Peppe's Osteria Is Waterloo's New All-Vegan Gnocchi Bar in the Former Paperbark Space
The team behind Bondi's Peppe's is now serving up its pillowy pasta, famed lasagne and tiramisu in the inner city.
Following the welcomed success of Bondi's vegan gnocchi spot Peppe's, owners Joe Pagliaro and Grace Watson made the decision to close down their plant-based fine diner Paperbark and use the space to spread the gnocchi love.
While it wasn't an easy decision, Peppe's Osteria gives the team the opportunity to go a little bigger, with a larger laidback dining space welcoming more customers to enjoy fresh pasta and salads and minimal-intervention wine. You'll be eating and drinking these surrounded by white curtains and lots of plants, while sitting on emerald couches and grey banquettes, and wiping the rich tomato sauce from the corners of your mouth with ruby napkins.
Keeping with a similar format of a small selection of antipasti, a handful of pasta dishes, a few salads and two sweet options, the food here is prepared by the head chef of Bondi's Peppe's, Joel Benetts. Bennetts trained under renowned chef Grant King at Pier Rose Bay, and later helped King open the two-hatted Gastro Park, and his resumé boasts stints at Three Blue Ducks and Japanese boutique hotel AIR Myoko, where he served vegan degustations to the masses.
As with the Bondi original, the pasta at Waterloo is all made in-house daily, and the sauces change regularly. Recent varieties include pesto with green pea, pomodoro and the gnocchi al funghi. Keep an eye out for the return of the gnocchi bianchi, which is sauced in cauliflower purée and three-hour porcini stock reduction, then topped with oyster mushrooms, crisped sage and toasted pangrattato-style breadcrumbs made with Iggy's bread. There's also the very popular lasagne.
Salads and sides are simple but punchy, and currently include a fennel, rocket and rockmelon number, a fresh mix of cos lettuce, cucumber and herbs, and a serving of broccolini with salsa verde. The house tiramisu is, thankfully, a permanent fixture on the menu, and will be joined by regular dessert specials like the coconut and vanilla panna cotta with torched fig, orange and Campari syrup.
On the drinks side, the wine list focuses on local and sustainable drops, as well as Italian labels courtesy of Fun Wines — an Aussie wine importer run by Giorgio de Maria (of the now-closed 121BC and Vini). You can get a bottle of SA rosé for a very reasonable $60, go big (literally) with a 1.5 litre bottle of Yetti & the Kokonut or enjoy a zero-sulphur montepulciano from Abruzzo. It all goes well with gnocchi.
Find Peppe's Osteria at 8/18 Danks Street, Waterloo. It's open from 6–10pm daily.
Images: Trent van der Jagt
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