Monica Galetti, former senior sous chef at Le Gavroche and Masterchef judge, now offers herself up for public judgement with her first solo restaurant, in partnership with husband David. Mere opened last week on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia and we were straight in there for dinner: here’s the verdict.
Words: Ben McCormack
Monica Galetti, former senior sous chef at Le Gavroche
judge, now offers herself up for public judgement with her first solo restaurant. Mere
(pronounced Mary) is both the French word for mother and Galetti’s own mother’s name. There’s an elegant bar at street level, sumptuously upholstered with deep-blue velvet chairs, on which guests can peruse the menu over a glass of the richly rounded house Champagne Galetti has produced with Duval-Leroy.
The striking design continues downstairs, where a double-height glass frontage removes any sense of eating in a basement and makes Mere a light-filled rendezvous for lunch, as well as an elegant setting for dinner. But as expected, it’s the cooking that shines the most brightly, with Galetti’s Samoan and Kiwi heritage blended seamlessly with Le Gavroche-style haute cuisine for a contemporary take on high-end dining.
To start, a light ’nduja sauce highlights the meatiness of a springy curl of octopus, sticky from searing on the plancha, while the accompanying caper and raisin jam is so good you’ll want to spread it over the mini bread loaves that arrive warm from the kitchen. Brined cabbage, pickled celeriac and a gribiche dressing are the perky contrasts to soft folds of ox tongue.
To follow, lobster is simply poached and served with potato purée, cabbage and a bisque sauce in a harmony of light sweetness, while 30-day aged sirloin comes with puffs of onion beignets, glazed cheek and a tarragon crème fraiche to keep all the richness in check.
Desserts are based on more conventional flavour combinations but are just as good: chocolate and peanut crémeux with peanut praline and roasted cocoa nib ice cream, and a coconut cream pie filled with roasted banana and drizzled with rum caramel, are the stuff of sweet dreams.
The letter ‘M’ appears everywhere in the restaurant, from the door handles of the loos to the embossed menu and the lapel pins of the nattily attired waters. With Mere, Monica Galetti has firmly stamped her own identity on one of London’s most famous restaurant streets.
Find out more and book a table at Mere here
This article was published 17 March 2017