74 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QH
WLC Rank : 53
Cuisine: French fusion
Glass from : £ 6.50 (175 ml)
BEST FORRelaxed fine dining authored by Masterchef, Monica Galetti
Own blend Champagne
Central Fitzrovia location
Private room with video link to the kitchen
Mere is Monica Galleti’s mother’s name, pronounced as “Mary” in Samoan.
With calibrated lighting and acoustics, Mere is the chic Fitzrovia restaurant and bar run by Monica Galetti, a firm-but-fair Masterchef judge, and husband, David. Both worked at Le Gavroche, Monica as head chef, and David as head sommelier (he also worked at Paris’ Tour d’Argent).
Born in Paris and raised in Bergerac, head sommelier, Alexandre Corvez initially enrolled on an accountancy course. However, on noting that the same school also offered a degree in wine, Corvez followed his friends onto that course, “falling in love with St. Émilion and Saumur.”
Corvez moved to London aged 20 in September 2015 ostensibly to work in a pub for the rugby world cup and improve his English, but instead, “ended up in an amazing wine bar in Central London, The Cork and Bottle” where he tasted “Australian Shiraz, North American Merlot and South African Chenin Blanc” for the first time. “I learnt Syrah is not only from the Rhône, and there’s more to Malbec than Cahors.”
Corvez worked on the opening of Mere with then head sommelier, Sandra Bein (previously assistant sommelier at Le Gavroche), “discovering some of the greatest Austrian wine with her which I have kept on the list and added to.” He also brought new wines from southwest France, “including Poulsard.” His time at Mere was punctuated by a nine-month sabbatical at Hide over both restaurants, “where I tried Château Margaux, Clos de Tart, La Coulée de Serrant, Vega Sicilia, and Biondi-Santi back to 1945 as well as older vintages of Montebello – wines I read about when I was 15.”
When decanting fragile bottles in front of guests, Corvez shows respect. “It feels like I am opening a piece of history. I love it. An experience.”
Corvez’s minimalist wine list, clasped in cork folder and featuring the custom-made “Mere” typeface for headings, is neatly organised by country and grape variety. It shows a fondness for white Burgundies, with “power, length, and lovely honey, buttery flavours,” as well as flamboyant Sémillon from Napa (Forlorn Hope) and incisive dry Furmint (Dobogo). Also represented are Bordeaux red blends from the USA, with TD-9 by Shafer poured by the glass Sweet wines find favour with desserts such as dark chocolate sphere with salted caramel and tonka crème Anglaise with the multi-vintage, Rutherglen Muscat/Syrah, “which smells and tastes of cinnamon, vanilla, caramel and chocolate, echoing the dish.”
Corvez recalls the words of a happy guest. “Your tasting menu journey took us to the third dimension.”
Despite his partner’s disapproval, Corvez, “likes to build things out of wood, such as the wine bar and TV stand made from wine boxes” when not working.
Incidentally, Mere boasts its own Blanc de Blancs Champagne, “Sur Mesure” 2009 in collaboration with Duval Leroy, Vertus, which is also available to take away. Sipped from the restaurant’s British-made, William Yeoward stemware in front of the bar’s circular artwork made of Champagne caps, the result is impressive.
As well as carpentry, during the lockdown, Corvez studied towards the Advanced Certificate (Court of Master Sommeliers).
By Douglas Blyde.