Eager to try the food of the world’s most famous Samoan chef, we soon fell head over heels for both Monica Galetti and her restaurant: Mere. The menu, the atmosphere, and chef herself are five-stars all the way.
For the last eight years, Monica Galetti has been a household name thanks to Masterchef. She’s also an inspiring chef of Michelin standard. And now, along with hubby David, she’s the owner of a fabulous new restaurant in London.
Combining French cuisine with South Pacific influences, Mere offers a menu that’s both original and utterly delicious. As for the name, it’s not only French for mother, it’s also Monica’s mother’s name (Samoan for Mary).
But most exciting of all, says Isaac, Monica Galetti is a proud Samoan sharing her talents with the world. No argument here, for as previously stated: we LOVE her.
And, if we could wax lyrical for a few moments more, she’s also one of the friendliest, most down to earth people you could hope to meet.
But let’s start at the beginning: we arrived, as always, ravenous and terribly thirsty …
We strolled through the rather tempting cocktail bar on the ground floor, and headed directly to the gorgeous restaurant below. Within seconds we could see everything about Mere – from the menu to its décor – is absolute class.
We were also excited to see hints of Monica’s heritage dotted throughout the venue, such as a framed tapa cloth on the wall. Perfectly positioned above our table, it made the three Samoans in our party proud beyond belief.
Tapa (n) – the inner bark from the mulberry tree; cloth made from tapa, used in the pacific islands
Already beaming, Isaac saw this as the latest in a long line of excuses for ordering a celebratory bottle (or three) of champagne. One and half seconds later, he was even more excited.
‘She has her own brand of champagne!’ he said loudly enough for everyone in the restaurant to hear. Our waitress, although four metres away at this point, quickly noted down our order.
This rather lovely tipple was soon joined by the amuse bouche – a beef croquet with a radish dressing. Superb, and surprisingly substantial, our mouths were indeed amused, tickled even, and ready to consume at least three more courses.
So moving swiftly on to our entrée, and of course another bottle of fizz, I soon found myself extremely excited over the Beef Heart and brisket, with pickles, rye bread and purple mustard.
It’s nothing short of a spiritual experience, but even so, the happiest diner at our table was still Isaac. His choice of the Corzetti pasta with chicken oysters and wild mushrooms inspired happiness both in his mouth, and his brain.
Said to be the very best part of the chicken, the dish transported him back to his happiest days in Samoa. Which, it seems, were spent eating large amounts of food.
Though as Isaac contemplated licking the plate, there was another delight in store …
Having heard there were three Samoans in the house, Monica decided to investigate. Soon we were talking and laughing as if we’ve known each other for years. This is a woman who’s fabulous and humble in equal measure.
Our waiters, meanwhile, seemed a little shy about interrupting, but with the mains ready to go: needs must. Monica promised to pop back later (which she indeed did), and left us to discover this is a meal that just gets better and better.
Sure enough, Isaac’s choice of Venison loin, braised shoulder, red cabbage, celeriac and juniper salt is absolutely heavenly. ‘Delicious, delectable’, he announced loudly. ‘And the perfect blend of flavours!’
Thrilled, but not terribly good at alliteration, Isaac’s proud-o-meter really couldn’t register any higher. Mind you, on this occasion I’m convinced my pick was even better than his.
Despite being a committed red-meat eater through and through, I ooh’ed and ahh’ed at every bite of my Monkfish with balsamic salsify, parsnip puree, smoked bacon and glazed oxtail. It’s incredible, clearly Monica is a genius.
But the real litmus test of a great restaurant is the dessert menu … and once again Mere offers a five-star experience …
Having sampled every dessert on the table, we can assure you here it is impossible to go wrong. This really is a meal that gets better and better. But let’s talk about our favourites.
I personally love, love, LOVE the Salted Toffee with milk chocolate mousse with hokey pokey ice cream and Breton sable. So good, I no longer care about being a fatty-boom. More please!
Meanwhile Isaac insists the best of the best is the Pineapple custard tart with rum and coconut sorbet. The crust is wonderfully crumbly, the pineapple juicy beyond belief, and it’s a clever twist on a traditional Samoan dessert.
So by now, you’ve no doubt gathered we loved everything about our meal, our night, and our chef. Mere not only delivers a dining experience packed full of wow, it’s inspiring to be see another Samoan conquering the world.
We HIGHLY recommend you make a reservation.
This review is dedicated to our gorgeous friends Lou & Melinka, who made this wonderful night possible. Mwah!!
Reviewed September 2017
74 Charlotte Street
+44 0207 268 6565