Mele e Pere, Soho

  • DATE #89
  • Written by Kitty Wakeful (Guest Author)
  • 5 years ago
Hidden gem

The Vibe

Soho sweats with people from Monday to Sunday putting fledgling couples without restaurant reservations at risk of hunger, thirst and subsequent celibacy. If you’ve not been sufficiently organised to book a table at any of its many trendy venues that require unrequited levels of romantic consideration, you would do well to wend your way to the capacious, cavernous basement of Italian Trattoria Mele e Pere. Amidst spaciousness seldom found east of Hackney Wick, the décor is distinguished by anglepoise desk lamps suspended above tables laid largely for two.

Vintage tiles adorn the walls and a long copper-topped bar offers a good vantage point from which to await your companion. The chef and co-owner Andrea Mantovani is apparently a big deal, deriving from Arbutus, Wild Honey and Les Deux Salons, should you wish to consume the whole canon (you feasibly could over the course of the night as he’s not ventured far beyond W1).

The Order

Grilled octopus, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes and cress (£6.50), deep fried squid (£6) and salt cod, clams, capers and tomatoes (£5.50) to start and share. The portions are small and sumptuous so you must resist the urge to competitively eat. In lieu of a main course, the small plate of tagliatelle with beef ragù (£6.50) – glorified spaghetti Bolognese – left me sated. The intended main courses are pricier (£13-24), somewhat predictable – chicken, bream, steak, veal – but delicious. At £17.50 for three courses and a glass of wine, the set menu is excellent value but limited
in choice and won’t go to your head in the way that their bottle of Riesling (sweet) will.

The Game

Take someone who’s grown up enough that they won’t mind dining amongst grown ups, or someone you know well. You’ll have to make conversation, possibly about modern Italian design. Learn how to say ‘anglepoise’. If you’re not fatigued by the intellectual endeavour, you could round the corner to Floridita or the Experimental Cocktail Club or Milk and Honey afterwards for a drink
with a double-digit price tag in a setting where light petting is more acceptable. Here you must book ahead or face rejection. Soho it may be but no one wants to end the night curb crawling.

The Faults

Mele e Pere is a little too quiet to buzz but too loud to carry a whisper of seduction. It has one too many pregnant couples celebrating a wedding anniversary.

Sex Factor

2. For a date who’s a mate (or your pregnant wife).

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