He then apologetically explained that the kitchen was small, and they made everything fresh on order, so they needed time to serve guests who were still waiting. True enough, though there were only 3 other groups in the small restaurant, many of them hadn't eaten.
Well anyway, it was a casual Friday night on a resort island, waiting was not a problem. We requested to simply sit at our table and until he's ready to come to us.
|Menu bound on the heaviest piece of solid wood you can find. This menu will break your toes if you drop it accidentally.|
I came to realise within a few minutes that that's just how Pepenero is. They live and breathe their food. For a moment I felt I was not in Thailand anymore. Such cosy, intimate settings eating authentic Italian food hosted by a passionate Italian family just doesn't come by easily in this part of the world. I was a bit shocked to find it in Koh Samui, an island more famous for its sinful moon parties, a place I had been trying to avoid for the past 6 years.
Finally when Paolo came to us, we simply asked him to choose 3 dishes for us to his liking, and he did not leave without explaining in detail how the dishes would be prepared. All of us lost track at some point, but that's just because we were so confident that we didn't bother to pay attention anymore.
|Managed to coax some Parma ham and Mozarella out of them as we waited for our food|
When the dishes came, we were pretty blown away.
|Home-made Gnocchi with asparagus cream, clams and asparagus|
Personally, I have not eaten Gnocchi or any other pasta prepared like this. The mix of fragrant asparagus and fresh clams was so incredibly good. A dish I might never forget.
|Home-made Bigoli with Italian Sausage Ragu, red wine and fennel seeds|
|Ribeye Tagliata style with shallots|
|Home-made Limoncello before we left, so sweet but so strong, I nearly did a cartwheel after downing the shot|
Don't get me wrong. I am not about to make a conclusive judgement on Pepenero after just 1 visit. The food was not perfect (beef too rare for me, dessert a little too sweet too late into the night) but it never is, no matter where we go.
I feel extremely compelled to write this simply because I believe that regardless of what we feel, the food is perfect for Paolo. He will only serve what he feels is flawless to every single diner every single time. That is how Pepenero is, in their own time, dish by dish made from the heart, diner by diner whom he will get to know by heart.
|Paolo and I|
Keep up your good work Paolo. It was a pleasure to be your guest. You won't see me much, but my promise to you is to appear in front of you whenever I land on the island.