Nestled behind crisp white exteriors and the hustle and bustle of Charlotte Street is the peace and tranquility of Mere – the first restaurant from husband and wife team, Monica and David Galetti. Mere, the name of Monica’s mother and pronounced Mary, is a melting pot of cultural influences; mixing the classical French of David’s childhood with the exotic South Pacific and New Zealand from Samoan-born Monica.
The clean and concise menu is the work of chef proprietor, Monica who is now a familiar face and household name thanks to her work on MasterChef: The Professionals. Monica joined the BBC cooking competition as a judge in 2008 alongside Michel Roux Jnr. who at that point, was her chef proprietor at Le Gavroche. She spent 12 years in the two Michelin-starred kitchen, rising to senior sous chef, then Head chef at Le Gavroche des tropiques in Mauritius before setting up Mere in 2017.
The seasonal a la carte menu is constructed of six options per course and whilst her classical training is evident, there are nods throughout to Monica’s Samoan heritage and wider travels. Starters include: Octopus a la Plancha, Caper & Raisin Dressing, Potato and Piperade; Smoked Duck, Confit Gizzard, Almond Praline and Kumquats and the house favourite – Pumpkin Agnolotti, Mixed Mushroomsin a Marmite Emulsion. Main courses include: Cornish Cod, Black Curry, Pickled Celery, Hazelnut Dukka and Lovage Sauce; Pan Roasted Rose Veal, Glazed Sweetbread, Brown Butter Mash and Charred Hispi and Chestnut Puff, Caramalised Root Vegetables, Pickled Apple and Celeriac Sauce. And for dessert: Orange Marmalade Baked Alaska, Orange Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with a Bourbon Flambe, Blackberry Treacle Tart, Whipped Sour Cream, Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream or Hokey Pokey with Manjari Cremeux, Salted Toffee, Honeycomb Ice-cream and L&P Gel – a sparkling lemonade from New Zealand.
The wine list at Mere more than matches the high standards of the food thanks to co-founder and sommelier David. After spending 15 years at Le Gavroche curating their magnificent wine list, he has brought his skills home to Mere. With well known and loved wines from both Europe and further afield, as well as a reserve selection with distinct and unique vintages, there is something to suit all palates and budgets. David has also carefully hand-selected the premium spirits and liqueurs on offer at Mere, predominantly from France and New Zealand.
The beautiful interiors of Mere are the work of leading architecture and design company, Softroom. Playing with a colour palette of rich blues and greys and accents of deep yellow, the space is calm and welcoming. Mere is set over two floors, a ground level bar with sumptuous navy velvet sofas and dark marble tables, and a bright, airy basement restaurant flooded with natural light thanks to a large glass atrium. A traditional Samoan siapo or tapa cloth dominates the main dining room wall, designed and made especially for Mere by the artist and cousin of Monica, Solomon Daniel, in New Zealand.