Fitzrovia used to be my main stomping ground, whilst I studying at university. I spent at least five days of my week wandering the area, discovering all the new little cafes – in search for the best coffee, bars and lunching out with friends in between lectures. It was an area that was developing in terms of its offering, especially the back streets behind my university, that slowly blended into Soho.
I was recently invited to a restaurant, Mere, which was situated not far from my university. I found myself wandering along the streets I used to, almost two years ago. Slowly meandering my way through, trying to avoid corporate workers rushing out of their offices to enjoy the glorious, warm evening. Approaching the elegant restaurant that was situated right near Bubbledogs, a restaurant I often visited back in the day.
Entering Mere, I was greeted with a warm welcome before taking a perch at the counter style bar, which overlooked the gorgeous lounge area. The gold interiors complimented the midnight blue that popped so gracefully. The ambience was lovely, perfectly quiet filled with many couples starting their date night off with a cocktail or two. Whilst I awaited my dining company, I was looked after by Head Bartender and Mixologist, Adam. He took the time to explain some of his most fascinating creations and how he infused lots of alternative flavours together to curate the most delicious cocktails, bespoke to Mere.
I ordered the Watermelon Twinkle, which wasn’t on the menu yet. Made with fresh watermelon, it made for the most refreshing aperitif, especially when it was so humid outside. My favourite part was the watermelon sashimi on top that was soaked in lemon juice and gin, a lovely sweet and sour edible garnish.
It wasn’t long before the rest of my company arrived and we moved downstairs into the basement for our dinner. The seating was small and intimate but it wasn’t cosy, which was a huge plus point. The large window allows the perfect amount of daylight inside but when the sun sets, the soft lighting from the built in lamps come on for a perfect evening setting.
We were served a divine Greek white wine, by Apla. The wine was made up of three different blends of grapes, Malagouzia, Assyrtiko and Roditis which results in a wine that is has complete maturity and freshness. It has tropical and peach notes with a floral aroma. I would definitely buy a few bottles of this wine to drink at home, as it went down so easily. A little too easily…
Before our starters arrived, we were served two amuse bouche tasters. The first taster was a pea mousse with seeded biscotti with mushroom and onion. It gave us a taste of what was to come, especially with all the flavours, I was already impressed!
The second taster was beef croquets with onion and gherkin gel. Absolutely delicious! The meat within the bite-size croquette perfectly melted in my mouth, it was heavenly.
Binny and I, in true Dynamic Duo style ordered the same starter of Tortelli pasta served with chicken, pine nut, raisins, spring mushrooms, finished up with a crispy chicken crumb. The pasta was cooked perfectly al-denete and the flavours really came through. I was most impressed by the olive oil the dish was dressed in, i’ve not had such quality olive oil – not even in Italy! The crumb added a nice crunch to the creamy dish – it was like a warm hug on a plate. Brilliant job, Mere!
Phoebe ordered the asparagus with poached orange butter, langoustines, burnt lemon and vanilla and whipped yolk. Such a colourful dish!
Sam ordered the broccoli which was the stems with white anchovies, creamed garlic and celery with n’djua oil served with a light crispy tuile, a French baked wafer on top.
The bar was set high after the starters. The food was presented so beautifully, with a mix of vibrant colours and exceptional flavours.
For our mains, I ordered the Cornish cod that was marinated in black curry, served with pickled celery, hazelnut duke and lovage sauce. I was incredibly impressed with the cod, it separated by the flake perfectly. The dish was even more enjoyable because there was minimal accompaniments with the dish, allowing the cod to steal the show.
Binny ordered the spring vegetable tart with salted sable, caramelised onion and a yoghurt and wild garlic dressing. How vibrant and colourful is Binny’s dish? So impressive!
Sam and Phoebe ordered the pan fried sea bass with piquillo peppers, aubergine caviar and fennel salsa. Such a light and summery dish, perfect for those warm Mediterranean like days.
We were all extremely full at this point, but we worked backwards and provisionally chose our desserts at the beginning of the meal, so we already knew we needed to have dessert. Taking some time out, to breathe and allow some space in our stomachs, we chattered over a delicious Bounty Hunter, another of Adam’s fantastic creations for Mere. If you like Bounty’s you would LOVE this cocktail. I would go back to Mere, just to perched myself at the bar and to catch up with my friends over this cocktail. It was utterly amazing!
For dessert, I went for the strawberry delice with yoghurt mousse, vanilla compressed strawberries and sorrel (a type of herb) sorbet. The strawberry delice was delectable, but I wasn’t keen on the sorrel sorbet. I feel sorbets should always be sweet, especially when served as a part of a dessert.
Binny and Sam ordered the chocolate and malt cremeux with aerated chocolate and super malt gel inside served with caramel and miso ice-cream. I had a spoonful of the cremeux from Binny, which was absolutely light yet indulgent.
Phoebe’s rhubarb baked Alaska with rhubarb ice-cream, ginger crumble and orange gel was fantastic. I had a spoonful of of the baked Alaska too and I have to say it will definitely be what I order next time I come to Mere.
If all the food we had wasn’t enough, we were sent off with a couple of Mere branded chocolates, what a delight.
From service to food and drink, everything at Mere was exceptional. I already want to make a return to Mere! I think the restaurant is a true hidden gem, but I am sure it won’t be long its no longer ‘hidden’, as the word is getting out now! Get a booking there whilst you can because i’m sure it is a strong Michelin star contender for 2018, what do you think Monica?
Until next time…