Mere, fitzrovia_ masterchef’s monica galetti shows off her skills and a sense of fun _ london evening standard

As if leaving behind a two Michelin-starred restaurant to set up on your own wasn’t nerve-racking enough, imagine doing that when you’ve regularly been watched by millions of people criticising the cooking of other chefs.

That’s exactly what Monica Galetti has done. Best food places near me After 15 years of cooking at Michel Roux Jnr’s Le Gavroche in Mayfair, ending her time there as senior sous-chef, she gained widespread fame for her role on MasterChef: The Professionals before partnering with her husband David Galetti to open this long-planned site.

Thankfully for Monica and her husband, first impressions are good. Good fast food places near me Even the harshest critic would be hard-pushed not to admire the restaurant’s slick design.

From plush, deep blue banquettes to marble-look tables and finishing touches ranging from swish staff uniforms to toilet door handles in the shape of M for Mere, the couple have clearly poured time, love and substantial money into what was a former boxy jazz club on the wrong end of Charlotte Street.

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What’s most impressive is the creation of a shaft running from the front of the building down into the main dining room in the basement allowing natural light to pour in, as well as making space for a couple of outdoor tables. Soul food restaurants in miami Combined with subtle uplighting on the ceiling, the dining room is a shoo-in for London’s least basement-y basement.

The restaurant’s name gives a hint at what to expect from the menu. Soul food restaurants in atlanta ga Mere, which is pronounced ‘Mary’, is a combination of the French word for mother and the Samoan word for Mary, Monica’s mother. Soul food restaurants in atlanta georgia The food reflects her Samoan and New Zealand heritage, but is rooted in the sort of classical French cooking you might more associate with Le Gavroche.

There is a six course tasting menu for ?70 as well as weekday lunch menu for just ?35, as well as a la carte which we opt for.

It begins strongly. Good chinese food that delivers near me You can’t discern the yeast extract itself in a starter of mushroom Marmite tortellini but its umami lingers proudly, giving a simple dish impressive backbone. Soul food restaurants in nj The sense of fun isn’t lost, either — they’re partial to Marmite in New Zealand, as opposed to Australia where Vegemite reigns supreme.

It’s harder to know how another starter of pork boil-up would go down Down Under. Best lobster in atlanta The customarily gutsy New Zealand dumpling stew is re-imagined here as a relatively light and elegant dish, with two rounds of rillette-style ham hock sitting in a delicate, just slightly gelatinous pork broth. Best lunch restaurants in los angeles Its crowning glory is a sweet and peppery, pleasingly chewy dumpling infused with watercress.

Had the mains been whipped up by a MasterChef contestant there could be no criticising the technical accomplishment, yet they stand out less than what came before.

A breast of pigeon is rich, gamey and impressively moist, while an accompanying mini pastilla (a typical Moroccan pigeon pie, made with layered filo pastry) is crisp and flaky with bright flavours from the restaurant’s own version of the ras-el-hanout spice blend.

Steamed cod comes in a buttery seaweed emulsion and is served with roasted Jerusalem artichokes, a crispy seaweed fritter and monk’s beard — an ingredient so trendy of late that it has earned the nickname hipster beard.

A blood orange mousse served with shards of meringue and a tart yoghurt sorbet is a searingly refreshing end note, but a banana and coconut cream pie, piled comically high with cream and drizzled with rum caramel, looks set to become more of a signature.

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