I feel it is my civic duty to describe my experience here, but let’s just keep it between you and me yeah? Italian heaven in the heart of Soho is just behind a window display of hand blown glass apples and pears. Opened in February of this year, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a glass shop. Venture into the basement restaurant and the relaxed, informal dining area is sociable, yet calm, funky yet traditional and modern without being over the top.
I loved the mismatched table and chairs and the vintage Italian prints on the walls.The copper bar and old-fashioned mood lighting mean that it appeals to everyone – families, friends, couples, individuals and big celebratory groups.
My pre-dinner drink was Homemade Vermouth (a fortified wine, £4) flavoured with various aromatics.My favourite was definitely the slightly bitter/sweet red but the citrus, dry white was equally good.
I also asked for wine recommendations, as did my mum who came with me, and we were both impressed with the selection chosen for us – mine an off dry white Riesling and her’s a Primitivo full bodied peppery red. We enjoyed these with freshly prepared bread (try the tomato bread!) dipped into a fragrant Sicilian Olive Oil and quite spicy breaded chilli stuffed olives.
But enough about the drinks, let’s get eating. As I type this, I’m sitting with a very full Buddha belly, happy and content. If you want a quick bite, then I’d recommend the sharing plates. Highlights for me include the Arancini Risotto Balls (£5), cheesy gooey Aubergine parmigiana (£5) and deep fried squid with smoked aioli dip (£6). If you’re adventurous try the creamy whipped Salt cod spread topped with capers and red peppers (£4.50), delish.
The pasta’s come in small (from £7) and large (from £12) sized dishes. I opted for a small dish of the Bigoli with clams and red onions (£8), the spaghetti like pasta was cooked perfectly al dente (no sogginess here) and was an earthy blend of sea flavours and a hint of chilli. I’m still thinking about it now.
The Winter soup of lentils, squash and chestnut (£7) that my mum had was equally beautiful with it’s chunky ingredients, but the menu changes daily as they use fresh produce according to season. They also do mains of meat, fish and chicken, which I saw going to other peoples tables but couldn’t fit in my already pertruding tummy. Plus I had to leave room for dessert!
And OMG the Peanut Butter Ice Cream (£2.50 a scoop) was like taking a spoonful of peanut butter from a jar but without that cloying texture, just pure creaminess. The Pistachio flavour was also AH-Mazing! The Tiramisu (£6) wasn’t overly sweet and had been lovingly prepared fresh so was a real treat. If you order the Vanilla Pannacotta with poached pears take it from me, you will NOT want to share.
Final thoughts – try their lunch menu (only £8.50, excluding drinks), order more desserts than necessary, indulge in the vermouth and you have been warned about sharing – just don’t. Although like I said it’s a secret…
*I was a guest of Mele e Pere, and as such my meal (along with my guest) was complimentary. But I would PAY to go back.