Mere in Fitzrovia
Monica Galetti has perhaps, in more recent years, made a name for herself as a television personality and as a judge on the popular cooking show, Masterchef: The Professionals. But she’s certainly not new to the industry, having spent nearly two decades working at Le Gavroche under chef Michel Roux Jr. It is here that she would eventually meet her sommelier husband and business partner David Galetti, with whom she developed the idea for their new restaurant, Mere. The restaurant is a celebration of the couple’s mixed heritage, which pairs classical French cooking techniques with influences from the South Pacific. And it’s all in the name, too, with Mere being both the French word for mother, and the name of Monica’s Samoan mother.
Located at the quieter end of Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, Mere is a modest yet elegant presence there. The focus here is on fine dining in an unpretentious setting, and this shows in the venue’s interiors, which are relaxed and inviting. Split over two floors, guests are ushered into a comfortable lounge area filled with plush royal-blue couches, to order a drink from the extensive cocktail and wine list. Downstairs, the main dining room can seat 60 guests in a spacious area filled with natural light.
The food menu is carefully designed with seasonality and market availability in mind, with just six options for each course, which change regularly. We begin with Scallop, which sings with the colours and flavours of the season, with two plump, generously-sized scallops arriving atop a layer of asparagus and young spring vegetables. The shellfish is handled with expert care, just cooked and retaining its delicate sweetness, with layers of texture and crunch from a salty bacon crumb. Johannershof Reinisch wine from Austria’s Thermenregion is a refreshing accompaniment, complementing the seafood and highlighting the dish’s sweet notes.
Mushroom and Marmite is an unexpected resident option, but pleasantly surprises upon arrival with the subtle scent of the yeast extract, which is very slight on the palate, and not overpowering as one might expect. Instead, the pairing of ingredients elevates the whole with umami flavours. The three tortellini are again generous in size, cooked al dente and containing within a sweet filling of mixed mushrooms. After sampling the dish, it leaves little doubt that this could become one of Mere’s signature menu items.
On a menu offering the likes of lobster and squab, chicken is arguably one of the less exciting choices, but we go for it anyway, and we’re not sorry we did. The bird is a textural delight, serving up the meat two ways; the roast breast is juicy and tender, while confit thigh is crunchy and pleasingly salty. A garnish of sweet purée, baby carrots and morels helps to balance the dish, while the wild garlic Parisienne gnocchi is light and comforting on the palate.
To round off the evening, we opt for the Chocolate and Peanut. Made with a cremeux, peanut praline and a roasted cocoa nib ice cream – the dessert is for any fan of Reese’s Cups’ idea of heaven: full of peanut flavour, with a moreish balance between sweet and savoury and an ice cream that helps cut through the richness of the pudding. We also try the Rhubarb dessert, which is pretty as a picture and understandably every food Instagrammer’s dream. Made with layers of rhubarb and crème fraîche, shortbread and white chocolate sorbet, it is fruity and sweet, with a perfectly short texture to the bake. Accompanying dessert wine in the form of 2009 Chateau Bouscassé Vendemiaire completes the rhubarb beautifully.
Mere is easily a place to while away a few hours, its relaxed vibe, excellent menu and top-notch wine list making this a top destination for foodies in the vicinity. But as good as the food is, it’s just one component in the success of this new venture by the Galettis. Excellent and attentive service by knowledgeable staff is noteworthy, and the personal touches throughout the entirety of the space add to the experience here, making this place one worth coming back to.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Cristian Barnett/Rasha Barazi
To book a table at Mere, 74 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4QH, call 020 7268 6565 or visit here.