Mele e Pere
This sexy Italian is big on meat. And Vermouth.
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If you ever find yourselves heading out of Prowler, instead of falling into Escape, take a left and keep going up the road. You’ll soon spot Mele e Pere for their iconic glass pears, at the back of their upstairs casual bar area, populated by a very attractive early evening crowd. This is where we ended up for a pleasant evening, reviewing this Italian restaurant, within staggering distance of the heart of London's Soho
What we immediately loved about the place is was that it was classy but still relatively informal. Some posh restaurants you go in, and you feel intimidated by all the designer suits - and although you can make an effort like some people clearly did, the general vibe is the bohemian end of smart casual. They’ve miraculously made clever use of all the space, as there are loads of tables but you’re not knocking elbows with anyone else, and despite the loud noisy chatter of a packed restaurant all talking at the same time, you don’t actually suffer hearing your neighbours inane conversation (or having to share any of your more intimate details). It’s also worth noting that they have an unproportionally high ratio of hot waiting staff, and all the men were sporting smart stubble. A welcome touch.
To kick off your meal, it suggested you take three or four of the tapas style starters, a buffet of dried, cured and salty meats. Things can be overpowering, (the spicy fried olives though are worth it) but our helpful waitress had already suggested ordering some Ricotta to balance things out. The flavours are brash, strong and salty, but they specialise in citrus-y Vermouths which cut straight through and allow you to start over again.
Our friendly waitress uttered the words ‘signature dish’, which is like waving a big pointy foam finger at the menu. So the T-Bone steak, signature dish you say? Why not. The fact that you have to share this with another person should’ve been something of a clue as to the enormity of it - but we can confirm, this is one MASSIVE steak. “It’s like something The Flintstones would eat” was the astute observation from my dining partner, who also pointed out that as a gym goer it was pure protein. I had meat sweats just looking at it, but it was delicious even if my eyes were bigger than my soon to be large belly. The fried zucchini with mint was a good accompaniment as were or the more traditional chips, great for mopping up all the meat juices and gravy.
Before you leave you will have to try any one of their After Dinner Cocktails (after some bubblegum or peanut butter ice cream, which despite the gimmicky flavours are incredibly adult and rich) which are a perfectly elegant ending to a Mele and Pere meal. Their Caffe Vermouth was a final boozy flourish, a replacement for the traditional end of meal espresso.
Sharing plates are around £3.50 - £5.50, mains start at £14.50 inc sidedish, and the After Dinner Cocktails are £9. Mele e Pere, 46 Brewer St London, W1F 9TF.
Words: Bob Henderson