Pasta, pizza, oozy burrata – there’s nothing we don’t love about Italian cuisine. However, if there’s one thing we can really get on board with it’s the quintessential aperitivo hour. And happily enough, this is something Soho-stalwart Mele e Pere is very keen to celebrate.
The family-run Italian have recently introduced a summer spritz menu, which is served in the wide-windowed ground floor bar every evening from 6-7pm (the perfect after-work situ if you ask us). So instead of elbowing your way on to a packed tube, we reckon you’d be better off doing a little detour, dropping in here and enjoying a plate of complimentary truffle arancini with your drink. Bargain!
Despite being on the corner of Soho’s Brewer Street since February 2012, this was our first time visiting. We headed downstairs into the cosy basement dining room (which was much larger then we were expecting!) to tuck into their summer menu over flickering candlelight. I’ve made that sound very romantic, but I was meeting my pal who I hadn’t seen for a while, and Mele e Pere kindly left us to natter until near enough kick-out time, which goes some way in explaining what a lovely relaxed setting Mele e Pere have.
Starters were basically a smorgasbord of all of my favourite things. The deep-fried nduja stuffed olives are a must order – the perfect accompaniment to a spritz whilst you peruse the rest of the menu. More substantial starters included a glistening ball of creamy burrata served alongside a colourful, super-ripe selection of tomatoes. Two delicious pieces of puffed up gnocchi fritti (not the potato-pasta kind, the fried bread variety) came out alongside a board of luscious fat ribbons of finocchiona salami. The ideal selection for sharing.
The rest of the menu features a selection of homemade pasta *SWOON* as well as a charcoal grill with meat and fish all cooked over aromatic wood and coal.
Obviously the taglierini with black truffle and grana padano was calling my name. A gorgeous hug of a dish in a rich buttery sauce, with a very generous shaving of truffles, we greatly appreciated our waiter asking if we wanted more parmesan on top. You sir, clearly know the way to my heart. A rustic, perfectly al dente and a pleasingly chewy dish of tagliatelle with beef ragu was equally devoured.
A simple but decadent hazelnut gelato (served by the scoop – because really, there was no way I needed more than one after all that cheese) was the perfect dessert for me. Whilst the giant slab of tiramisu my guest ordered would definitely have been big enough for two to share.
In case you needed any more convincing that it was worth popping in – Mele e Pere also have London’s largest vermouth selection! Impressive stuff.
“Like any city, London in the summertime can be heaven or hell, and Chris and I have always wanted to offer our guests a place to escape and unwind with friends. Aperitivo is such a huge part of Italian culture and undoubtedly the best way to finish off the working day.” Says co-founder Peter.
Mele e Pere’s Aperitivo hour will run from 6-7pm daily until the 31 st August.