46 Brewer Street, London W1 (020 7096 2096). Meal for two, including wine and service, £120
Soho’s family run Meleepere on Brewer Street, is an eclectic Italian trattoria, which has a charming rustic character yet contemporary and inviting feel to the restaurant.
Mele e Pere meaning “apples and pears” is an unusual name for a restaurant, but given today’s crowded West End restaurant market, it gives it some stand out. Upstairs is a trendy Italian café bar vibe, while in the basement restaurant there is a more vibrant café restaurant feel with marble topped bar and beautiful copper coned shaped sinks (worth a peek just for the loos).
The Head chef, is Andrea Mantovani, previously head chef at Arbutus, also in Soho. His dishes offer good Italian seasonal fare, with a few surprises along the way, which may appeal. The service and staff is good and they have adequate knowledge of the dishes and how the menu works, although less so on the accompanying wines.
The menu starts with a recommended 3-4 ‘sharing plates’ but they are certainly generous portions, so if you intend to also have a pasta dish I’d actually recommend 1-2 plates. We chose two dishes Vitello tonnato (£4.50) and a smoked tuna carpaccio, fennel and orange (£6.50). I was expecting to be wowed by the carpaccio and while it was good, it didn’t wow and I wasn’t fan of the veal dish, but this perhaps could be from a presentation position as the plates needed to be larger to show the food better.
The drinks menu has a good selection of indigenous Italian wines and to accompany our sharing starter plates we were recommended a 2012 Est!Est!Est! Lazio white, glass (£4.50) which was new to the wine list, but slightly acidic. We fared better with the main course and accompanying red wine, a superb Iuli (Nino) Pinot Nero, carafe (£25.00) with a lovely depth of character and richness which went brilliantly with the Parmesan risotto with Emilia Romagna truffle,(£9.50, £18.00) Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire (£8, £15.50).
We stayed with the same wine to wash down the main course of 28 day-aged surrey farm rib-eye steak with Barolo sauce (£19.00) and were not disappointed with the coupling on our palates. For dessert I was hard pressed to find space but pushed forward and went for a scrumptious homemade raspberry tart with lemon sorbet (£6) and extra scoops of homemade pistachio and honey-comb ice-cream (£2.50). My companion complaining she couldn’t even look at the desserts suddenly came back to life when the dish arrived and elbowed me out of the way after one mouthful! Rude!! That’ll be two portions next time then.
For a great working lunch or date night I thoroughly enjoyed Meleepere restaurant and would recommend as a great option when exposed to the plethora of Soho options. I’ll certainly be back soon for a plate of the risotto and scoop of honey-comb ice- cream delicious times.