The restaurant was rammed with twenty- and early thirty-somethings but, due to its size, not cramped. The food, borne by wonderfully friendly, debonair staff, was reasonable and very good. The goat's cheese bruschette with white truffle oil and summer mushrooms was earthy and beautifully light (the mushrooms, though, were raw, which was a little odd; why not sautéed?) The beef tartare, served with a vast hunk of foccaccia, was clumpy - all the better for tartare lovers - and the accompanying duck egg yolk was divine. We loved the mushroom gnocchi with girolles and white truffle oil and the salt cod is highly recommended for sharing, piled high on to Kettle-style chips.
We finished with a huge scoop of Lavender ice-cream; which was sweet,but not too sweet, and not in the least bit soapy. Our waiter insisted that we try some of the restaurant's home-brewed aperitif, vermouth - a deliciously botanical potion of a drink, that transported us straight to the green Piedmontese hills. In fact, the menu boasted over 15 types of this fortified wine. "It's our thing", the waiter said.
We do have a criticism, though. The message of the restaurant gets a bit lost; there's simply too much going on at Mele e Pere. The restaurant's traditional aspects and attempt at a Trattoria atmosphere brush up against the modern touches. The place feels too big; like an upmarket Strada. The vermouth felt like an add-on, when in fact it should have been a revelation. In trying to be all things to all men, Mele e Pere feels a touch all over the place.
Nevertheless, we recommend stopping in for a casual and affordable weekday breakfast, lunch or dinner - if not a birthday celebration.
|Mele e Pere, Brewer Street
|Mele e Pere, 46 Brewer Street , London, W1F 9TF | MAP
|Piccadilly Circus (underground)
01 Feb 12 – 17 Feb 17, Monday to Saturday 8.30am-11pm, Sunday Noon-10pm.
|£15 for mains
|Click here to book via Mele e Pere