74 Charlotte Street
Sommelier, Sandra Bein (also ex Le Gavroche, where she was assistant sommelier) grew up in the industry at her parent’s five star hotel in Austria, later working in the Tyrol. ‘Passion is what it’s all about,’ Bein says of the tactile wine list, wrapped in a cork folder and featuring the bespoke 'Mere' typeface...
Relaxed fine dining
Wines from Bordeaux and Champagne
Central Fitzrovia location
Mere (the name of the restaurant deriving from the French for mother, and the patron’s mother’s name in Samoan) is the pristinely composed bright, spacious Fitzrovia dining room, comfy bar and private dining room with kitchen TV feed, described as the ‘second child’ of Monica Galetti, sometimes fearsome Masterchef judge and ex head chef of Le Gavroche, and her notable of eyewear husband, David (ex head sommelier of Le Gavroche, who also worked at Paris’ Tour d’Argent).
Sommelier, Sandra Bein (also of Le Gavroche, where she was assistant sommelier) grew up in the industry at her parent’s five star hotel in Austria, later working in the Tyrol. ‘Passion is what it’s all about,’ Bein says of the tactile wine list, wrapped in a cork folder and featuring the bespoke ‘Mere’ typeface for headings. ‘What’s important is that it’s easy and understandable,’ she adds. ‘With escalating prices globally, wine is getting expensive,’ notes David. Hence it is organised by grape variety, ‘from good value, easy drinking wines to classic appellations such as Sancerre and Châteuneuf-du-Pape, to indigenous Rotgipfler and Negroamaro,’ says Bein.
Bein and Galleti are clearly rightfully proud of their two page Reserve List, ‘not to be overlooked’ including RD Bollinger, Coche Dury, ready-to-go first growths – sometimes very tantalisingly close to retail price – and venerable Brunellos.
Bein and Galleti make available around 50 wines by the glass via Coravin, such as: Chapoutier’s Hermitage Blanc ‘89, Echezeaux Grand Cru ‘92, and indefatigable Madeira. The Galettis also created a sur-mesure Blanc de Blancs house Champagne in collaboration with Duval Leroy, whittling down 60 base wines and playing with dosage. The result, sipped from the restaurant’s British made, William Yeoward crystalware, is seriously impressive: Rubenesque and moreish.
As well as the odd toothsome wine from the Jura (where David Galleti was born), Austrian wines abound, given Bein’s background, in addition to artisan cider (including an ice cider – perhaps a nod to Canadian head chef, Renee Miller) and perry. Note the art in the bar, too, a huge resin swirl depicting a fizzing flute from above, with Champagne caps set as convincing bubbles. Also, the bottles of Chartreuse, Benedictine and Cuvée du Centenaire Grand Marnier on the bar’s shelves glinting in the light from the floor-to-ceiling window.
Dishes, nearly free from adjectives on paper, are subtle initially, but then soar on the palate, and may include tender octopus with fennel, caper condiment and nduja, perhaps with Joh Jos Prüm Kabinett, then roasted breast of squab pigeon, black apple butter and hispi cabbage with a heat-wave reniditon of Cabernet from Mas La Plana, Penedès. For pudding, go for the pineapple custard tart with rum and coconut sorbet.
By Douglas Blyde.
Named after her Samoan mother, Mere is a joint venture between Galetti, who many will recognise from her stints as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals, and her French sommelier husband, David, who she met while working at Le Gavroche.
Cuisine: French fusion
Glass from : £ 12 (175 ml)
74 Charlotte StreetW1T 4QH
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