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.