Roasted octopus on mashed potatoes with Datterini cherry tomatoes
Former chef of Basilico, Marco Violano, has traded his swanky hotel job in favour of his new role as chef-cum-co-owner of this ground floor shop house unit along Boon Tat Street. PepeNero is a humble 30-seat ristorante with a substantial alfresco area. Indoors, this corporate-frequented restaurant beckons with warm and inviting spot-lit bench seats backed by bottles of wine and balsamic vinegar, and black and white photos of - where else - Italy.
What to expect
Southern Italian fare; Violano hails from Apulia – a small town on the southeastern coast of Italy – so he’s distilled a menu of moderately priced pan-Italian classics executed with refinement and a dash of rustic flair.
The melt-in-the-mouth burrata cheese wrapped in a sliver of wagyu beef carpaccio served alongside pickled oyster mushrooms ($24) and baked eggplant stuffed with buffalo milk mozzarella in cream of 24-month-aged Parmesan cheese ($19) are delicious. Equally exemplary are Violano’s seafood dishes – the roasted octopus tentacles resting on a bed of fragrant mashed potatoes with Datterini cherry tomatoes ($19) and umami-packed squid ink risotto crowned with a disc of roasted scallops and petite morsels of squid ($24). If you have room for only one pasta dish, make it the homemade ravioli stuffed with strips of 8-hour braised duck meat and Taggiasca olives ($25).
You may not know that…
Violano uses Italy-imported capon (castrated chicken) to impart deeper and richer flavour to the ginger-spiked chicken consommé ($24) with pillows of buffalo ricotta-stuffed cappelletti (‘little hat’) pasta.
14 Stanley Street
Tel: 6222 5808
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 12pm to 2pm, 5:45pm to 11pm; Sat 5:45pm to 11pm