To say that this place is the talk of the city would be an understatement. Having popped up in Hockley only a few months ago, with no grand opening or online presence to announce itself (nothing but its endearing, if not somewhat bemusing name signposted out front), you’d be forgiven for assuming that Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti isn’t a main contender on the Notts dining scene.
In reality, a table at this little restaurant is the hottest ticket in town right now, and for two main reasons. The first is its exclusivity – the entirety of the main dining area consists of about 5-6 tables, and you’ll be hard pressed to nab one if you haven’t booked. The second is what its menu has to offer (a handwritten, daily changing menu at that) – incredibly authentic Italian food. Simple, cooked to perfection, tasty.
I’d heard good things from several sources, and finally got the chance to try it for myself last week…
I ordered the king scallop, garlic & chilli linguine, which arrived as an absolute mammoth portion (not complaining) The pasta itself was so flavoursome that no sauce was necessary – whole cloves of garlic thrown in mixed with a real kick of heat (stalk of chilli included as evidence!) Rather salty though, so make sure to have a drink on hand! The scallops were juicy and really well seasoned, providing a fresh seafood taste without being overpowering.
My friend only had one option as a vegetarian, which was the spinach & ricotta ravioli. It’s always a bit hit or miss when there’s only the one veggie choice, especially when it doesn’t sound overly exciting. However, this was proof that simple food done right is really second to none. While not as intimidating as my portion size, this packed a punch in terms of flavour: each parcel was bursting with richness, with the tangy tomato sauce blending perfectly with the creamy cheese (not to mention the cooked-to-perfection pasta)
The temptation of dessert was too much to resist so we tried a couple – first, an orange and polenta cake. Light and crumbly, there was a graininess to it that meant it could be wonderfully moist without being sticky. The sharp citrus zing met the sweet glaze in a harmony that meant I could probably have devoured the whole cake in one go.
Dessert number 2 was strawberry pannacotta. This had some serious wobble going for it – it was solid and definitely needed a firm hand to slice it, as it should! 100% melt-in-the-mouth goodness, its sharp coulis included whole chunks of strawberry for some welcome texture.
In terms of atmosphere and vibe, this place ranks highly. It’s cosy, vibrant and welcoming, and the service we received was excellent (and I’m not just saying that because of the free shots that arrived at our table!) Price-wise it’s not the cheapest, but once you step foot inside you don’t expect it to be. You’re paying for real class. And for the best Italian food I’ve eaten outside of Italy itself (no joke), I’ll pay it again and again. Believe the hype.
robyn’s review: 9.5/10
Find Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti at 3 Heathcoat St, Nottingham NG1 3AF