Opening of the week: Mere

Photo: Cristian Barnett

What: Mere is the debut restaurant from long-time Le Gavroche senior sous chef and MasterChef judge Monica Galetti and her husband David, who runs front of house.  

Who: Alongside Samoan-born Monica and French-born David are Canadian head chef Renee Miller, Italian sous chef Alberto Fluttero and Austrian head sommelier Sandra Bein, making it a truly international operation. Stick that in yer pipe, Brexit.

The vibe: The bright ground floor bar is all plush blue velvet while the downstairs restaurant has a smarter and slightly more modest feel. The pair changed the initial design plans for the building, meaning that the glass frontage now runs the height of the restaurant, allowing a lot of natural light into the 70-cover dining room. Keep an eye out for some of Monica’s personal effects from Samoa that are dotted around the restaurant and bar.

The menu: Mere’s food uses Galetti’s classic French cooking background as its bedrock but also draws on her Samoan heritage and her time living in New Zealand, where she moved when she was eight years old. It’s 6/6/6 al la carte menu is devilishly enticing, with dishes including mushroom and Marmite (definitely not Vegemite, that’s an Oz thing) tortellini; pork ‘boil up’ with ham hock and watercress doughboy; and rhubarb glazed squab breast with ras el hanout pastilla, cauliflower and chard. The a la carte and tasting menus change seasonally but the lunch menu changes weekly.

And another thing: The name Mere derives from the French word for mother but the restaurant is also named in honour of Monica’s Samoan mother, which is pronounced ‘Mary’. A nice touch, although it does make searching for it on Google slightly more of a challenge.

www.www.mere-restaurant.com

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