What's the draw
You're not short of easygoing restaurants with cracking drinks and killer small plates in Soho, but Mele e Pere's one of the best. Come for the outrageous negroni list; stay for Italian street food and sharing-style dishes.
What to drink
Mele started life as a vermouth bar, first and foremost. That means there are loads of bottles of bitter-sweet, herbacious vermouth and amari (bitter Italian aperitifs) on the back-bar, including loads from small producers in Italy and even some blended in-house by vermouthier Ed Scothern. Sip over ice, or have the bar staff build you one of the tastiest negronis you're likely to find in London from the gins, vermouths and amari on offer (they're all £9), best enjoyed at the beautiful, long copper bar.
What to eat
Since its inception, Mele has added an excellent trattoria-style grazing menu to its armoury. You've two options here: some snacks to accompany drinks at the bar (we suggest the calamari and those deep-fried olives stuffed with nduja); or take it to the table, hunker down and order until you're stuffed. San Daniele ham, served with gnocchi fritti (fried, bready potato cakes, basically), sings with flavour; the rib-eye, from Surrey, comes in a beautifully tempered barolo sauce; and the gnocchi with Umbrian truffle is heady, buttery and divine – although we suggest the smaller size. Maybe.
Drinks, dinner and service for two: around £70. Brewer Street, W1F 9TF; meleepere.co.uk.