. It’s as if it’s simply the accumulation of many years of existence. As a designer, there are things you notice about the interior that shouldn't work together, yet that is exactly what makes it so wonderful…”.

Do you want to make the most of the experience your brand offers? Our free guide Immersive Hospitality is an unmissable step-by-step plan to craft the perfect experience and is available to download now!  

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