MasterChef: The Professionals judge Monica Galetti has announced the name and location of her first solo restaurant as Mere, which she plans to open in London's Fitzrovia next autumn.
Backed by WSH chairman Alastair Storey, the venture will occupy the ground floor and basement of a site on Charlotte Street, in London W1. The name Mere comes from the French for ‘mother' and the Samoan for Mary, Galetti's mother's name. It is also pronounced Mary.
The space, which was not a restaurant previously, will undergo extensive renovation works to transform it into a 25-seat ground floor bar and 70-cover basement restaurant that are both "warm and welcoming".
Speaking to The Caterer, Galetti said: "We're looking at opening the restaurant this time next year and at the moment we're still in the very early stages of the design process.
"In the bar, guests will be able to order light bar snacks and from a cocktail menu. Or maybe diners can finish their dinner and retire to the bar for coffees or other drinks. We're just beginning to work all this out, so things might change. It's a blank canvas right now."
Commenting on her plans for the menu, she added: "I want to get the premises right and develop the food offer at the same time, but for now I can say that my food is always seasonal and ingredients-led.
"There are no gimmicks around my cooking. It's very straightforward. We'll be keeping it simple with the personal take on some old classics.
"We aim to make the restaurant warm and welcoming so that people dropping in for a quick business lunch will have as great an experience as absolute foodies. The vibe will be smart casual and for people out to enjoy themselves.
"We have a great opportunity to create something special. We need to build a strong team first to make this possible and we are all super excited to start pulling it all together."
Galetti left her job as senior sous chef at two-Michelin starred restaurant Le Gavroche in March with a view to pursing this new venture. She had worked at the iconic London restaurant for 12 years, having started as a commis chef. Galetti told The Caterer that the decision to leave was prompted by a major life event last year.