Wednesday 16 May 2012

Mele e Pere: reasonable Italian, served loud

Recently I had friends down from the North and, along with their son and daughter-in-law, we had planned to go out for dinner.  Having failed to make a booking, and given that we were staying central that evening, our options for a good feed were limited.  Someone had mentioned that Mele e Pere, a recently opened Italian in Soho, was a bit above average so, with a reservation secured, I thought we should try it out.

Mele e Pere describes itself as a "relaxed trattorria". Relaxed it was not.  First it is hard to find, looking as it does like a sweet shop from the outside - lots of colourful glass apples and pears.  Once you have found it and made your way down the stairs into the basement restaurant, you are hit by a wall of sound.  We were sat in the middle of the room - now I am no architect but the shape of the room (the slanting walls perhaps?) meant that all of the sound funnelled into the middle.  It was deafening.  And that comes from a guy who loves the hustle and bustle of busy restaurants - quiet and refined I am not.

Anyway, that aside, we moved onto the menu.  Although it is stated to change everyday, I think that the majority of things are actually staples - the menu on the website looks remarkably similar to that which we had. Some cured meats, a few starters followed by pasta and sauce dishes and larger meat secondi.

We shared some Coppa Mantovana which was melt in the mouth.  I had the octopus with desiree potatoes and salsa verde - octopus was perfectly cooked but the potatoes were cold and the salsa verde lacked punch.  The Geek had the beef tartare which was tender and well seasoned.

For main I had the pork belly, lentils and bean sprouts.  I think that the pork belly was meant to be cooked three ways although only two were discernible - crispy and slow cooked.  The lentils and bean sprouts were largely redundant.

Others had the tagliatelle with beef ragu and the spaghetti with clams broccoli and chili- all looked fine and seemed to slip down quite easily, if not splendidly.

There is a wealth of incredible Italian's surrounding Mele e Pere - Boca de Lupo, Polpetto etc etc.  And, while the food at Mele e Pere is okay, and in some cases really quite good (that octopus was really very well cooked indeed), once the new-opening-buzz has died down, I can't see many returning time and time again.  Good if you need a reservation quick snap in central London on a Thursday night, otherwise give it a miss...

Mele e Pere on Urbanspoon

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