Mele E Pere, Soho

Pritesh Mody |

Mele e Pere OutsideIn London's fast-paced restaurant scene, finding a reliable neighbourhood style has become something of a challenge. So to experience this at Mele e Pere in the heart of Soho was something of a surprise.

Indeed, the concept would appear to be pretty radical to those that have become accustomed to the modern way of dining out in Central London; you can actually book a table, the service is inviting and there isn't a brioche bun in sight! The trattoria-style venue provides the perfect combination of eye-catching and comfortable.  A stunning window display of Murano glass fruits and an extensive use of re-claimed Venetian tiles is juxtaposed with simple wooden furniture and shelves filled with homely bric-a-brac. In the kitchen is Andrea Mantovani, a chef with impressive experience having worked under Anthony Demetre at Arbutus, Wild Honey and Les Deux Salons.  Andrea's menu is filled with Northern Italian dishes that you would happily eat on a daily basis, and more importantly, the cooking itself is spot-on. Mele e Pere Gnocchi Starters are ideally suited to sharing, with highlights including Finocchiona (fennel) salame with crispy on the outside/pillow-soft on the inside gnocchi fritti and wonderfully salty shavings of parmesan; and one of London's best value luxury dishes consisting of a plate of Gnocchi with generous slices of Umbrian black truffles for £11. Main courses include Braised shin of veal, wild mushrooms and soft polenta that could happily serve as the dictionary definition of comfort food and a delicate Fillet of silver bream, golden potatoes and basil gremolata.  If you've still got room for dessert, delights such as home-made Gelato and Tiramisu await you. The drinks are taken just as seriously as the food, with a bar that that carries one of London's largest range of vermouths – notably something they championed before vermouth became so trendy.  The bar team has even created its own homemade efforts, including a dry, citrus white; a bitter herbaceous red; and an after dinner apricot and peach variety in addition to a range of Vermouth based and classic cocktails. As you'd expect, the wine list focuses on regional Italian wines, with 30 available by the glass, starting at just £3.50. Cuisine: Italian Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £65 Wine: £4.50/glass Food: 4/5 Venue: 4/5 Value: 4/5 Address: 46 Brewer Street, Soho, London W1F 9TF Reservations: 020 8947 4474 www.meleepere.co.uk Twitter @meleepere
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