We were looking for a restaurant in town for a quick, midweek bite. Something different, something fresh, something new. After much debate we decided to give Mele e Pere a try and it fitted the bill perfectly.
It’s the sort of place you could easily fail to spot, or at least mistake for an interior design boutique. The window is full of coloured glass apples and pears (mele e pere) and the ground floor is tiny – consisting of a bar and only limited seating.
Go downstairs though and you’ll see simple, stylish décor and lots more capacity. By the time we arrived, it was fairly late on a Wednesday evening so we were glad to see quite a few other tables in there, including an Italian group, which is always a good sign.
We had originally booked through Toptable but saw nothing on the set menu to take our fancy. So we put our stinginess aside and ordered from the main menu.
Sharing plates are not quite starter size, hence the need to order three or four between two people. Our squid was nice and crispy but the accompanying Aioli was very smokey and lacked a real citrus punch. It was enjoyable nevertheless. The lamb meatballs were acceptable but forgettable, it looked like such a promising dish but didn’t really deliver in terms of flavour. In hindsight, maybe the arancini or salt cod could have offered more – but at least we saved something to try next time.
As you’d expect, there’s a good selection of pasta dishes and you can choose either small or large plates. Alongside this, the meat dishes are priced between £17 and £24 and many sounded appealing. We were tempted by the veal Milanese but settled on the tagliatelli with beef ragu and the duck breast. The beef ragu was just as you would hope, with a good depth of flavour. The pasta was nicely cooked and the portion size was very generous. There was a brief moment of panic when we saw the duck because it looked totally raw. Luckily it had just been cooked sous-vide and tasted great.
Chef Andrea Mantovani was previously head chef at Arbutus so Mele e Pere is undoubtedly one to watch. The food was challenging enough for the adventurous eater as well as offering a few comforting crowd pleasers to fall back on.
There’s a good range of wines and we were pleased to see that you can get many by the glass. Alternatively, bottles start from a very reasonable £16.50. They also have a great value lunch menu (from £8.50) and a pre/post theatre menu at £17.50 for three courses. So next time you think of going to Strada for lunch, think again!
This is a reliable, mid-priced restaurant and if you are in the area, I’d recommend giving it a try. We paid £62 for two courses with a glass of wine and a beer.
Address: 46 Brewer Street Soho, London W1F 9TF
Phone: 020 7096 2096