Sometimes it’s important to step out of your food-ordering comfort zones to discover pleasant surprises and delight your taste buds.

I have been to this restaurant several times and knowing that the pizza here is, in my humble opinion, one of the top ten on the island – I tend to order a pizza almost every time. They have a large variety, including some unusual choices – my favourite is the Golfo Di Napoli pizza shaped as a half-closed pizza. The redeeming qualities of these pizzas are the excellent ingredients, the thickness, texture and taste of the dough. You will notice that in a lot of restaurants patrons will discard the edges of each slice as the dough is not tasty without toppings. Its hard to put a finger on what makes this pizza so successful, but I don’t think that this dough-discarding happens at Pepe Nero so often! There is a wide variety to choose from, ranging from the pizzas we are all familiar with to the ‘pizza bianca’ (without tomato sauce) and finally the specialities. I found the Pizza Pepe Nero with truffle paste to be too overpowering, which made it feel heavy, but that tends to happen with truffle oil. If one of the ingredients is not available, since some of these are quite particular, they will advise you on this fact. Don’t worry, there’s plenty to choose from.

Since I first visited over a year ago I have had one experience of rude service here and I suspect that that particular waiter does not work there any more, because the service has been quite friendly since. One of the waiters won points by remembering a joke we shared from a previous visit. I was promptly given attention (very important) even on busy days and the food arrived in good time.

On my visit this time, I decided to opt for something low carb and chose the Wagyu Kobe Beef salad. From the way I see it, ordering a salad can be a bit of a gamble – first of all I often make myself very tasty salads so I would like something out of the ordinary when I order one in a restaurant; secondly I have had quite a few let downs in this department. Soggy vegetables that have seen better days, a mountain of lettuce and not much else, a bland concoction, a heavy dressing that defeats most of the purpose… no no no.. unacceptable. This didn’t happen at Pepe Nero. This salad was impressive, so much so that I rushed to write this down as soon as possible. Two kebabs of rare chunks of Kobe beef (incidentally, I wasn’t asked how I’d like them cooked, but they hit the bull’s eye with me) served on mixed lettuce leaves (just the right amount), baby corn, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, croutons (of course you need to avoid these if you want the dish to be low carb but they are lovely) and amazing Italian whole pickled onions served with a light pleasant dressing. You can make a meal out of this at only 10.50 euro at the time of writing. Well worth it in my opinion.


Pepe Nero is situated at Vault 18, Pinto Wharf, Valletta Waterfront.

2013-05-20 22.07.31

I’m not big on baking, but this recipe has made me a believer. Most of it was devoured before it could even cool down. Later* I’m going to tell you to let it cool before trying to slice it, as this will be much easier. However, I encourage you to ignore this advice. Go ahead…

I took this recipe from here but instead of fresh strawberries I used a packet of Strawberry Crisps given to me by Dical House.


For a 9 x 5 inch loaf you will need:

1 packet Strawberry Crisps or 2 Cups fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
zest of one lemon
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/4 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract (make your own)

Preheat your oven to about 190 C / 375 F

Butter up or spray your loaf pan with oil to avoid sticking.

Mix your dry ingredients together (except for the crisps).

In a separate bowl whisk the 2 eggs, then add the wet ingredients to this i.e. vanilla, oil and lemon juice. Add the crisps to this.

2013-05-20 21.04.26

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Do not over-mix as this will alter the texture.

Pour batter into your loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the load comes out dry.

Remove from the oven and *let it cool before inverting the loaf tin on a flat surface to remove the cake/bread.

What awaits you is a sweet surprise. The cake is just moist enough and delicious; the strawberries provide a fresh melt-in-your-mouth sweetness that is surprising for a dried product. They definitely worked perfectly for this recipe and my friends couldn’t tell that I hadn’t used fresh strawberries. There are no artificial ingredients used to make the strawberry crisps, so it’s a great pantry product – to be used as a snack or in desserts. Much better than reaching out for the sugary biscuits, that’s for sure.