Saturday night. Soho. You can almost feel the waves of trendy washing over you.
4 of us descend on Mele e Pere, enchanted by the twinkly glass Apple, Pears and Tomatoes in the window – which gives the place an air of the gallery about it. Incidentally I’ve now googled Mele e Pere and discovered it means Apples and Pears. The tomatoes are imposters!
The menu comprises of a selection of sharing plates to start and pasta & larger mains to follow – so far pretty standard Italian fare.
We opt for deep fried squid, smoked swordfish, buffalo mozzarella, Fennel salami and Olives & Bread to start. The highlight for me was the Fennel Salami – I found the breaded pastry style things (Gnocchi Fritti according to the menu) dry and unappetising, but the salami was lick your lips delicious. Squid was well cooked although this unrefined palate didn’t detect any smokiness to the aioli as advertised. The swordfish salad was light & refreshing and the buffalo mozzarella also came with a zing in the form of the accompanying anchovy dressing.
Next up – the pastas. 2 of us opted for the Globe Artichoke Ravioli with Monks Beard & Bottarga with Darling Husband opting for the Bucatini Amatriciana and W for the Fregola with artichoke and Broccoli.
I can never tell if it’s a good thing if the waiter needs to explain all the ingredients to the party or not, but either way once we’d asked the waiter a lot of questions, we proceeded to Google all the same things (You know, just in case the nice italian man didn’t know his italian)
Having discovered that Bottarga was a type of compressed fish roe, I spent a fair amount of time digging for it – but either the taste was too subtle for me or what I imagined to be other ingredients was in fact the Bottarga – I missed it completely!
Nevertheless, the ravioli was soft, succulent and a very generous sized portion. Darling Husband did admit to some food envy when comparing the ravioli with his bucatini (Sort of Penne) but still didn’t hesitate in polishing his plate off. The fregola (a pasta that resembles couscous) was also given a hearty thumbs up.
The waiter, a cheeky/flirty Italian (Is there any other kind?) was charming, helpful and friendly without being overbearing. Overall, a great hit and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend if you were cruising the Soho streets.
We ended the night with Gelato at what friends W & D rated as their ‘favourite place in London’ – Amorino. Go here. My favourite was the Pistachio!