Pepe's Italian & Liquor
In 2019, the space that used to be Trunk Bar and Restaurant transformed. These days, the heritage-listed, faded red-brick building is home to Pepe’s Italian & Liquor, a moody and inviting restaurant serving Italian-American fare.
The menu brims with casual, comforting food designed to be shared. Diamond clams arrive in the half shell topped with garlic butter, guanciale and breadcrumbs in a take on Clams Casino, which originated in Rhode Island in the US. Salami and pickles are served alongside slices of warm cheese-filled focaccia.
The pizza range covers the classics – meatball, pepperoni and margherita – but there’s also an ‘nduja and artichoke number, and a vegetarian ortolana with eggplant, zucchini, mushroom and pumpkin.
After pasta? Choose from tortelloni stuffed with buffalo ricotta topped with bolognese sauce and parmesan; spicy rigatoni with a vodka-tomato sauce and chilli; and baked gnocchi with four cheeses.
For mains, there’s a family-sized veal parmigiana that is deep-fried and topped with red sauce, mozzarella and basil; a 12-hour lamb shoulder; and salty-sweet barbeque pork ribs that fall off the bone. For dessert, there’s an ice-cream sundae for two, made with black cherries and hot chocolate fudge.
The drinks list is just as varied. There’s a full page dedicated to Martinis, and while there are plenty of familiar and classic cocktails, there's also a fun range of signature drinks. On the wine front, there are more than 80 priced at less than $100 a bottle, with 15 by-the-glass, and a reserve list offers drops that go up to $600.