Just before Christmas, I was lucky enough to be invited to the most fantastic local seafood restaurant in west London where a long-time platonic friend, Alessandro Verdenelli, is head chef. This is one of those places that once you know about it you return again and again with friends because the welcome is always generous, the ambience is mellow and the food is both sensational and comforting. Once I’d dined on the best lobster pasta in memory and had enjoyed a glass of red or two, I met up to have a conversation with the man behind the brand – Andrea Bassi, who’s Managing Director of ‘Mamalù’ and a major figure on the London hospitality scene…

ABOVE: Andrea Bassi; Nicky Summer; chef Alessandro Verdanelli

NS: “Andrea… I love the concept of this restaurant ‘Mamalù – the meal was way beyond expectations, although I know Alessandro’s cuisine is amazing, and the service was excellent; I’m really happy to know about this relatively new place near my neighbourhood of South Ken. What was the inspiration, what’s your background and how did you happen to come here from Italy in the first place?” 

AB: “Thank you, Nicky – we’re like a family here! Originally I’m from the Abruzzo region of Italy which is located on the east coast along the Adriatic; it’s a particularly wild area known for it’s vast expanses and wolf-populated landscapes. I was raised just ten minutes from the beach and twenty minutes from the mountains, which provided the unique experience of witnessing the sea while skiing and also enjoying mountain views while on a boat. My first job was as a photographer at my uncle’s aqua park in Vasto; at just sixteen years old, it marked my inaugural foray into entertaining and engaging with guests – later, the reason for my journey to London was love; I fell in love with a special someone, which led me to move to this city…”

ABOVE: Andrea Bassi; the interior of Mamalù with concept award in the foreground

NS: “Are you involved with any other ventures besides here at Mamalù?”

AB: “Currently, I’m collaborating with a Swiss hospitality group on projects in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Additionally, I run my hospitality firm, Andrea Bassi Consultancy Limited. Furthermore, I hold the managing director position at Venom Enterprise, which oversees Mamalù. In essence, I am currently actively engaged on three administration boards…”

NS: “What inspired the name of the restaurant, how did Mamalù first come about and who’s involved beside yourself? The service has been amazing this evening…”

AB: “The three women on the board inspire the name Mamalù: Maria Lucrezia, Marina and Ludovica! The inception of Mamalù stemmed from the investors’ aspiration to establish a distinctive food destination in London; fusing their desire with expertise and knowledge made this vision a reality. Here at Mamalù, chef Alessandro Verdenelli is primarily involved as our restaurant consultant. Nicola Mulas serves as our operational manager and he specialises in the comprehensive management and overseeing of all restaurant operations; Nicola is known in the business for his exceptional managerial skills… he excels at cultivating robust relationships with clients, teams, and stakeholders. Then there’s Lavinia – who’s our events and marketing coordinator – and she plays a pivotal role in shaping our sales and marketing strategies, handling all public relations and the management of our overall image…”

NS: “You’ve managed to combine two of my favourite foods – seafood and pasta – and I’m sure many others think the same…”

AB: “Yes, our unique selling points revolve around our specialisation in seafood and homemade pasta. Most of our seafood is directly imported from Italy, while the remaining portion is sourced daily from local British suppliers. We take pride in using sustainable and organic ingredients and fostering solid relationships with our suppliers. Additionally, our USP extends to traditional Italian hospitality… we distinguish ourselves as one of the few Italian restaurants in London that significantly emphasises warmly welcoming guests upon entry and ensuring a gracious farewell, considering it a crucial step in our service…”

NS: “I agree with that philosophy entirely… there’s nothing worse than being ignored when arriving or leaving a restaurant, hotel or any other venue! Besides managing to secure the right staff with the right attitude, what other major challenges are involved in being a restaurateur in this area, and how have you overcome them?”

AB: “One of the primary challenges we face as restaurateurs in central London is the high level of competition. To address this, we remain vigilant about pricing strategies and stay abreast of industry trends to ensure our offerings remain appealing. As you say, post-Brexit, recruiting skilled staff has become a hurdle for the hospitality sector; despite this, we’ve successfully built a small yet robust Italian team which has been with us since our inception a year ago. This longevity is a testament to our firm commitment to strong company values and competitiveness…”

ABOVE: Andrea and Nicola; the ‘BEST RESTAURANT CONCEPT 2023’ award won by Mamalù

NS: “I first heard from Alessandro then I saw on your Instagram account that you recently won a major industry award for Mamalù…what was the category?”

AB: “Yes! Our most recent accolade is the esteemed title of the “Best Restaurant Concept,” presented by the Chambers of Commerce of Italy – it’s an exceptionally prestigious Italian award. This recognition as the year’s top concept proposed in London has filled us all with immense pride…”

NS: “As your concept is proving to be extremely successful – the restaurant was packed with guests this evening and each of the tables were turned over three times – what are your plans for the future of the Mamalù brand?”

AB: “Our future business plans involve expanding and launching a new flagship location; although we currently operate within residential areas, our vision is to establish a presence even closer to central London, with potential locations in areas such as Marylebone and Fitzrovia…”

NS: “Who inspires you on a personal level; it must have taken grit and determination to get to your position in what is a very demanding industry…”

AB: “My greatest inspiration is my father, not just for his values but also for his unwavering consistency and resilience; every day, I look up to him. Despite his career in finance, which is a path I obviously chose not to follow, he has remained close to me throughout my journey…”

NS: “Andrea, it’s refreshing and admirable to meet someone who values such a unique concept that also involves sustainability while additionally ensuring there’s a family-like relationship between employees – what are your hopes for the New Year in this uncertain time?”

AB: “Thank you! My primary wish for 2024 is to undeniably cultivate a spirit of PEACE that transcends individual animosities, aiming for a more harmonious environment in our immediate surroundings and also globally. This wish extends beyond the well-known ongoing situations in Palestine and Ukraine, seeking universal peace within everyone’s heart…”

NS: “Thank you for an incredible evening, Andrea… huge congratulations on your award; I wish you and your incredible team all the very best for the new year ahead!”

Mamalù: 314 Earls Court Road, London SW5 9BQ WEBSITE:


Mamalù Italian seafood restaurant is positioned on the southern end of Earls Court Road, very close to the mansions on The Boltons, Tregunter Road, Old Brompton Road and Earls Court Square. Luxury hotels within easy walking distance in South Kensington include The Milestone, The Pelham, The Ampersand and the Fraser Suites.

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