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Pepe's Italian & Liquor restaurant

Italian food and culture is all the rage right now and Trunk has channelled its cacio e pepe with the advent of Pepe's Italian & Liquor. Now its "full throttle" Italian (in fact American Italian) and a more defined and refined concept that the previous Mediterranean offering (even though that was good this is better). The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to experience the new reimagined restaurant.

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The first thing that strikes you is the epic fit out and luxe vibe of Pepe's; a worthy place for casual dining, romantic night out, drinks after work or pre-theatre. Approachable and accessible, we love the new Italian menu focus and execution, and the whole vibe and ambiance of the space. Think sexy New York bar (with some similarities to Bar Margaux perhaps).

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Cocktail on arrival from skilful bartenders, with the elongated bar one of the best in Melbourne. Check out the extensive cocktail list pictured above.

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Owner Nick Kutcher has reopened Pepe's Italian and Liquor after a major renovation; we are highly impressed with the increased light feel of the place and sexy glow, the feeling of space from the raised ceiling, the long zinc-topped bar, a red-and-white-chequered floor and deep burgundy banquettes. Kudos to Nick Cox from Projects of Imagination who was behind the redesign.

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OK I'm showing off the Veal Parmigiana we enjoyed as one of our mains; a dish I'd love to return for.

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Entrees hit the hight notes including Salami plate with pickles, Focaccia di Squacquerone, Steak tartare with condiments and the Casino Clams (diamond clams, gunaciale, garlic butter, pangrattato).

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Pasta on song with standout Tortellini and Spicy Rigatoni Vodka. 

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Loving these pasta tubes with creamy sauce Bucatini All'Amatriciana (guanciale, napoli, chilli).

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Succulent melt in your mouth BBQ pork ribs. "Ooohs" and "aaahs" from the table as this really was melt in your mouth. 

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Italian wines hit the mark.

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Veal Parmigiana at its best (depending on your appetite you may be able to share this dish). Not to mention Waldorf salad and Broccolini accompaniments.

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Cheesecake was a showstopper and gained wide acclaim from our table of diners.

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Baked Lemon Cheesecake and Carrot Cake (suitably moist) a dessert winner. 

Trunk Diner, the American style food joint in the venue's front courtyard, will keep going as is, famous for its burgers.

All in all, we loved the new Pepe's Italian & Liquor as a series place to visit again in the future. Highly recommended.