The Big Mamma team — who brought you Pink Mamma, Pizzeria Popolare and La Felicità, among others — is back at it again. But this time they’ve shifted their sights away from Paris to Lille, near France’s border with Belgium. Though I’ve never been to Lille, the one thing I know about it is it’s know for a braderie (a sort of flea market) where they serve enormous amounts of moules-frites. So I think the new resto, La Bellezza, an “osteria tradizionale,” has a clear shot at cornering the market on authentic Italian cuisine.
Due to open on September 29, it will feature Chef Lello Santopaolo in a large open kitchen, cooking dishes based on seasonal products sourced from small producers in the Alps. As in the other Big Mamma restaurants, everything will be homemade. On the menu: fresh ravioli del plin burro e salvia, tortelli Mantovani and “Black Mamba” black linguine. Meat lovers can gnaw on the grilled lamb scottadito (“finger-burning”) or beef carpaccio from Big Mamma’s very own herd (these guys are a little bit obsessive). Or go for the double truffle pizza cooked in the 1.3-ton wood oven.
The wine list highlights small Italian winemakers, while the bar is also offering up craft beers on tap, Spritz, Negroni, etc. It might not be a bad idea if they made a small exception to their 100% Italian theme to serve up some nice, cold Belgian brews, in plentiful supply in the northern city.