Sunday, April 29, 2012

Singapore - Pepenero

Pepenero is the newish Italian restaurant, in the also newish food enclave that is Telok Ayer, on Stanley Street to be precise.  Shophouses which used to be in the general trading business, dried goods or provision stores are now trendy restaurants, patiserries and bars, giving the CBD in Singapore yet another option for dining out. 

The setting within is modern yet an unusual choice of olive green walls gives it a slightly electic finish, but comtemporised by large black and whites.  High ceilings provide an airy feel although the place feels that much more spartan because there is so much room overhead and there is little between the tables and the wood lined ceiling. 

Service is professionally friendly and servers are more than able to make recomendations, which is perfect since there aren't asterisks on the menu to indicate what's good.  It's not a huge menu but there is something for everyone.  The map in the menu showcasing dishes off the menu as specialties from different regions in Italy was a nice touch.

Bread Basket with Olive and Sundried Tomato Tapanades
A tennis workout prior meant I wolfed down the bread and breadsticks pretty quickly.  Bread was a nice chewy texture although a tad too airy.  Bread sticks in contrast had pepenero and were dense.  The 2 tapenades made for great alternates.  Table olive oil was decent although the balsamic was thin and too tart for my liking.

Roast Octopus with mashed potatoes, olives and tomatoes
Quite the piece de resistance.  Octopus was grilled right, with a hint of smokiness but not overly done to be chewy.  And coupled with a milky mash, given acidity from the olives, then sweetness from the cherry tomatoes, quite perfect really.

Linguini with clams, sea urchin and Bottarga
What looked like anaemia on a dish came smelling and tasting like the sea, only sweeter.  The combination of clams and sea urchin seem to work, giving the broth a sea sweetness which was quite addictive.  I lost the last spoonful and a half to our server since I was distracted and am still thinking about what could have been.  Pasta was competently al dente but it was really all about the broth.

Milk-fed lamb chops Milanese style
This was a remix of the classic Veal Milanese.  Well breaded and well deep fried.  I still prefer veal but this was definitely a very close call, especially if you're a lamb fan.  The balsamic vinegar based sauce on the bottom added a nice balance of sweet and sour, and the fresh arugula/tomatoes of the true Italian variety were very good accompaniments.


After a great meal, dessert wasn't as much of a wow.  It wasn't bad at all but it paled slightly in comparison to the rest of the meal.  Perhaps we should have ordered something else.  This version of tiramisu was the dense kind that I like, but had way too much cocoa powder and got in the way of inhaling/exhaling at the table, resulting in a cocoa dusted tablecloth.  Oh well.

Surprisingly good experience overall.  As an aside, we thought we'd figure it out, but I suppose we have to go back and ask the chef why his place is named after black pepper.  It certainly wasn't because the food needed a little pick-me-up as we went along. 

14 Stanley Street
Tel: +65-62225808

1 comment:

  1. Good sharing, PepeNero is a pleasant place for a quiet dinner or lunch for 2. Good food and service. One of the few Italian restaurants with my favorite beef tripe (tripo) on the menu. See my blog about PepeNero at: